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School Speed Legislators Still on the Wrong Track

School Speed Legislators Still on the Wrong Track

Last week the Green Party announced a new policy to make walking and cycling to school safer, with a proposal to invest $200 million in new transport infrastructure based on where possible separating cyclists from trafc.

‘It’s only tinkering’ says Lucinda Rees of New Zealand School Speeds. the Christchurch-based organisation which is campaigning for a law that slows drivers to a consistent national speed limit of 30km/h outside all schools when children are coming and going.

‘We should get the basics right rst all over the country. That would make every school crossing a lot safer, before any funding is handed to local councils, and help drivers stay within the law.

'The $200 million would only help a select few children. Throughout the country there are schools where speeds of up to 100km/h are within the law. The World Health Organisation recommends speed limits of no more than 30km/h outside schools, yet here the lowest speed limit for schools is usually 40km/h and that only in cities.'

The ‘suggested' passing distance of 1.5 metres between cars and cycles is also unrealistic, says Rees. 'With or without a law some drivers will continue to give a 0 metre gap to cyclists. Even if $200 million is spent on the exclusive separate cycleways there will still be plenty of children who have no access to them.

'Until there is a law that keeps drivers a safe distance from cyclists with a minimum of 1 metre most parents will still be reluctant to let their children cycle.

‘I think that any revenue derived from nes collected from drivers who break the laws, should go back into road safety.'

Consistent laws are the missing link, says Rees. The introduction of a nationally-applied school-time 30km/h law should be a priority. Then spend the $200 million to take safety levels even higher, she says.

'The Green Party wants to set a target of getting more than 50 percent of kids walking or cycling to school by 2020’ she says. ‘Their intentions are good, but it’s glaringly obvious that the 30km/h and a safe passing gap for cyclists should be applied rst.'


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