In a move to prioritize the safety of beachgoers, the SA Government has announced reduced speed limits on SA beaches starting this summer season.
Effective from 1 December 2023, beach drivers will need to adhere to a default speed limit of 40km/h, which further drops to 25km/h when within 50 metres of pedestrians. These changes will be enforced unless there are specific signposted limits indicating otherwise.
The decision to amend the Road Traffic Act 1961 follows a six-week educational period. Post this phase, penalties in the form of demerit points and fines will be levied on those found exceeding the stipulated speed limits on the state’s drive-on beaches.
Historically, South Australian beaches have been categorized as ‘road related areas’. This meant that in the absence of any signposted speed limits, the default speed was a whopping 100km/h.
However, the recent changes reflect a more safety-conscious approach, especially considering the mixed use of beaches by both vehicles and pedestrians.
The State Government, in line with its Road Safety Action Plan 2023-25, undertook a comprehensive review of beach speed limits earlier this year. The findings were compelling. A significant 80% of respondents to the YourSAy survey expressed their support for a reduced default speed limit.
The most popular choice among respondents was a speed limit of 40km/h, which would further decrease to 25km/h when within proximity (100 metres) of a pedestrian.
Taking into account the feedback from the community, councils, and expert stakeholders, including the South Australia Police, the decision was finalized. The speed limit would be set at 40km/h, reducing to 25km/h when within a 50-metre radius of pedestrians.
Minister for Police Joe Szakacs says that keeping each other beach safe should always be the number one priority.
“Speed was a contributing factor to about 50 per cent of all crashes on beaches between 2017 and 2021, so earlier this year the Malinauskas Labor Government committed to review speed limits on beaches as part of the Road Safety Action Plan.”
“We have listened and learned through this extensive consultation process, and I am pleased that legislation to make the default speed limit 40km/h and 25km/h within 50 metres of a pedestrian has passed today.”
“From 1 December, demerit points and fines will apply if you are caught speeding on a beach.”
“It’s important to remember that the Australian Road Rules apply on our beaches so that not only includes abiding by these new speed limits, but wearing seat belts, giving way, driving to the left and adhering to relevant blood alcohol limits.”
The comprehensive “Speed Limits on South Australians Beaches Community Engagement Outcomes Report” detailing the consultation process and its outcomes is available for public viewing here.