Road safety means taking steps to prevent accidents and protect people using the roads by following rules, being careful, and making responsible choices.
Greater Bendigo Road Safety Action Plan
The Greater Bendigo Road Safety Action Plan 2023-2027 provides guidance to Council in delivering road safety activities over the coming years that meet the needs of our community.
In rural Victoria, the default speed limit outside of built-up areas is 100 km/h. This default speed limit operates on rural roads where there are no other speed limit signs.
The default speed limit for Victoria’s roads in built-up areas is 50 km/h and applies on all roads in suburban areas where there are no speed limit signs displayed. The Bendigo city centre and some of our residential areas have signed 40km/h speed limits.
As high pedestrian and cyclist activity occurs in built-up areas, you should consider travelling at a speed well below the maximum speed limit.
Default speed limits are generally not signposted.
Road signs are used throughout Victoria to advise and enforce appropriate speed limits.
Drivers must travel at or below the speed displayed on the speed limit sign. Speed limit signs are a regulatory road sign therefore it is illegal to disobey these signs.
They are usually black and white and sometimes use red to show danger or a limit.
Advisory speed signs are usually yellow, diamond-shaped with black text. These are warning signs which tell you there could be a danger ahead due to changing road conditions. They usually accompany other warning signs such as pedestrian, intersection and curves or hill crest signs.
To alter a speed zone on a local road, Council must receive approval from VicRoads / the Department of Transport and Planning.
In the event a speed limit change has been considered by Council to be necessary, Council is required to seek authorisation from VicRoads to make that change. Once VicRoads has provided authorisation to change the speed limit Council will then erect the new speed limit signs.
To understand speeding concerns on our road network, we place tube counters across the road to record vehicle speeds and traffic volumes. These are placed in the street for at least a week to record traffic patterns for an average working week and are not placed during school holiday periods.
The whole process of investigating speeding vehicles can take up to 90 days to record and analyse the data. The results of the data collection will determine if a street requires traffic calming devices and is based on what is known as the 85th percentile traffic speed.
The 85th percentile speed is a widely used traffic statistical metric which provides an accurate estimation of traffic conditions and helps identify unfitting speed limits. The 85th percentile speed is the speed adopted by reasonable people, according to the road environment. We assume that most drivers are sensible while trying to reach their destination as fast as possible. Where results indicate the 85th percentile traffic speed is 5km/h above the speed limit Council will consider traffic calming devices for the street to reduce the speeds.
Often the data indicates that not all vehicles are speeding, therefore speeding issues are often attributed to hoon activity which requires law enforcement.
We all have a responsibility when it comes to safe driving around school zones. Drivers must take responsibility for parking and driving safely around schools.
Most school zones in Victoria have a speed limit of 40km/h between the hours of 8am to 9.30am and 2.30pm to 4pm.
The 40km/h speed limit is clearly sign posted around school areas and you must ensure you obey the speed limit during school terms. The 40km/h speed limit does not apply to school zones in school holidays or on weekends.
If there are no posted speed limits on an unsealed road, the default speed limits apply. In built-up areas the default speed limit is 50km/h. On country roads the default speed limit is 100km/h.
The appropriate speed to travel on an unsealed road varies greatly due to driver behaviour, the weather and road environment. For most unsealed roads it is safer to allow drivers to choose an appropriate speed instead of encouraging them to travel at a specific speed limit.
Speed humps and signs are no longer considered an effective way of addressing dust and speed on unsealed roads.
Speed humps and similar treatments are not installed on gravel roads as they are difficult to maintain and are easily damaged or altered by road surfacing equipment.
While Council receives requests for "Slow Down Dust" signage to be installed on unsealed roads, these signs have been found to be ineffective in reducing vehicle speeds. For this reason, new "Slow Down Dust" signs are not installed and the existing signs are not being replaced.
Traffic calming / speeding
Traffic calming aims to slow motorists who are inadvertently travelling above the speed limit in residential areas by building road humps or other obstructions.
The aim is to lower traffic speeds, reduce accidents and lower the volume of traffic.
Council’s Traffic Calming Guidelines: See Appendix B of Road Safety Action Plan 2023-2027.
It is widely believed that traffic calming methods, such as speed humps, roundabouts or lower speed limits will reduce hooning.
