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.

Speed Limits

Across Queensland, a 50km/h speed limit applies to most suburban residential streets in built-up areas, unless otherwise sign-posted.

This 50km/h local limit operates on the basis that the reduced limit applies to 'local' streets only. Local streets are used mainly to access homes and private property and carry neighbourhood traffic. All other roads (arterials, major suburban routes) retain a speed limit of 60km/h unless a higher speed limit is sign-posted.

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.

From time to time, Council and Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) reviews speed limits on identified roads. This review process is detailed and can take an average of six months, and involves inspections, traffic counts and studies of vehicle crash history.

To enhance road safety for Cairns residents and visitors a new 40 kilometre per hour speed limit will apply in the Cairns CBD from Monday 18 February 2019.

New speed limits will be clearly signed

To enhance road safety for Cairns residents and visitors the Cairns CBD now has a 40 kilometre per hour speed limit.

The new speed limit now applies between Florence, McLeod, Spence Street and the Esplanade.

Existing 30km/h speed limits on the Esplanade and Lake Street will not change.

Traffic Calming

Traffic calming aims to make streets safer and more liveable, generally by reducing the speed and/or number of vehicles that use a particular street.

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.

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 ten 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.

Find out more by downloading the Traffic Calming Fact Sheet ( PDF, 0.34 MB ) in the For Download section below.

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 Main Roads website.

The Fact Sheets in Related Documents (Parking near Schools ( PDF, 0.17 MB ); Safe Routes to School ( PDF, 0.21 MB ); School Speed Limits and Loading Zones ( PDF, 0.18 MB )) have been developed as a resource for schools.

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.

For download

Last updated: 05 February 2019