Reduced speed limit on unsealed roads floated

Victoria Police's Doug Fryer has called for slower speed limits on country roads.

Victoria Police's Doug Fryer has called for slower speed limits on country roads.

WIMMERA politicians have slammed a proposal to lower the speed limit on unsealed country roads.

Victoria Police's Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer has called for slower speed limits after statistics showed that almost 60 per cent of deaths on Victoria’s roads so far this year had been in country areas.

He said speed limits on unsealed country roads should be reduced to 70 kilometres an hour.

Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said the idea was a lazy policy.

“Our roads have deteriorated significantly as a result of funding cuts, with many stretches of road subject to temporary speed restrictions because of their dangerous state,” she said.

“Crumbling roads is one of the biggest issues in western Victoria – roads across the Lowan electorate are riddled with pot holes putting lives at risk and causing considerable damage to vehicles.

“The solution is to provide adequate funding to maintain and upgrade our country roads and not the  lazy response to reduce the speed limits to 70 kilometres an hour unsealed roads.”

Ms Kealy said she was fighting for the region’s fair share of funding to ensure country roads were maintained at a safe standard.

“I’d like to know what local people think about the proposal to reduce speed limits and to share your views please go to www.haveyoursayvictoria.org,” she said.

So far this year, there have been two fatalities on Wimmera roads.

In February, a Stawell man, 43, died after he lost control of his motorcycle and crashed into a tree on Greenhole Road, Lake Lonsdale.

In March, a Pimpinio man, 19, died in a single-vehicle crash on Polkemmet Road at Vectis.

Both fatalities happened on sealed roads. 

Member for Western Victoria James Purcell said better maintenance of country roads was needed, not reducing the speed limit, which was a ‘total cop-out’.

Mr Purcell has called for responsibility for country roads to be taken away from VicRoads.

“VicRoads do not understand what is going on in the country,” he said.

Mr Purcell said country roads should be looked after by local government or roads management should split into country and city roads. 

He said travel times between country areas and Melbourne were already long enough and reducing the speed limit would increase them further.

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