Road Safety Programs






 Maitland City Council, Dungog Shire Council and Port Stephens Council

Safer Motorcycle Routes

The Safer Motorcycle Routes project is a joint initiative of Port Stephens, Maitland and Dungog Councils from the NSW Hunter Region.  The project aimed to lessen the motorcycle crashes on recreational routes through the region, which according to the NSW Roads and Maritime Services had experienced more than 1,900 motorcycle casualties that resulted in serious injury or death between 2005 and 2010.

The three councils recognised that prevention is better than cure.  The councils agreed to work together to develop a 'safe system' approach to reduce the incidence and severity of motorcycle crashes on local roads.  Such a system is designed to minimise hazards caused by human error.  It is a risk management strategy to identify and analyse hazards as well as a process to apply all reasonably practicable steps to eliminate risks or control any residual risks.

The Safer Motorcycles Routes project was strategically aligned with objectives from the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020.  It involved traffic and design engineers and road safety officers from the three partner councils in collaboration with road safety and traffic officers from NSW Roads and Maritime Services, NSW Police and the Motor Cycle Council of NSW.  Active motorcycle road users were key participants in designing the approach and solutions.

The multi-pronged approach involved an audit of the most problematic recreational routes with motorcyclists filming video footage using 'helmet cam'.  This enabled the project team to look at the road from the motorcyclists' perspective and helped council staff to set up an integrated warning and advisory signage plan across the three council areas resulting in:

  • 'safe system' principles being applied to major road designs including increased clear zones, realignment and increased delineation
  • broader awareness of motorcycle riders' needs and issues, and
  • bays for NSW Police to target speed enforcement.

This project is the beginning of a long-term vision shared by the partner councils to reduce road trauma through safer roads and safer pedestrians.  The councils, and those who travel in the Hunter region, will benefit by reduced social and economic costs through the reduced incidence and severity of motor cycle crashes.


Maitland City Council Road Safety Action Plan

The Council’s Road Safety Action Plan outlines a coordinated approach to making roads safer and reducing the costs of crashes to the community.

The purpose of the plan is to:

  • outline goals, objectives and strategies that Council, the community and road safety stakeholders can focus on to improve road safety.
  • develop community support, awareness, ownership and participation in road safety.
  • encourage effective communication and coordination between stakeholders.

Click here to view the Road Safety Action Plan.

Motorcycling the Hunter

The Scenic Hunter Valley is just a short trip north of Sydney and offers riders the best of all things.

From the attractions of Wine Country in Cessnock to the mountainous Barrington Tops near Dungog through Historic Hunter River Country around Maitland to the blue water paradise of Port Stephens, this area has something for everyone.

The Hunter provides riders with fascinating leisurely rides for groups, tourers and locals that include highway conditions through to enjoyable winding country roads. ‘Motorcycling the Hunter’ has road safety information on scenic rides throughout this area with comprehensive maps, local events, and essential information on road safety issues such as speeding, drink driving/riding, fatigue and pillion safety.

The forty page colour booklet, developed by local Road Safety Officers in consultation with local motorcycle groups, is available free of charge through Visitors Information Centres, Council offices and motorcycle distributors in the Maitland, Cessnock, Dungog and Port Stephens area.

For further information contact Councils Road Safety Officer on 4934 9840 or email 

Speed Limit

 Almost half of casualty crashes on our regions roads are caused by speeding. When you speed, your stopping distance increases, and you have less time to react to avoid a crash.

The risk of a crash in an urban 60km/hr speed zone causing death or injury increases rapidly even with relatively small increases of speed. The accident risk at 65km/h is about twice the risk at 60km/h. At 70km/h the accident risk is more than four times the risk at 60km/hr.  




Almost half of fatal crashes on our regions roads are caused by speeding. When you speed, your stopping distance increases, and you have less time to react to avoid a crash.

The risk of a crash in an urban 60km/hr speed zone causing death or injury increases rapidly even with relatively small increases of speed. The accident risk at 65km/h is about twice the risk at 60km/h. At 70km/h the accident risk is more than four times the risk at 60km/hr.

Urban Speed Limits

50 km/h speed limit

The 50 km/h speed limit applies to all built-up areas across NSW. A 'built-up area' refers to an area where there are buildings on the land next to the road or there are street lights along the road with a spacing of 100 metres or less for a total length of at least 500 metres or if the road is shorter than 500 metres, for the whole length of the road. 50km/h signage is not necessary in urban areas and will be progressively removed over time.

A 50 km/h default limit applies as soon as you turn onto any urban road without a speed sign.

40 km/h speed limit

The 40 km/h urban limit is part of a nationwide strategy to reduce the incidence of injury and death in high pedestrian traffic areas.

40 km/h speed zones have been introduced since 1991 as part of the Local Area Traffic Management (LATM) schemes. These are installed in areas of high pedestrian activity such as busy CBD areas and small suburban shopping strips.

How will I know I am in a 40 km/h speed limit zone?

