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Safer speed limits for schools

The Government is delivering on its commitment to make streets safer for kids to walk and cycle to school, by reducing speed limits to a maximum of 40 km/h around urban schools and 60 km/h around rural schools.

“Our kids should have the freedom to walk and cycle to school and feel safe doing so,” said Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter.

“Many parents would like their kids to get to school independently, but are understandably concerned about fast moving traffic near their school.

“Safer speeds around schools is proven to make streets safer, more attractive and more accessible for children to walk and cycle.

“On busy urban arterials and rural roads, lower speeds would primarily operate during drop-off and pick-up time only, using electronic variable speed limits signs.

“On residential urban streets, permanent speed changes would be supported by street improvements like wider footpaths and raised pedestrian crossings.

“In rural areas, a 60 km/h limit outside schools will make it safer for parents and kids walking and driving in and out of the school gate.

“School speed changes will be implemented progressively working with councils over the coming decade,” said Julie Anne Genter.

The safer improvements around schools is part of a broader programme to tackle unsafe speeds across the country. These changes include:
• a new ‘no surprises’ approach to safety cameras that will introduce warning signs so drivers know to go slow through high-risk, safety camera areas;
• transferring the ownership and operation of safety cameras from NZ Police to the NZ Transport Agency;
• rolling out additional cameras on high-risk roads;
• streamlining the process for communities and local authorities to determine the appropriate speed limits for their regions.

This focus on tackling unsafe speeds is one of the priority actions in the ‘Road to Zero’ Road Safety Strategy and action plan to be announced soon. Following the select committee process, legislation and rule changes to support the Tackling Unsafe Speeds programme are expected to be in place by mid-2020.

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