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There has been a little confusion over some of the speed limit reductions implemented recently, and so we thought we would explain what is causing the doubt and therefore clear up the mystery.

The maximum permitted speed limit on secondary roads is now 90 kilometres per hour. If signs were in place that permitted a faster speed prior to the change at the end of January, then these changes are now complete. In fact, in the Alicante province, there were no signs that needed changing. Across the Valencia region, the total that did need changing was just 37.

The reason why there were no signs to change is that this new limit is on roads on which there were most likely no signs in place already. We explain that these roads are the equivalent to those in the UK that we know of where, “National Speed Limit Applies” signs would be displayed. If there are no restrictions in place, then it is up to us as the driver to know these limits, which were, prior to this change, based largely on the width and existence of a hard shoulder. Now, it is a uniform maximum.

But, it is also true that this restriction has not been placed on all secondary roads. On the N-332 as it passes through Benidorm there are still sections which are signposted with a maximum permitted speed of 100 kilometres per hour. These signs are still valid, despite the fact that this road is classed as a secondary road.

The reason is simple, thought not widely published. During the implementation of the change there is also a clause which allows the road operator to maintain a maximum permitted speed of up to 100 kilometres per hour on roads where there is a physical separation between the different flows of traffic, a dual carriageway in other words. On that particular section of the N-332, that is the case. The road was only recently renovated and follows all of the latest designs and requirements for a faster flowing road, including that central separation.

In the case of the N-332, a nationally operated road, hence the “N” prefix, then the national road operator was free to decide if this section should be maintained as a maximum of 100, or reduced to 90 kilometres per hour.

So, there are in fact still some secondary roads where the maximum permitted speed limit is 100 kilometres per hour, and these will be signposted, as it the case near Benidorm. So, we must look out for and heed those signs, as they are what dictate the maximum permitted speed of the road, subject to external influences such as the weather or traffic for example, and it is only on roads where no signs or restrictions exist that we now know are limited to a maximum of 90, remembering at all times that any speed limit is a maximum, not a target, and it does not mean that it is safe or appropriate to travel at that speed, as many other factors have to be taken into consideration.

 


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