Signage and pavement markings will clearly define the start of the 40 km/h pedestrian area including:

  •   Standard 40 km/h speed signs.
  •   ‘Pedestrian activity’ plates.
  •   40 km/h pavement numerals (ie roads with painted speed limit numerals)

In addition, the RMS authorises timed 40km/h speed limits at schools, on buses (as flashing lights on the back of buses) and 40km/h roadwork zone speed limits.

Child Restraints


New child restraint laws

Summary of changes

From 1 March 2010:

·         Children younger than six months must be secured in a rearward facing restraint.

·         Children aged six months to under four years must be secured in either a rear or forward facing restraint.

·         Children aged four years to under seven years must be secured in forward facing child restraint or booster seat.

·         Children younger than four years cannot travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows.

·         Children aged four years to under seven years cannot travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows, unless all other back seats are occupied by children younger than seven years in a child restraint or booster seat.

Drivers will need to ensure that children younger than four years of age do not travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows.  Drivers will also need to ensure that children aged four years to under seven years of age do not travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows unless all other back seats are occupied by children younger than seven years.  


·         Using a restraint correctly greatly increases a child's safety during a crash.

·         Placing a child in a restraint that is designed for a larger/older child increases the risk of serious injury in a crash.

·         Ensure the restraint is installed correctly. See a restraint fitter if in any doubt.

·         Always use the top tether strap where required.

·         Teach your child to always keep both arms within the harness system of the child seat or the seat belt of the booster seat.

·         When using a seat belt with a booster, ensure the seat belt is correctly fitted over the child’s shoulder.

·         Move your child into a forward-facing restraint only when they no longer fit into a rearward-facing restraint.

·         Move your child into a booster seat only when they no longer fit into a forward-facing restraint.

·         Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.


 Are you using a SAFE restraint?

To find out use the following Child Restraint Checklist:
  • Does the restraint have the Australian Standards Mark (AS 1754) which means it has passed official laboratory crash tests?
    • YES - continue
    • NO - discard the restraint
  • Has the restraint been involved in a car crash?
    • YES - discard the seat
    • NO - continue
  • Are there any cracks, bends or breaks in the plastic shell or metal frame?
    • YES - discard the seat
    • NO - continue
  • Do you have a copy of the manufacturer's instructions?
    • YES - continue
    • NO - Call Kidsafe (phone - (02) 4942 4488) for telephone number of manufacturers to request instructions.
  • Does the restraint have all of its parts: harness straps, padding, tether straps and bolts?
    • YES - Continue
    • NO - discard the restraint or obtain replacement part from manufacturer
  • Are the harness straps worn or frayed?
    • YES - discard the restraint or obtain replacement part from manufacturer
    • NO - continue
  • Does the buckle area show signs of rust?
    • YES - discard the restraint or obtain replacement part from manufacturer
    • NO
  • Does the buckle mechanism latch and remain latched and unlatch smoothly?
    • YES - Use the restraint.
    • NO - discard the restraint or obtain replacement part from manufacturer
If you have any questions about the effectiveness and safety of your child passenger restraint, you can have it inspected at RMS Authorised Restraint Fitting Stations – ring 1800 042 865 for the location nearest you.


Information on Child Car Seats and Authorised Restraint Fitting Stations can be found on the Transport for NSW website.                                              


 Seatbelts save lives, so buckle up every time. As a driver YOU are responsible for the passengers in your vehicle and YOU will be fined for permitting them to travel unrestrained.


Tips for Safe Partying – Be a Good Host

  • If you are having friends over, be sure transport is arranged so your friends don’t drink and drive
  • Have low alcohol and soft drinks available as an alternative to drinking alcohol.
  • Always have food available where alcohol is consumed.
  • Invite friends to sleep over so they don’t drink and drive home.
  • Let friends pace their own drinking. Don’t pressure them to drink more.
  • Encourage a designated driver who doesn’t drink to drive drinking friends home.

REMEMBER, Your blood alcohol can continue to rise for 2 hours after your last drink and takes many hours to be removed by the body. Even after a few hours sleep you may still be over the limit to drive.




Young Drivers - Survivors


Helping Learner Drivers Become Safer Drivers

Statistics show that young drivers 17-20 years are three times more likely to be involved in casualty crashes. That’s why the RMS has introduced a new licensing scheme which requires learner drivers to have more supervised driving practice.

To help you with practical advice about:

  • supervising learner drivers,
  • completing the Learner Driver Log Book, and
  • the benefits of driving practice.

The RMS has set up FREE two hour workshops for parents and other supervisors of learner drivers.  

Maitland City Council’s Road Safety Officer will conduct the Graduated Licensing Scheme (GLS) workshops locally. Advertisements will be placed in local newspapers and on radio in the month prior to the workshop. For further information contact Maitland City Council’s Road Safety Officer on 4934 9840 or email           

Seniors - Older Wiser Walkers

People aged 60 years and over, represent 40% of all pedestrian fatalities, although they comprise only 17% of the total NSW population.

The Department of Ageing regards people aged over 60 years as a Senior.  Seniors are the fastest growing group of the population with it estimated that one in four Australians will be over the age of 60 years in 20 years time.

The proportion of crashes involving senior pedestrians is expected to increase in the next decade as the proportion of older people in the population increases.

