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Speed limits slashed as 40km/h becomes the new norm in City of Sydney, may go even lower to improve urban safety

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A speed limit sign in Sydney (Image: Chris Southwood)
A speed limit sign in Sydney (Image: Chris Southwood)

The City of Sydney council has been slowly reducing speed limits of high foot-traffic roads to 40km/h to enhance local safety.

The 10km/h lower limit will now become the standard on regional and local roads within inner-city suburbs of Glebe, Forest Lodge, Beaconsfield and Waterloo.

Illuminated electronic signs will be put in place in affected areas for a minimum of two weeks after the new limits become law.

Suburbs further out with existing 50km/h limits including Annandale, Alexandria, Redfern Woolloomooloo and Zetland will also have some speed limits lowered to 40km/h.

The City of Sydney's eventual goal is to implement more 30km/h zones in high pedestrian and cyclist areas.

“It is everyone’s responsibility to make our roads as safe as they possibly can be for people walking, riding and driving,” said Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

“Currently, 75 per cent of local and regional roads in our area already have a 40km/h speed limit or lower. That’s up from just five per cent in 2004. This has been achieved through our work with the NSW Government, which is funding the latest round of speed limit changes," she added.

50km/h speed sign in Sydney (image: Richard Berry)
50km/h speed sign in Sydney (image: Richard Berry)

Myriad studies have shown a 10km/h reduction can benefit both pedestrian and vehicle safety in built-up areas.

This latest reduction will only apply to local and regional roads. Motorways and State roads are spared.

It is not all speed reduction in New South Wales, with the M4 motorway's WestConnex tunnel having its limit raised from 80km/h to 90km/h in March. Perhaps surprisingly, that speed limit increase was also for safety reasons.

The number of deaths on NSW roads continues to climb despite newer, safer cars and generally lower speed limits. So far, 181 lives has been lost on roads in NSW compared to 165 in the same period last year. 

John Law
Deputy News Editor
Born in Sydney’s Inner West, John wasn’t treated to the usual suite of Aussie-built family cars growing up, with his parents choosing quirky (often chevroned) French motors that shaped his love of cars. The call of motoring journalism was too strong to deny and in 2019 John kickstarted his career at Chasing Cars. A move to WhichCar and Wheels magazine exposed him to a different side of the industry and the glossy pages of physical magazines. John is back on the digital side of things at CarsGuide, where he’s taken up a role as Deputy News Editor spinning yarns about the latest happenings in the automotive industry. When he isn’t working, John can be found tooling around in either his 2002 Renault Clio Sport 172 or 1983 Alfasud Gold Cloverleaf.  
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