Road safety

Council works to balance traffic efficiency with road safety.

Our traffic engineers assess road issues and traffic calming requests, review road safety, assess speed limits, process temporary road closure approvals, and upgrade bus stops and pedestrian crossings.

Council's Road Safety, Traffic and Transport Advisory Committee assesses transport and traffic issues and implements safety strategies.

To report road safety issues

Call Council on 1300 69 22 47 or make an online customer request.

Any issues found on Queensland Government highways should be reported to the Department of Transport and Main Roads on 13 19 40.

Speed limits

Generally, most suburban residential streets in the Cairns region are 50km/h, unless sign-posted.

Council follows guidelines for assessing and changing speed limits on council-owned roads. In Queensland, speed limits are set under the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

This makes speed limits even throughout the state. Council determines speed limits on roads under its control in line with the MUTCD guidelines.

To request a speed limit review

Call Council on (07) 4044 3044 or make an online customer request.

To request speed limit reviews on State government highways, contact the Department of Transport and Main Roads on 132 380.

Highways within this region that are maintained and controlled by the State Government's Department of Transport and Main Roads include:

  • Gillies Highway (Riverstone Road);
  • Bruce Highway (Mulgrave Road);
  • Southern Connection (Ray Jones Dve, Comport St & sections of Kenny St, Florence St and Bunda St);
  • Pine Creek-Yarrabah Road;
  • Kennedy Highway (Kuranda Range Road);
  • Cairns Western Arterial Rd (Reservoir Rd, McCoombe St, Alfred St, Pease St, Anderson St, James St);
  • Stratford Connection Rd (Aeroglen Dve);
  • Captain Cook Highway (Sheridan St).

Share the road

Bicycle education and safety

We are very proud of our cycling culture in Cairns and are committed to expanding our cycling and walking network as outlined in Council’s Cycling & Walking Strategy 2010 – 2030. We currently provide over 450km of off–road paths and many on-road cycle lanes for cycling and walking enthusiasts to explore our unique region. Head to the cycling and walking routes and maps page for more information.

Improving safety for all road users

Whether you ride on two wheels, four or more, we all need to get along and share the road safely.

In 2015, TMR introduced new cycling rules to improve safety for cyclists:

  • You can now ride across zebra crossings, but make sure you stop and it’s safe to do so
  • It is now optional to ride in a bicycle lane
  • You can now ride on a single lane roundabout like any other road user

It is important to remember, when you ride a bicycle, you must obey the general road rules the same as other motorists as well as the specific road rules for bicycle riders. Head to the bicycle road rules and safety page on TMR’s website for more information.

Tips for sharing roads

If you are riding a bicycle

  • Be considerate of drivers when choosing to cycle two abreast. Indicate clearly and make sure you are clearly visible
  • Ride predictably
  • Use hand signals
  • Obey the road rules. Rules apply to everyone not just drivers.

If you are a driver

  • Give cyclists space – at least 1 metre at 60km/hr or less, and 1.5 metres over 60km/hr
  • Give way to cyclists and indicate
  • Brake and wait until it is safe to pass a cyclist
  • Look before opening your car door

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School zones

All schools in the Cairns Local Government Area have a designated 1.5 hour speed zone in the morning (7.30am to 9.00am) and a 1 hour zone in the afternoon (2.30pm to 3.30pm), with the exception of:

  • Our Lady Help of Christians School (Balaclava Rd, Earlville): 1.5 hours in the morning (7.30am to 9.00am) and afternoon (2.00pm-3.30pm);
  • Cairns West State School (Mayers St, Manunda): 1.5 hours in the morning (7.30am to 9.00am) and afternoon (2.00pm-3.30pm);
  • Parramatta State School (Severin St and Minnie St, Parramatta Park): 1.5 hours in the morning (7.30am to 9.00am) and afternoon (2.00pm-3.30pm);
  • St Gerard Majella School and St Mary’s Catholic College (Anderson Rd, Woree): 1.5 hours in the morning (7.30am to 9.00am) and afternoon (2.30pm-4.00pm).

Schools are encouraged to establish a Safe School Travel (SafeST) Committee which can help a school community identify road safety concerns, and become an integral part of a school's safe travel strategy. Further information about a SafeST committee can be found on the Department of Transport and Main Roads website.

The Fact Sheets in Related Documents (Parking near Schools ( PDF, 0.16 MB ); Safe Routes to School ( PDF, 0.2 MB ); School Speed Limits and Loading Zones ( PDF, 0.75 MB )) have been developed as a resource for schools.

Safe school travel

Schools are encouraged to establish a Safe School Travel (SafeST) Committee which can help a school community identify road safety concerns, and become an integral part of a school's safe travel strategy. 

Further information about a SafeST committee can be found on the Department of Transport and Mains Roads website.

The Fact Sheets in Related Documents (Parking near Schools; Safe Routes to School; School Speed Limits and Loading Zones) have been developed as a resource for schools.

Traffic calming

Traffic calming is a plan to reduce the effect of traffic on local streets. While traffic calming has its benefits, it is not the answer to all local traffic problems.

Traffic calming cannot:

  • remove all through traffic;
  • eliminate hoon-like behaviour;
  • prevent traffic accidents;
  • prevent drivers from speeding;
  • solve parking problems.

Council has an objective method of assessing and prioritising traffic calming requests.

In many cases where speed is seen to be an issue, the real problem is driver behaviour. This is best addressed through law enforcement, not changing the road's design. Not all streets are suitable for traffic calming and it is expensive to install. It can create additional noise and disrupt the flow of traffic, and may simply redirect the problem (speeding drivers) to another nearby street.

Council sets an amount in its yearly budget for traffic calming and the number of projects completed depends on this level of funding.

When Council receives a request for new traffic calming, it uses an objective method to assess and prioritise traffic calming requests by evaluating 10 key weighted criteria. These include traffic volume, type and speed, the street's accident history (using Police records), road type, the level and nature of pedestrian activity, bus routes and road geometry.

If, after these assessments, the street is considered suitable, officers consider the best type of calming device, produce a detailed design and inform local residents. A submission is then made to Council to seek the necessary funding.

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Last updated: 07 January 2021