Share the road this Summer
ARTA Media Release
29 November 2009
Share the road this Summer
More cyclists will be on Auckland roads this summer enjoying the warmer weather and improved cycling infrastructure, and transport agencies have teamed up with cycling and motorist groups in a united ‘Share the Road’ campaign to encourage safer road user behaviour between cyclists and motorists. The campaign will officially be launched in Auckland tomorrow.
Councillor Christine Rose, Regional Transport Committee Chair, and spokesperson for the campaign says, “Driving can be a stressful and challenging experience and with cyclists in the mix extra tensions often arise. Equally, cyclists are very vulnerable and the road can be a scary place if you don’t have the protective shell of a car body. That is why encouraging mutual respect and appreciation between car and bike users through the ‘Share the Road’ campaign is so important.”
The NZ Transport Agency also recognises the benefits of cycling for commuting, congestion reduction, and recreation in Auckland and has allocated nearly half of the national Walking and Cycling budget to the region, a total of 24.6 million over the next three years to 2012. Auckland NZ Transport Agency Director Wayne MacDonald says, “ We know that where safe cycling infrastructure has been put in place, cycling numbers have increased and this future investment will allow the completion of key parts of the regional cycle network as well as continue campaigns like ‘Share the Road’ that encourage safer road user behaviour.”
Between 1 and 2 cyclists are killed on Auckland roads each year and the trend is for more cyclists to be injured each year. Organisers of the campaign, RoadSafe Auckland, are keen to reduce the number of cyclists injured despite the increased numbers of cyclists on the roads. “Cyclists are legitimate road users entitled to mix with other traffic and while an extensive regional cycle network is planned and there has been great progress in developing dedicated cycle facilities, it is not feasible to build an entirely separate cycle network, so the campaign is focusing on two key behaviour messages to encouraging safer motorist and cyclist behaviour”, says Ms Rose.
The campaign is being welcomed by the Automobile Association and Cycle Action Auckland as it balances two key safety messages ‘Be Safe Be Seen’ aimed at cyclists, and ‘Give Bikes 1.5m’ aimed at motorists.
Simon Lambourne, Auckland transport spokesperson for the Automobile Association says, “The campaign provides an excellent reminder to motorists to take care around cyclists on the road. Looking out for cyclists and giving cyclists more room while overtaking are two simple measures that motorists can do to help improve road safety for cyclists and themselves.”
The campaign reinforces that motorists and cyclists are subject to the same road code meaning that cyclists have to observe the rules and courtesies expected of motorised vehicles on the road and in turn, they need to be treated with similar respect by motorists.
Barbara Cuthbert, Cycle Action Auckland spokesperson says, “It is great to see more cyclists on the roads as cycling is fun, efficient, good for you, and frees up congested streets. But safety is a concern, so we hope that this campaign helps raise motorist awareness while also reinforcing the importance for cyclists to ensure they are visible to motorists.”
The campaign builds on previous RoadSafe Auckland ‘Share the Road’ campaigns and is being promoted using motorway off-ramp billboards, bus back billboards and promotional web banner advertising.
“The campaign messages will be promoted across the region for the next four months including Bikewise month in February 2010. We look forward to more cyclists using the road network, particularly where safe infrastructure has been put in place, and we encourage all cyclists to have a safe bike and helmet, gain cycling skills and to plan their cycle routes carefully”, says Ms Rose.