This is a guest post from Bevan Woodward
NZTA is updating the country’s speed limit setting rule, but is unwilling to put New Zealanders’ safety first.
New Zealand’s road toll is by high international standards and is particularly bad for our most vulnerable road users. In the last 12 months, 37 pedestrians and 10 cyclists have been killed on NZ roads, that’s a 60% increase over the previous 12 months.
The key issue is that NZTA continues to require that speed limits be a compromise between safety and efficiency. This has resulted in New Zealand having the highest traffic speeds amongst OECD nations.
Countries such as Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, Norway and Denmark have urban and rural speed limits lower that New Zealand; a key reason why their road deaths per capita are half ours. And instead of reducing efficiency, it can be argued their safer speeds improve efficiency due to fewer crashes, intersections that flow more smoothly, and more people feeling safe to choose walking and cycling.
We can save lives in New Zealand by reducing traffic speeds, to quote Auckland Transport ‘Speed is the single biggest road safety issue in NZ today.’
Hence we’re urging NZTA to amend their draft Setting of Speed Limits rule to require speed limits that are “safe as is reasonably practicable given the road function, design, users and the surrounding land use”. This aligns with NZ’s Health and Safety in the Workplace legislation, NZTA’s Speed Management Guide, and help reduce our appalling road toll.
I encourage you to make a quick submission by email to [email protected] by 5pm, Friday, June 16