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Bus drivers and cyclists work together on road safety

Press Release – 16 January 2014

Bus drivers and cyclists work together on road safety

A group of Auckland drivers from NZ Bus will swap seats this month with volunteer cyclists in road user workshops designed to improve safety on our roads.

Continuing on from previous workshops in Auckland and Wellington, NZ Bus is working with The Cycling Advocates Network to ensure cyclists and drivers understand each other’s needs.

“NZ Bus views cycling as a vital element of a successful public transport network and strongly supports initiatives such as these to make cycling, buses and roads safer,” says Scott Thorne, NZ Bus General Manager, Strategy.

“The past workshops were extremely successful in building a rapport between the two distinct groups of road users. Our drivers are excited to continue improving road safety for all vehicles through these workshops. Some of the drivers hadn’t been on a bike for a number of years.”

Feedback from bus drivers who attended previous workshops said the sessions were useful as they saw the road from a different point of view. One of the attendees commented, “It gave me an opportunity to understand how cyclists feel, by putting myself in their shoes. The most important thing was safety – whether you drive a bike or bus – and respect.”

Cycle Action Auckland Chairwoman Barbara Cuthbert said one of the benefits of working with NZ Bus is the potential to reach a large audience of drivers.

“Auckland’s road network includes nearly 50km of combined bus and bike lanes. Many roads are congested at peak hours, with more bus services and numbers of cyclists. We know from experience that these bus-bike workshops provide practical, durable learning for bus drivers, and promote courteous driver behaviour. Cyclists similarly benefit from the programme. We applaud this renewed initiative to improve road safety across Auckland.”

Awareness and interaction with cyclists is an important part of NZ Bus’ health and safety training for its staff. “Our commitment was seen recently with the addition of telematics technology onto our buses at a cost of $3 million. This is making a real difference to the safety and comfort of our passengers, as well as fellow road users, by reducing harsh braking, acceleration and cornering,” says Mr Thorne.

Fast facts

• NZ Bus has over 1600 operators and 1000 buses and operates the Metrolink, LINK, North Star, Go West and Waka Pacific bus services in Auckland and Go Wellington and Valley Flyer bus services in Wellington.

• NZ Bus works with various stakeholders such as NZTA, Auckland Transport, regional councils and cycle advocacy groups to make New Zealand roads safer.

ENDS

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