Older Wiser Walkers aims:

1. To give you the KNOWLEDGE and encourage you to THINK about your risks as a pedestrian.

2.To offer you KNOWLEDGE on how to PLAN for a safer journey.

To book an OLDER WISER WALKERS presentation for your group contact Councils Road Safety Officer on 4934 9840 or email

The Safe Seniors Road Safety Calendar will be available for seniors groups or individuals from November 2015.  Limited numbers will be available FREE of charge.  For further information please contact Council's Road Safety Officer on 4934 9840.    

Safety Outside Schools

Tips to improve safety around schools:

1. School age children should always travel in the back seat of your vehicle.  Each child must be firmly buckled into an appropriate seat belt or child restraint.  NEVER share a seatbelt.

2. Children should always get in and out of the car through the rear kerb side or ‘safety door’.

3. Always drop your children on the school side of the road.

4. Meet your children on the school side of the road, preferably at the school gate.  This is particularly important in wet weather.

5. NEVER call your children from across the road.  Teach them to wait until you come to them.  Talk with them about what you should do if you are not there on time.

6. Children up to at least eight years old should hold an adult’s hand in the car park, on the footpath and when crossing the road.  Children between eight and at least ten years old should be closely supervised by an adult in the traffic environment and should hold an adult’s hand when crossing the road.

7. Talk your child through the STOP – LOOK – LISTEN – THINK routine every time you cross the road.

STOP – One step back from the kerb,

LOOK – For traffic to you right, left and right,

LISTEN – For the sounds of approaching traffic,

THINK – Whether it is safe to cross. 

Always look and listen for traffic as you cross the road.

8. Always slow to 40km/h when travelling in a school zone SCHOOL ZONE times in most schools zones are 8am to 9.30am and 2.30pm to 4pm school days.

9. Always obey the parking signs around your child’s school.  These signs help save lives.

10. NEVER leave a child of any age in a vehicle without adult supervision.

Road Safety Issues around Schools


Dragons Teeth alert drivers to school zones

 Triangular road markings or ‘Dragon’s Teeth’ will be painted at the start of each school zone in NSW over the next two years.

‘Dragon’s Teeth’ further increase the visibility of school zones for motorists and provide a constant reinforcement to slow down to 40 km/h around schools between 8am and 9.30am and from 2.30pm till 4pm.




Safer Pedestrians - STOP AND LOOK

Every year pedestrians make up approximately 20 percent of all people killed on NSW roads. .

Council has to follow guidelines for the installation of crossings and only areas of very high pedestrian movement together with high traffic volume meet the guidelines for marked pedestrian crossings. Pedestrian refuges are often considered by Council as an alternative. Remember as a pedestrian you are responsible for your own safety. When crossing any road whether using a pedestrian facility or not, ensure you are able to cross safely from one side of the road to the other. Never trust that a motor vehicle driver has seen you or will be able to stop in time. 


How safe is your car?

When buying a car, new or used, you should research what safety features that car has and how well it has performed in crash tests.

The Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) provides consumers with independent information on the level of safety provided by vehicles in the event of a serious accident.  Be guided by the stars.  The more stars, the better.

When it comes to safety , not all cars are equal.  Occupants have twice the chance of being killed or seriously injured in an ANCAP 1 Star rated vehicle compared to an ANCAP 5 Star rated vehicle.

Choose a vehicle with features that protect drivers and passengers and increase driver control.  If it's not a 4 or 5 star rated vehicle - cross it off your list!

For more information and to check the star rating of your car visit .


Road Rules

There are regular update to Road Rules.

When was the last time you refreshed your knowledge?

The Road User Handbook can be found here

Visit the Transport for NSW Road Rules Campaign webpage here.


Shared Zones

The Levee Central Maitland is a Shared Zone where the road space is shared by both vehicles and pedestrians.  

The Road Rules that apply are;

  • The maximum speed limit driving through a Shared Zone is 10km/h
  • There may be no road lines, kerb or gutter in the shared zone to show that pedestrians and vehicles are equal. 
  • Drivers must give way to pedestrians at all times.  
  • Pedestrians however must not cause a traffic hazard by moving into the path of a driver and must not unreasonably obstruct the path of any driver or another pedestrian.
  • Vehicles can only stop in a Shared Zone if they obey the parking signs and park in the marked bays.  

A Shared Zone looks different.  You will see different surface texture and entry/exit signage and road treatments alerting you to a change of driving conditions.  

So, remember The Levee Central Maitland Shared Zone is a place for pedestrians and vehicles to share.  10km/h, Give Way to Pedestrians and only Park in marked bays.  

Further information on shared zones can be found at


Yellow Edge Lines - What do they mean?

Council is using unbroken yellow edge lines on the side of roads to denote No Stopping Zones.

These painted yellow lines are more durable, easier to maintain and have less impact on the visual appearance of an area than road signs.

Rule 169 of the Australian Road Rules (No Stopping on a road with a yellow edge line)

A driver must not stop at the side of a road marked with a continuous yellow edge line.

Police and Council Rangers can enforce this road rule yellow lime marking without any other road signs or indicators required.