Along a stretch of Gosford the speed limit is 55 miles an hour, even though
homes stand on both sides of the roadway. The City of Bakersfield must
use the state guideline to determine what the speed limit for that section
of road, and they must stick with the state's formula for speed.
According to the city's traffic engineer, "a six lane roadway,
by California Vehicle Code Definition, its maximum is 65." The city
follows the rules with the Basic Speed Law of California and conducts
regular surveys of traffic speed to determine if a speed limit needs to
be adjusted. They also sample traffic, according to the Law, to determine
the 85th percentile speed of the traffic, and that means looking at what
speed 85 percent of the vehicles are traveling at. Then that number is
rounded to the nearest five miles an hour. That's the number the city
council votes on as the new posted speed limit.
And every five years, the city must conduct a new survey, but some areas,
such as Gosford, can be conducted every seven years. The engineers also
look at the number of accidents to determine if high speed was involved
to determine if a change should be made to the speed limit. So far this
year, there have been 25 cases of reckless driving in Bakersfield with
13 resulting in arrests, and in Gosford there have been three cases of
There are numerous places in Bakersfield and other cities where it seems
that the speed limit is too high or too low. But in order to have a valid
enforcable speed limit in a reasonable speed zone (Vehicle Code 22350)
the city of Bakersfield must set the speed according to state law.