Speed limit bylaw reviews

  • Project typeBylaws review
  • Project scheduleOngoing
An image of the road with Slow written on road surface.

As part of the Road to Zero National Road Safety Strategy, we're reviewing speed limits in the Whangārei District.

We are doing this in a staged process, focusing on areas where there is evidence that changing the speed limit will make the most difference.

Our goal is to improve the overall road safety to reduce serious harm and fatal crashes. We also need to match new speed limits with the road environment.

Current changes

 Changes to speed limits came into force in Waipū township, Ruakākā, One Tree Point and Vinegar Hill on 1 August 2021.

Changes include include: 

  • Waipū CBD (The Centre Road) from Nova Scotia Drive to St Mary’s Road reduced to 30km/h to improve pedestrian safety
  • Most urban roads in Waipū, Ruakākā and One Tree Point reduced to 40km/h
  • Marsden Point Road from State Highway 1 to Sime Road reduced to 50km/h; Sime Road to State Highway 15A reduced to 60km/h
  • Vinegar Hill Road reduced to 60km/h.

What's next?

A review of speed limits along Cove Road, including Waipū Cove, Langs Beach and the Districts beaches was undertaken during late 2020. The recommendations are expected to be presented to Council in August 2021.

Next review areas and forward programme map

The map below shows the next review areas and when they are scheduled to be reviewed.

Click on any area to view when the speed limits will be reviewed for that road.

View the map in full screen

Completed reviews

The first round of speed reviews (in late 2019) included:

  • Vinegar Hill Road
  • Waipū and Nova Scotia Drive
  • Ruakākā and One Tree Point

The Recommendations Report was adopted in September 2020 and can be viewed below:

Recommendations Report(PDF, 4MB)

The second round of speed reviews (in late 2020) included:

  • Waipū South area, including Waipū Cove and Langs Beach urban areas
  • All beaches where there is a current speed limit. 

Speed Limit Bylaw review consultation

Council made changes to the Bylaw and the new speed limits came into force from 1 August 2021.

Why are we reviewing speed limits?

We are reviewing speed limits as part of a nationwide Road Safety Strategy that is aimed at reducing fatal and serious harm crashes on our roads. The Strategy recognises that New Zealand has one of the highest rates of road fatalities in the developed world. Northland has the highest rate of serious injury and fatal crashes in New Zealand. 

The Road to Zero, National Road Safety Strategy, promotes a Safe System approach that promotes:

  • Improved driver education, behaviour, and skills
  • Improving the road network by making it safer
  • Improving the safety of vehicles using the road
  • Addressing unsafe speeds

Speed Limits are one area that we can address now and have an immediate impact on reducing serious injury and fatal crashes.

Surviving a crash

A slower speed limit will significantly reduce the chance of you having a crash.  If you are involved in a crash, a slower speed limit will dramatically increase the chances that you will walk away.

Wherever a speed limit has been lowered, or better matched to the road environment, we have recorded a reduction in the number of crashes and the severity of those crashes that do occur.

If you are in a head on collision at 100km/h the chances of surviving are about 5% -10%, but in the same collision driving at 80km/h your chance of survival rises to about 80%

Journey times

It is surprising how little the overall journey time is affected by a lower speed limit that reflects the safe and appropriate speed for the road environment. 

Most drivers travel much slower than the posted speed limit on our local rural roads. This is because the road may have many corners, is narrow or unsealed. Most people naturally go slower in these circumstances. In our urban areas, your average journey speed ranges between 26km/h and 33km/h, and even slower during peak times in some of our Northland towns.  

In Northland, many of our journeys on local roads are relatively short, with a typical journey being between 5km and 10km. This is because we tend to use the State Highway Network to reach more distant destinations.

Setting a safe and appropriate speed will reduce the top end of the speed spectrum, but will not normally impact on the average speed most people drive at. This creates a much safer driving environment for everyone.