Speed limits exist for the safety of all road users and can vary due to a number of factors such as the level of pedestrian activity or proximity to schools.
In Victoria, VicRoads administer Speed Zoning guidelines which form the basis of determining the appropriate speed limits across the State.
Below are things that are considered when determining speed limits:
- The ‘speed limit’ and a ‘safe speed’ may differ. The speed limit is the maximum legal speed for a driver on the road in perfect conditions. Drivers should adjust their speeds to the conditions, including weather, traffic congestion, pedestrians on the road and activity from roadside areas such as schools, shopping centres and leisure facilities.
- The speed limit should support what the road is used for. Different roads can have different functions depending on who is the primary user e.g. pedestrians, cyclists, cars, buses, or heavy vehicles.
Further information on speed limits, and how they are determined and set can be found by visiting VicRoads - Speed Zones
In the event a speed limit change has been considered by Council to be necessary, Council is required to seek authorisation from VicRoads to make that change. Once VicRoads has provided authorisation to change the speed limit Council will then erect the new speed limit signs.
Default speed limits
Default speed limits are imposed by Rule 25 of the Road Safety Road Rules (RSRR) and provide a legal speed limit when speed limit signage is not present. The default speed limit for built-up areas is 50 km/h and the default speed limit outside built-up areas is 100 km/h.
In Victoria, 100 km/h speed limits on rural roads and 50 km/h speed limits on urban/regional township roads are the most common speed limits in use. The main purpose of the default speed limit is to minimise the need to sign the vast extent of short and/or minor roads that exist throughout the Victorian road network.
Assessing speeding vehicles
To better understand the speeding concerns on our road network Council engages an independent traffic survey company who place tube counters across the road to record vehicle speeds and traffic volumes. These are placed in the street for at least a week to record traffic patterns for an average working week and are not placed during school holiday periods.
The whole process of investigating speeding vehicles can take up to 60 days to record and analyse the data.The results of the data collection will assist in determining if a street requires traffic calming devices and is based on what is known as the 85th percentile traffic speed. Other factors considered include crash history, road design, type of street environment, levels of pedestrian and cycling activity.
The 85th percentile speed is a widely used traffic statistical metric which provides an accurate estimation of traffic conditions and helps identify unfitting speed limits. The 85th percentile speed is the speed adopted by reasonable people, according to the road environment. We assume that most drivers are sensible while trying to reach their destination as fast as possible. Often the data indicates that not all vehicles are speeding therefore the speeding issues are often attributed to hooning activity which requires law enforcement. Find out more about Traffic calming