Speed limit bylaw reviews

  • Project typeBylaws review
  • Project scheduleOngoing
Speed-limit-bylaws-review-image-of-road.jpg

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

We're doing this in a staged process, focusing on areas where evidence shows 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.

The first round of speed reviews is nearing completion, and includes:

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

We reviewed these areas in late 2019, with the community giving feedback between 4 November and 9 December 2019. Hearings were held 17 March 2020.

Following a detailed review of all submissions received and additional engineering and road safety assessments, Council adopted a Recommendations Report at its meeting on 24 September 2020. This means that once we've organised the signs and finished the engineering works, Council will make changes to the Bylaw and set a date for the new speed limits to come into force. 

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

Current speed review area

We are currently reviewing speed limits in the Waipū South area, including Waipū Cove and Langs Beach urban areas, and all beaches where there is a current speed limit.

Submissions open on 29th October 2020 and close at 5:00pm on 18th December 2020.  

Have your say

Completed reviews

We have completed speed reviews in the Vinegar Hill Road catchment; Waipū and Nova Scotia Drive and the Ruakaka and One Tree Point catchment areas. The Recommendations Report was adopted on 24 September 2020 and can be viewed below:

Recommendations Report(PDF, 4MB)

Changes to the Speed Limits Bylaw will be made once physical works to make the new speed limits enforceable are completed.

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 Road Safety Strategy promotes a Safe System approach to road safety 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. 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.

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 the speed limit has been reduced, even by a small amount, the number of speed related crashes has reduced significantly.

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.