‘Constantly changing’: Frustration over common road rule

·News Reporter
·2-min read

A simple road rules question has caused anger with people voicing their frustration online.

RACQ asked people on Facebook what they thought the speed limit in a residential area was.

It featured a 60km/h zone with a street adjacent. The adjacent street has no speed signs and features a number of buildings and residential properties.

“The blue vehicle was travelling on a 60km/h road and has just turned into a new road in a built-up area without a speed limit sign. What is the speed limit on this road?” RACQ wrote on Facebook.

A car is pictured driving in a residential area after turning off a 60km/h road.
Do you know what the speed limit is on this road in Queensland? Source: RACQ

The answer is 50km/h, which is the default speed limit in built up areas, according to the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.

While only a handful of people got the answer wrong, many found the rule frustrating.

“Why can't they paint the speed limit on the road?” one woman wrote.

One man complained “the speed limit is constantly changing”.

“l spend half my time looking for signs or asking my passenger what the speed limit is here,” he wrote.

Another man also took issue with the changing speed limit between roads.

“The new road, although it feels like the same road, is not speed sign posted,” he wrote

“You are now in a 50km/h zone.”

However, another man argued it should be even lower and suggested a 30km/h speed limit out of concern for the safety of people in residential areas.

Changes to the rules

The law was changed in 2001 to reduce the speed from 60km/h in built-up areas to 50km/h.

A report published by the National Road Transport Commission found 60 per cent of vehicle travel occurs in urban areas with one third of fatalities and injuries taking place on local streets.

There were also concerns at the time that the downward trend in the national road toll had “stalled”.

The report also acknowledged NSW trialled reducing the speed to 50km/h in 1997 and Queensland in 1999.

It was also decided that residential and urban roads in several states which did not feature a 60km/h sign, or any at all, would presumably be 50km/h zones by default.

States and territories began to adopt this in the late 90s and early 2000s. The only exception is the Northern Territory which still has a 60km/h speed limit in built-up areas.

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