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MailTribune.com
  • Basic Speed Rule applies to unmarked traffic zones

  • What is the speed limit along Hanley Road between the Little League baseball fields and Rossanley?
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  • What is the speed limit along Hanley Road between the Little League baseball fields and Rossanley?
    There are signs that say the speed limit is 45 mph and signs that say "End speed zone," but there is no indication what the speed limit is after that.
    — Brandan H.
    Scouting the area for potential drag-racing spots, Brandan? Wait, don't tell us. We don't want to know.
    You are correct in your observation that Hanley Road is posted as a 45 mph speed zone from its intersection with West Pine Street in Central Point past the ball fields. You're also correct there is no posted speed limit from the "End speed zone" sign to Rossanley's intersection. At this point, Oregon's Basic Speed Rule kicks in.
    Jackson County Roads & Parks director John Vial tells Since You Asked that the lion's share of county roads — somewhere between 80 and 90 percent — do not have posted speed zones. The Basic Speed Rule (ORS 811.100) applies on these stretches. It essentially says drivers have to maintain a speed that is reasonable at all times, taking factors such as traffic, road and weather conditions, intersection dangers and anything else that affects driving safety into consideration.
    Under the statute, 55 mph is a standard maximum speed for all vehicles on open and rural highways that are unmarked. So, to follow the basic speed rule, on that unmarked stretch, you shouldn't be going over 55.
    If a county thinks a speed for an unmarked road should be changed, they can ask state transportation officials to review the section. They consider accident history, traffic volumes, width, surface and roadway alignment.
    A key factor in establishing speed zones is the 85th percentile speed, a speed 85 percent of vehicles are traveling at or below on roads.
    Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com.
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