It has been recognised that there are too many speed zones in Australia and that the frequency of zone changes is too high.
This is among the findings of an Austroads research report released last week. It’s something every motorist is already well aware of, yet it took 116 pages of the “Model National Guidelines for Setting Speed Limits at High-Rick Locations” report and no doubt many expensive hours of public service research to come up with the same result.
Australian Motorcycle Council spokesman Guy Stanford says the AMC made a submission to Austroads earlier this year which, among other things, suggested a reduction in the number and frequency of speed zones.
“There is one section of the northern NSW coast highway where the highway patrol hangs around just where there are many speed zones,” he says. “What they end up with is self-serving statistics about speeding.”
We all know of similar places where the speed limit varies too frequently. We also know how the police like to patrol such locations where motorists are easily confused.
Too many speed zones is one of the frequent complaints of motorists in the annual RACQ report on what peeves motorists. It is especially concerning for motorcycle riders who don’t have a speedo in front of their faces for constant reference or who could end up with aggro drivers sitting close on their tail.
Guy warns that the Austroads report is “only a discussion paper at the moment”, but it is comforting to know that at least this issue is now on the table.
Among other conclusions, the report says: “The model guidelines also proposed to reduce the frequency of changes in speed limits experienced by drivers. This can be achieved through a proposed reduction in the available speed limit choices and extension of the minimum speed zone lengths. Practitioner judgement would still need to be applied to make sure that speed limits are broadly in line with the road character along the route.”
In other words, the number of speed zones that jurisdictions can apply would be reduced as is the case in Europe. It also proposes a minimum distance of a speed zone. Fewer speed zones means fewer speed signs which means a reduction in dangerous roadside furniture that causes injury and death to riders.
While it would be nice to think this will eventually happen, there are many more scary things in the report that many motorcycle riders would not want. To give a brief summary, the report writers believe that slower speeds would reduce injury and death risk. There is nothing about increasing speeds to reduce fatigue!
- Do you know of a location with too many speed signs?