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Old 5th May 2006, 01:27 PM   #1
Your friendly local necromancer
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Te Awamutu, New Zealand
Posts: 100
New Zealand 30km/hr Speed Limits

Yesterday I followed a police van (licence plate TJ8274) from Te Awamutu to Cambridge. It was driven by a uniformed police officer, and his driving pattern made it obvious that he wasn't on any urgent business.

At 2:45pm we drove through some road works with a 30km/hr speed limit. The police van never got below 60km/hr. I will conveniently ignore my own transgression and point out that the cop was travelling at more than twice the speed limit.

In defence of the cop, the 30k limit was unwarranted and 60km/hr was perfectly reasonable for the conditions. But I wonder what would happen if I had been ticketed doing 60-70km/hr in the same spot (I believe that 41k over the limit could result in instant loss of licence). Would I get let off if my defence was that the speed limit was unreasonable? I doubt it.

I actually think the real issue is the use of speed limits. The road works in question had a 30k limit a week ago, when the road was dug up and there were workers working amongst traffic. The same limit was still in effect several days after the works were finished and there was no real hazard remaining.

If we are to be expected to respect speed limits, two things need to happen:

(1) We need a realistic regime of limits around road works. 30km/hr on the open road, when there are no real hazards, is not going to be respected by anyone. Even worse, it diminishes respect for "proper" speed limits.

(2) Police need to respect the speed limits themselves. If I have to slow to a ridiculous speed, why don't the cops?

By the way, when we got to Cambridge we went through three roundabouts. The police van indicated correctly at the first one but did not indicate at all at either of the next two. It was a similar situation - these roundabouts were the sort where the straight-through path doesn't seem to warrant indicating. But still, they are roundabouts and the law says you have to indicate. Unless you're a cop, apparently.
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