Oxley Highway Wauchope to Walcha New Speed Zones
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Speed limits on parts of the famed Oxley Highway will decrease from Monday, September 19, 2016, after a road safety audit.
The Oxley Highway runs 580km from Port Macquarie on the coast through Wauchope, Walcha, Tamworth, Gunnedah, Coonabarabran, Gilgandra and ends at Nevertire where it meets the Mitchell Highway. The motorcycle nirvana section stretches 160km from Wauchope to Walcha. A Roads and Maritime Services spokesperson says speed zones will change at three locations in the 30km stretch between Wauchope and Long Flat “to improve safety for all road users”.
The Oxley Highway will join several other great motorcycle roads in Australia with reduced speed limits in an apparent effort to reduce motorcycle crashes. The infamous list includes Mt Glorious Rd, The Great Ocean Rd, The Black Spur, The Reefton Spur, The Putty Rd, Bells Line Of Road, Waterfall Way (Dorrigo Mountain), and The Great Northern Rd just to name a few.
The RMS spokesperson says the speed zone changes are part of a NSW Government $60 million investment “to improve safety along the Oxley Highway”, so we can expect there will be more changes to speed zones along the remaining 120km of motorcycling nirvana. Don’t believe it won’t happen. The speed zones were gradually reduced on Mt Glorious Rd until now every zone is 10-20km/h lower.
The speed limit reduction follows the July 2015 Oxley Highway Route Safety Review that found the 415 casualties from 2008 to 2012 on the Oxley, that the majority were drivers (49%), motorcyclists (24%) and motor vehicle passengers (21%).
Motorcycles were involved in 96 casualty crashes from 2008 to 2012 with only one fatal in 2013.
The review made 14 recommendations including removing roadside hazards, adjusting barriers, better line-marking, improving the road, expanding mobile phone coverage and an education campaign particularly targeting riders. It also recommended reviewing speed zones. Guess what won and costs basically nothing to implement!
This is the situation. Not all will occur at once, however most will over a 12 month period.
As from Monday, September 19, 2016:
- The 80k zone leaving Wauchope travelling west becomes a 60k zone all the way to the Byabarra turn off. That’s 10k’s doing 60.
- The Long Flat bends go from a 100K zone to a 60k zone.
Then they plan implementing:
- The 100k zone to Long Flat will become an 80k zone. That’s 15k’s doing 80.
- The 53k's and 300 bends on the mountain half way to Walcha will go from a 100k zone to a 70k zone, yes you read that right a 70k zone.
- The 110k zone to Walcha will become a 100k zone.
Being a school teacher, I believe in education and education is the only way to address the problem of motorcycle and driver casualties. The RMS should be running campaigns targeting not just motorcycle riders but drivers as well.
Why should motorcyclists and drivers and the residents of the numerous surrounding towns and communities who use the Oxley highway daily be penalised for the actions of only a few. For people who live in the surrounding towns these ridiculous speed changes will add hours to their weekly commute into towns like Wauchope, Port Macquarie and Walcha for work and for children to attend school.
The Oxley Highway attracts motorcyclists from all over Australia and from all over the world who come to Walcha, Wauchope and Port Macquarie to ride the famous Oxley Highway. These riders bring hundreds of thousands of dollars to these communities. By reducing the speed limits, it will over time, cause many riders and groups to choose different destinations because the ridiculous speed zones will take all the freedom and fun away from their chosen activity. Car clubs will do the same. They will go elsewhere to enjoy the freedom of the cars as we do with motorcycling.
We the undersigned of this petition hereby call on the government of NSW and the Hon. Minister of the RMS to reverse their decision and realise that they are penalising thousands of innocent people, taking a freedom away from them, and forcing these new speed zones onto a community who clearly do not see any benefit at all.
We ask you the Hon. Minister to run education campaigns targeting all road users instead of simply reducing speed limits to absolutely ridiculous limits.
Please sign and forward on the web address of this petition.
Text extracts kindly reproduced with permission from Mark Hinchliffe whose article appeared on: http://motorbikewriter.com/bike-road-speed-limits/
We are running a Save the Oxley Ride on 5th November. Please have a look and share it please.
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