City's new default speed is 50km/h
The Lismore City Council's road safety officer, Salina Runge, said the change would make speed zones around Lismore more uniform.
"There will be less confusion for motorists and it will make roads safer for all users, especially pedestrians and cyclists," she said.
The change will apply to all areas now signposted as 60km/h, with the exception of the Bruxner Highway and Dawson Street, which will remain 60km/h zones. Any area not signposted will default to 50km/h.
Many roads around Lismore have been 50km/h zones since 1998, when the council was involved in a statewide trial of 50km/h speed limits in residential areas.
"At 50km/h stopping distances are reduced by 10 metres when compared with vehicles travelling at 60km/h. In wet weather the reduction is even greater," Miss Runge said. "Ten metres can be the difference between a crash occurring or not. It could save a life."
Lismore police traffic officer Snr Const Rob Clark said police welcomed the changes.
"The statistics show a huge reduction in injury collisions and speeding motorists, and anything to reduce the road toll is welcomed by the police," he said.
Snr Const Clark thought the changes would be accepted by the wider community, although it might take a while to sink in.
However, police will not be going easy on motorists caught speeding in the new 50km/h zones.
"There is no grace period. Once the signs are up the speed limits are enforceable,' he said.
Council traffic controller Paul Smith said he and his team would have to replace 'hundreds' of speed signs.
They would be also removing paint off the road marking 60km/h zones and replacing them with '50' markings, he said.