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Speed Limits Drop on Some Otago Peninsula Roads

Speed Limits Drop on Some Otago Peninsula Roads

Dunedin, 22 February 2013 – Speed limits on 29 Otago Peninsula roads will be lowered from 1 March for safety reasons.

The changes apply to mainly rural roads and in most cases will reduce the speed limits from 100km/hr to 70km/hr.

In approving the changes, the Dunedin City Council has responded to community concerns to ensure the road speed limits are safe and appropriate for the use and road environment. The changes are also in line with the national road safety strategy aims.

Otago Peninsula Community Board Chair John Bellamy says the Board is extremely pleased the lowered limits have been approved. The key is having speed limits appropriate for areas such as narrow back roads, and anything to make these roads safer has to be a good thing.

“We were all pretty aware that some speeds were totally inappropriate for the area.”

Dunedin Police support the new speed limits and welcome any initiatives that contribute to a reduction in road trauma. Dunedin Area Road Policing Manager Senior Sergeant Phil McDouall says that over the years there have been many crashes on Peninsula roads resulting in fatalities and serious injuries.

“These roads are often used by tourists who mostly drive large campervans and are not familiar with the area. Where speeds are reduced there is a correlation in a reduction in crashes and injuries to people as well.”

However, lower speed limits are just one ingredient in the mix that creates safer roads, Senior Sergeant McDouall says.

“Drivers also need to be mindful of driving to the conditions and other critical factors that they can control including driving behaviour, manner of driving, alcohol and wearing a safety belt.”

A large part of the area where speed limits are changing will become a study area as part of a national review of how speed limits are set. This area will be identified with special signs on all entry points.

The demonstration project, including the use of the special ‘Safer Speed Area’ signs, has also been endorsed by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA). Glenn Bunting, NZTA’s Network Manager, says it is important that speed limits reflect the use and function of the network.

“The new speed limits will be a lot closer to the way people are using those roads and more self explaining for drivers.

“This work is also a good fit with the Agency’s safe system approach where we’re aiming to reduce deaths and serious injuries by taking action in four key areas – safe roads and roadsides, safe vehicles, safe road use and safe speeds.”

Effectively, this safer speed area will have a maximum speed of 70km/hr, except for a small section near Larnach Castle which will become 50km/hr.

Larnach Castle Director Norcombe Barker also welcomed the speed limit reductions.

“Larnach Castle has been pursuing change to the speed limits on the roads leading to the castle for some time and we are delighted this has come to fruition. We are also pleased with the process that was taken to make this happen.”

People are reminded that as on all roads, the speed limits are not a target and motorists are expected to drive to the conditions.

Maps and a list of affected roads are available at www.dunedin.govt.nz/peninsulaspeedlimits

More information on the ‘Safer Speed Area’ project is available at www.dunedin.govt.nz/safer-speeds

ENDS

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