Canberra Considering 30km/h Limits, New Laws For 'High-Risk' Drivers Photo:

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Trevor Collett | Jun, 06 2014 | 17 Comments

Canberra is the latest city to consider drastically lowering its speed limits, following recent announcements in Sydney and further afield in Paris.

The ACT government is considering its response to a report handed down this week, which recommends a move to 30km/h limits in school zones, around designated bicycle lanes and even in residential areas.

Although specific areas have not been detailed, the report calls for a trial of the low speed limit in locations with both cars and ‘vulnerable road users’ - read pedestrians.

Also among the report’s 28 recommendations are changes to rules affecting cyclists, motorcyclists and scooter riders.

Previous laws requiring cyclists to dismount before using pedestrian crossings may be relaxed for riders to cross at “walking pace”, as the report acknowledges that few cyclists obey the current laws.

School students may face compulsory bicycle safety training, while drivers would be forced to leave a one metre gap before overtaking a cyclist in a 60km/h zone, extending to 1.5 metres on roads with higher speed limits.

The report also recommends tougher motorcycle licence laws, a separate recognition for scooters and a review of road rules around intersections regarding pedestrian safety.

New Laws For ‘High-Risk’ Driving In The ACT

Meanwhile, the Labor minority government in the ACT has passed legislation targeting “aggravating” factors for driving offences.

Tougher penalties will now apply to driving offences when one or more ‘high-risk’ factors is attached, including drivers affected by alcohol or drugs.

Evading police, failing to comply with a request or signal given by a police officer to stop and committing a driving offence with a person younger than 17 years in the vehicle are also on the list.

Driving at a speed that exceeds the limit by more than 30 percent, driving in a way that risks the safety of a ‘vulnerable road user’ and recognition of repeat offenders round-out the new conditions.

"A driver convicted of furious, reckless or dangerous driving offences, where an aggravating factor is present, will face double the maximum penalty that would ordinarily apply," ACT Attorney-General, Simon Corbell, said.

"For the first time the Bill recognises vulnerable road users as a group. They include pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, riders of animals and users of motorised scooters."

Drivers caught under the new laws face an automatic 12-month disqualification of their driver’s licence, heavy fines and up to two years in prison.

NOTE: 30kmh zone photo digitally altered from Adelaide 40kmh sign.

MORE: ACT news, speed limit news

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