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The Official Car Rental Blog
20 September, 2012 - Peta Daniels Peta Daniels

Default Speed Limit in Built-Up Areas

While this ruling was introduced back in 2001 and 2002, we thought we would provide a friendly reminder to all road users in Australia on the importance of the default '50km per hour' speed limit for roads in built-up areas.

We have provided some helpful information that we hope will assist with offering a better understanding of this road rule.

Road Rule: The default speed limit in built-up areas is 50km/h unless signed otherwise.

What is a 'Built-Up Area'?

The Australian Road Rules provides the following definition for 'Built-Up Area':

Built-up area, in relation to a length of road, means an area in which either of the following is present for a distance of at least 500 metres or, if the length of road is shorter than 500 metres, for the whole road:

  • buildings, not over 100 metres apart, on land next to the road;
  • street lights not over 100 metres apart.

What Does 'Default Limit' Mean?

The National Road Transport Commission defines 'Default Limit' as:

'...speed limit applies by regulation throughout an area, such as a built-up area. This avoids the need for extensive signing where the default limit applies.'

Know Your Surroundings

Always take care when driving and be vigilant of your surroundings. Be alert to road signage as they display important information for your safety, the safety of your passengers, as well as pedestrians, cyclists, and other motorists.

If your travels are taking you on a road trip adventure, you may like to check out Lonely Planet's Outback Australia Road Trips (Travel Guide).

If you are an international visitor, please take the time to go through the Australian road rules and become aware of the key information to help you have a safe and enjoyable journey.