New school speed limits still too fast - campaigners

Road safety campaigners are thrilled schools will no longer have to apply to have speed limits reduced around their gates.

But there are concerns the changes could take up to a decade to roll out and that the new limits are still too fast.

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter on Thursday said roads around urban schools would have a mandatory 40km/h limit, and rural schools 60km/h.

"Safer speeds around schools is proven to make streets safer, more attractive and more accessible for children to walk and cycle," the Green Party MP said.

Brake NZ director Caroline Perry told The AM Show on Friday she was pleased to see lower maximum speed limits in place.

"There have been a lot of schools that have put a lot of effort into getting the speed reduced around their school, and now it means they won't have to complain... This is really long overdue... We've still got rural schools that have got 100km/h speed limits outside them, which is just crazy. It's absolutely overdue."

Only 20 percent of schools have lowered speed limits on nearby roads. 

"The plans look like they're coming through next year, so that's when it will start," said Perry. "But the rollout of some of those measures sounds like it's going to take some time... We'd like to see them implemented quickly." 

According to research, a pedestrian struck at 50km/h has at least an 80 percent chance of death. At 40km/h that's reduced to 26 percent.

But Brake wants limits down to 30km/h, where there's less than 10 percent chance of death - and also a reduced chance of a collision in the first place.

"Drivers have the best chance of stopping in time if a child makes a mistake in front of them if they're travelling at 30km/h," said Perry.

Traffic around schools has gotten worse over the last decade as the population and rolls grow. Perry said despite her words, she wouldn't be comfortable letting her children ride bikes to school in Auckland.

"We want children to be able to walk and cycle to school - that's healthier for them, it's better for the environment."

The other major road safety announcement on Thursday was that speed cameras will soon be signposted.

"If people don't know a speed camera is there, then they don't get the opportunity to check their speed and slow down if necessary," said AA regulations principal advisor Mark Stockdale. "If it issues a ticket, then it's not doing its job."


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