Extensive research and experience across Australia shows that this is not the case and these treatments only move the problem to another location.
Law enforcement is the single most meaningful method of controlling anti-social behaviour.
The aim of successful traffic calming works is to reduce the average traffic speed. This relies on people driving to the road conditions. Experience suggests that traffic calming provides a challenge for some drivers to commit hooning offences.
Reporting incidences of hooning
You should refer incidences of illegal driving (hooning) to Crime Stoppers
Our Speed Awareness Monitors program is part of our commitment to making Greater Bendigo roads safer. The Speed Awareness Monitors, known as SAM, aim to change motorist behaviour and reduce speeding in our suburbs.
If you are travelling at or below the speed limit, you will receive a smiley face from SAM to thank you for doing the right thing. SAM displays a slowdown message if you are speeding to remind you to reduce your speed and drive safely on our roads.
Speed Awareness Monitors are not suitable for all locations within our road network. If you would like to suggest a new location for a Speed Awareness Monitor contact us.
When a location is suggested, we undertake a site assessment to determine if the location is suitable for a Speed Awareness Monitor.
Council installs speed awareness monitors for at least six months before moving to a new location to allow enough time to have a positive impact on motorist behaviour. Monitors may return to a previously installed location if speeding becomes a concern again.
We use a portable (trailer-mounted) speed observation sign throughout the municipality, to remind drivers to watch their speed. The speed observation trailer displays the speed of oncoming vehicles and, depending on the recorded speed, shows a different message to the driver.
Drivers are not issued with an infringement notice by the speed observation trailer. The speed observation trailer records vehicle speeds but not registration numbers.
Victoria Police support the use of the speed observation trailer.
The presence of the speed observation trailer in local streets has significantly reduced vehicle speeds.
Parking and pedestrian crossings
If you double park or stop in a No Stopping zone near a school, even if it is just for a second, you are endangering lives. A moment’s convenience is not worth threatening the safety of children.
Drivers must take responsibility for parking safely at all times, especially around schools. Always obey parking signs - they are there to protect our children.
Council is working with local school communities and police to reduce the risks of dangerous parking around schools. You can do your bit and avoid double parking or stopping illegally.
Tips for safer parking
- Teach your children to get in and out of the car on the kerb side only
- Never call your children across the road
- Teach children to safely use the school crossing, or ask them to wait so you can cross together
- Never double park as this blocks drivers’ and pedestrians’ sightlines causing congestion and endangering our children
- Be patient. Stress and frustration cause accidents
- Expect the unexpected. Children are spontaneous and don’t always know the dangers around them
- I'll only be a few seconds is not an excuse. There is no acceptable time frame for dangerous parking
- Try parking away from the front gate and walk a little way to collect your child
- Try walking, riding or scootering with your child. Ask your school about travel groups
- Explore sustainable transport options
Pedestrian operated signals
Many traffic lights have pedestrian signals to help you cross the road safely. Press the button and wait for the lights to change to the green walk signal before crossing. Make sure that vehicles stop before you cross, and don't walk if vehicles are moving through the crossing or if the red don't walk signal shows. When approaching traffic lights, you must not start to cross on the flashing red don't walk signal. You must wait for the green signal before you start to cross.
Drivers must slow down and stop when a pedestrian steps onto a marked crossing. Drivers must give way to any pedestrian on the crossing. Some drivers may not stop for pedestrians, so wait until all vehicles have stopped before you start to cross.
Raised pedestrian (wombat) crossings
Raised pedestrian crossings are located where there are high levels of pedestrian activity. They are raised to increase visibility for approaching drivers and slow down traffic. Drivers must slow down and stop when a pedestrian steps onto a marked crossing. Drivers must give way to any pedestrian on the crossing.
School/children's crossings are usually part-time crossings that operate before and after school hours, or at other times that may be approved by the council. Aside from these times, the area is not a pedestrian crossing. When in use, flags displaying the words 'children crossing' are used. Drivers must slow down and halt before the stop line when a pedestrian is on the crossing or waiting to cross and remain stopped until all pedestrians leave the crossing.
Pedestrian refuge islands
Pedestrian refuge islands are not pedestrian crossings; they are installed on busy or wide roads to help pedestrians cross in two stages. Sometimes they are used with a pedestrian crossing when a staged crossing is required.