Log In

Reset Password

‘Staggered’ at concept

‘Major behaviour change’ required for speed limit revamp

DRIVERS in Tairawhiti will require a “major behaviour change” if a move to lower speed limits across the region goes ahead.

A revamp of speed limits in Tairawhiti could see drivers slowed from 50kmh to 40kmh on most of Gisborne's urban roads, and 30kmh in the city centre and near schools.

The draft proposal suggests speed limits on council-managed rural roads, which does not include state highways, drop from 100kmh to 80kmh.

Main routes around Gisborne that drivers are encouraged to use, like Ormond Rd, Roebuck Rd, Lytton Rd and Gladstone Rd, would keep the 50kmh speed limit.

The changes proposed in a new speed management plan would be consulted on alongside the draft 2021-2031 Long-Term Plan in March and April.

The draft plan was presented to the Regional Transport committee on December 3 and covered recommended speed limits for the rural townships of Te Araroa and Matawai, along with the Gisborne CBD.

It said a follow-up report would focus on the rest of the city and immediate surrounds, including the Flats and Wainui.

A report from council staff said any changes to speed limits would need a “prolonged education campaign” and would require a “major behaviour change” in the community.

Speed reductions would not “significantly increase” journey times during peak traffic, but it would be noticeable during off-peak periods, the report said.

Council director community lifelines David Wilson said the community had to consider whether the speed limits in place on rural roads and through rural communities were appropriate.

“You cannot drive 100kmh on our unsealed network.

“Maybe if you're a rally car driver, but not in reality.”

This process had been about mapping the speed limit against the speed that vehicles actually travelled, he said. The report said the average speeds driven over the region's roads tended to be lower than what was posted, especially on winding and unsealed rural roads.

Eastland Group chief operating officer Andrew Gaddum, who is a community adviser for the committee, said in the meeting he was “staggered” at the concept of four different speed zones within the city, and five including Wainui.

“You're going to have signs everywhere. People won't know what speed limit they're in at any given time.

“It just seems an absolute bugger's muddle. The police will have a field day . . . It's a concept I just can't even wrap my head around.

“I just can't see how you're going to police it, or how people are going to know what they're supposed to be doing.”

Safety was central to the case put forth for lowering speed limits, with the report saying speed increased the likelihood and severity of crashes, and a small reduction in speed could make a “big difference” especially when cyclists and pedestrians were involved.

Analysis of crash data where deaths and serious injury had been caused showed the Gisborne district was 1.5 times worse than the national average.

There have been 36 fatal and 245 serious crashes on roads in Tairawhiti, including State Highways, over the past decade, according to New Zealand Transport Agency's crash analysis database.

These crashes resulted in 45 deaths, 308 serious and 1235 minor injuries.

The top three contributing factors to fatal and serious injury crashes were alcohol, poor handling and travel speed.

SLOWING DOWN: A revamp of speed limits in Tairawhiti could see drivers slowed from 50kmh to 40kmh on most of Gisborne's urban roads and 30kmh in the city centre. File picture

  1. Gary Lodge says:

    It is hard to believe that GDC staff would suggest such a proposal. What are they thinking? As Andrew Gaddum has said, it will be near impossible to administer. Generally most road users use common sense when conditions demand a lower speed eg. Outside sports grounds when sports are on and vehicles are parked on both sides of the road, yet there are no signs requiring a lower speed limit than the current 50kmh. The roads near to schools are already controlled with large illuminated signage. So more thought please.

  2. Mike J says:

    This is absolutely ridiculous. People travel slow enough to annoy other drivers as it is. Come on – how about policing the bad drivers and not the rest who are actually careful? This is turning into a nanny state. 40km/h and 30km/h is just painful. I agree with Andrew Gaddum – it is almost a police speed entrapment situation because we won’t know how fast we are meant to be going in each area.
    As for the crash statistics, instead of going by pure numbers, how about listing these as a percentage of the number of vehicles and drivers that are actually on the road – you will find that there are less crashes than 30 years ago!

  3. P M says:

    Roads do not kill, speed does not kill. People kill. Those that speed and drive dangerously will do so at what ever speed limit is in place. The total cost of ownership of cars in NZ is way too cheap. It is way too easy to gain a licence to drive and there is very little respect around the privilege that comes with it.
    This proposal is just plain and simply lame.

  4. Jono says:

    How about spending money on the roads? The condition they are in is absolutely appalling.
    This proposal is complete nonsense.

  5. Shirley Rolfe says:

    How about looking at our roundabouts – people speed up to these and some don’t even stop. It’s like they race to be first. Badly needs seeing to.

  6. Kris Hulme-Moir says:

    The rest of the country drive too fast. On the road to Hamilton, cars with trailers were overtaking me at speeds of over 100kmh. Most cars are being driven at over 100kmh. The speed limit nationally should be 90kmh.