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The City of Bakersfield Must Set The Speed According to State Law

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 reckless operation.

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.