70 km per hour open speed limit?

There is some qualification to that – not all roads are included, but a report by an inter-governmental organisation with 59 member countries (including New Zealand) is recommending that rural roads that don’t have median barriers should have their speed limits lowered to 70kmh.

That’s a lot of roads in New Zealand, most roads outside cities and towns.

But they also recommend a speel limit of 30 kmh “for built-up and residential urban areas where vehicles and vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians share the same space”.

In other words, most streets.

Stuff: Is 100kmh too fast? Landmark report wants 70kmh open road speed limit

A landmark report by an inter-governmental organisation with 59 member countries – including New Zealand – is recommending that rural roads that don’t have median barriers should have their speed limits lowered to 70kmh.

Taken literally, that would mean that almost NZ’s entire roading network, state highways included, would need to have their speed limits reduced to 70kmh. Only those section of motorways with median barriers would be allowed to retain their 100kmh limit.

Not only that, but the report out of Paris by the International Transport Forum also recommends a 30 kmh speed limit for built-up and residential urban areas where vehicles and vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians share the same space, and 50kmh for other urban areas with intersections and high risk of side collisions.

I suspect this wouldn’t be very popular.

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14 Comments

  1. David

     /  April 3, 2018

    “I suspect this wouldn’t be very popular.”

    If the goal is to reduce road accidents & death, it’s perfectly sensible. It simply a choice of what people have as a priority.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  April 3, 2018

      It’s a reasonably safe bet Sir Alan will have strong words to say. :/

      Reply
  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  April 3, 2018

    Obviously written by paper pushers who neither have to live in the country or actually do anything to get paid. A cost benefit analysis with only one side of the ledger examined.

    Reply
    • David

       /  April 3, 2018

      Depends very much on the numbers used;

      Assumption on reduction in road deaths
      Cost calculation on the cost of each death
      The value placed on each individual life.
      The loss in GDP from increased time driving across all traffic types.

      It is for the public to decide what an acceptable cost is.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  April 3, 2018

        It’s fatuous to consider doing this on roads like SH1 as the increased driving times and bored tiredness would certainly increase the accident rates.

        And doing it on minor rural roads would be unenforceable both for lack of staff and lack of suitable locations to plant speed monitors not to mention likely sabotage of them by locals.

        In short, this is just a media beat-up of an idiotic generalisation from a bunch of EU bureaucrats.

        Reply
        • David

           /  April 3, 2018

          “It’s fatuous to consider doing this on roads like SH1 as the increased driving times and bored tiredness would certainly increase the accident rates.”

          This is an assumption, not a certainty. It may be the case, if so, perhaps the death toll would not decrease as much as predicted. Until the experiment is carried out, we will not know,

          “And doing it on minor rural roads would be unenforceable both for lack of staff and lack of suitable locations to plant speed monitors not to mention likely sabotage of them by locals.”

          This is the case currently.

          “In short, this is just a media beat-up of an idiotic generalisation from a bunch of EU bureaucrats.”

          I don’t see that at all. It is a simple question, higher road speeds or slightly lower road toll. I think that mostly people are happy with a higher road toll as long as they can travel at a speed they find convenient.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  April 3, 2018

            If you increase the drive times by 40% you will expect to increase tiredness/inattention crashes by the same amount. These are a major causal factor. Seems very unlikely there will be a comparable reduction from the lower speeds, especially since the high risk drivers, (drunk, stupid, cop-fleeing, wrong side tourists) won’t change their behaviour.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  April 3, 2018

              Would this, in fact, increase the driving time by 40% ?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 3, 2018

              Everywhere that it reduced the speed sufficiently to get the benefits it is trying to claim.

  3. David

     /  April 3, 2018

    Christchurch has the 30kmh limit which not even the coppers adhere to but when you do get some numpty doing it it is unbelievably slow and frustrating and ridiculous. I actively avoid the city because of it and the stupidly narrow roads (the range rover is hardly ideal).
    Its hard to imagine 70kmh limit on a straight empty SI road.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  April 3, 2018

      Yes I was just about to post something on that. A young woman I worked took the office car home for lunch one day. On her way there a young boy suddenly ran out in front of her & she hit him. He died of his injuries on the scene. It wasn’t her fault, & was recognised not to be, but she was devastated, as anyone would be.

      There was absolutely no way she could’ve stopped. There was no warning at all. And I’d be surprised if it would have made any difference to the outcome having a 30 k limit.

      Most of us I reckon drive to sensible speeds, watching out as far ahead as poss at all times for kids, cats, ducks & anything that looks like it might be a hazard should it run out in front of us.

      I reckon, getting round our suburb, I would drive anywhere from 30-50 k, even slower where necessary – depending on a host of conditions – like parked cars on each side, cats, kids whose mums can’t afford an SUV/tank walking home from school…. But I’ll do 50 k on a main drag or when the road’s clear. It would suck cowpats having to crawl along at 30. People wouldn’t. The fuzz would make a bloody fortune from speed cams.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  April 3, 2018

        *young woman I worked WITH
        I’m havin a bad day at the races. 🙄

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  April 3, 2018

          There are ads on at the moment that say that slower driving does affect the seriousness of the injuries in crashes. The terror of having someone suddenly run or even step out is bad enough even if you don’t hit them, I can’t imagine what it would be like if you did (I was a cotcase for much of the afternoon when a young girl stepped out in front of me and I thought for a sickening moment that I had gone through a red light – I hadn’t – and that I would hit her. I was going slowly as I had just turned a corner and her father dragged her back, but even so….)

          Reply
  4. Trevors_Elbow

     /  April 3, 2018

    Do people die on rural roads because of just speed?

    Or do things like deep drains on the sides of roads with massive concrete culverts dotted down them, both of which cause rapid deceleration to any vehicle leaving the road, ya know its the sudden stop that does the damage, have something to do with it? What about the fact an accident on a rural road can go unobserved for a long period meaning people die from preventable causes if they are found and treated more quickly?

    Have the control factors been properly factored in to this speed reduction targets? or is it just easy to say “Speed Kills” because its a catchy phrase and base your policy on that?

    Modern vehicles handle better, corner way better and have more safety features. modernising the vehicle fleet might be a better choice to improve the road toll instead of trying to force lower speeds which drivers will see as nonsensical and will flout…

    A certain number of accidents will occur – its a people thing, we make mistakes. Does a speed reduction and its economic costs plus its unintended consequences (tiredness on lengthened journeys causing more accidents) adequate balance out the reduction in deaths modelled?

    looks like a smoke and mirrors exercise in seeming to do something to address a small problem….

    Reply

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