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Time for Govt to fund cycle lanes to protect cyclists

Time for Govt to fund cycle lanes to protect cyclists

The Green Party is challenging the Government to come up with some real solutions to make cycling safe.

The Green Party believes Associate Transport Minister Michael Woodhouse was right to reject some of the coroner’s safety recommendations in relation to the death of Police Superintendent Steve Fitzgerald but has yet to step up and fund the cycle lanes needed to protect people who cycle.

“Compulsory wearing of high visibility clothing and use of cycle lanes no matter what their condition are two recommendations that are not particularly helpful for securing the safety of people who cycle,” said Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter today.

“Michael Woodhouse is right to highlight the current poor condition of urban cycle lanes. He is the one, however, in the best position to start funding the construction of safe, separated cycle lanes.

“The Government is missing a huge opportunity for cycling to be a serious, cost effective transport option for short trips. More than half of peak hour trips in New Zealand are less than 5 kilometres – a distance that can be easily cycled by most of us.

“Surveys show many New Zealanders want to cycle more, but they don't feel safe.

“It would cost a tiny fraction of the National Government’s $13 billion spend on motorways to co-fund the building of safe cycling infrastructure throughout New Zealand.

“For example, a safe cycling route between Wellington and Lower Hutt – the route Steve Fitzgerald was killed on – has languished for years from lack of funding from the National Government.

“A minimum passing distance law would also help motorists understand how to overtake bicycles and other slow moving vehicles safely.

“Cycling is good for people and has substantial flow on health and congestion benefits. It can bring our towns and cities back to life.

“The huge revival of interest in cycling means it deserves to be funded more than the current funding of less than one percent of the Government’s total transport budget,” said Ms Genter.

ends

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