Government Reluctance to Aid Cyclists
NZ School Speeds welcomes the announcement by Craig Foss, Associate Minister of Transport commitment to making cycling
safer, but questions why "mandatory minimum passing distance is in the 'complex' bracket".
Lucinda Rees, spokesperson for NZ School Speeds encourages more children to make their way independently but
acknowledges that roads and the New Zealand driving culture often makes this impossible. NZ School Speeds lobbies for
consistent speed limits of 30km/h at peak times outside schools and no more than 60km/h at other times of the day.
Congestion could be reduced if more children make their way to school independently, but roads are often too dangerous
with lack of safe school zone speeds to make crossing safer and only a 'recommended' cyclist passing distance. The road
code recommends a 1.5m cyclist passing distance, but Rees suggests that "with the recent number of cyclist deaths that
is obviously not working.
"The Government is being short sighted by putting the mandatory passing distance in the complex basket. Could this be
fear of annoying some drivers who might be in the majority, in comparison with the still developing number of cyclists?"
The Cyclist Safety Panel safe passing distance recommendation has been in place in European countries where more people
cycle for many years.
"For school children to cycle to school, a mandatory cyclist passing distance, as recommended by the Cycling Safety
Panel of 1 metre up to 60km/h and 1.5 metres above is supported by NZ School Speeds. It will put the message out to
drivers that the Government encourages cyclists, rather than the current message that suggests that cyclists can be
pushed off the road and potentially killed", says Rees. "Rules need to be put in place for more to cycle and the driving
culture to improve."