CAN Submission on SH56 Palmerston North to Ōpiki speed review

SH56 Palmerston North to Ōpiki speed review

14 June 2022

Cycling Action Network strongly supports setting speed limits that increase safety on SH56. Under The Road to Zero strategy, deaths and injuries are unacceptable, and avoidable.

The high crash rate demonstrates that current speeds are too high. 80 kmh is preferred, with 50 kmh for Longburn and Ōpiki. Lower speed limts need to be accompanied by design changes that indicate to road users the appropriate speed.

Everyone in our community deserves safe roads. That's why we welcome plans to make SH56 safer.

With more than 300 traffic deaths each year, we urgently need to cut risk. There's no excuse for doing nothing.

Higher speeds result in more crashes and more severe injuries

The faster a driver travels on a road, the more likely the driver is to crash. As speed increases, the stopping distance increases.

Speeding is just as dangerous as drink driving

Research from Australia shows the speeding driver and the drunk driver have similar risks of crashing. We do not accept drunk drivers on our roads. We must not accept speeding drivers on our roads.

Fewer New Zealanders would be killed and injured if we slowed down

It is estimated that if we reduced average speed on New Zealand's roads by just 1 km/h the rash rate would be reduced by 3%.

We can't beat the laws of physics

Stopping distance follows the laws of physics and is not related to driver skill. The faster a driver travels the longer it takes to stop.

What's the rush?

The majority of the trips we take are short. On a 10km journey if you reduced your average speed from 110km/h to 100km/h it would take you an extra 33 seconds. Is this increased risk of crashing acceptable in the interests of saving just 33 seconds?

For the case for change, please refer to Mechanics and politics of changing a speed limit

Wakja Kotahi’s own research that most New Zealanders agree that our roads would be safer if we all drove a little slower, and they understand lower speed limits reduce road trauma (see NZTA research report 563: Safer speeds: public acceptance and compliance, December 2014)

Cycling Action Network

CAN is New Zealand's national network of cycling advocates. We work with government, local authorities, businesses and the community on behalf of cyclists, for a better cycling environment.