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Cyclists Call For Lower Road Speeds

14 October 2004

For immediate use

Cyclists call for lower road speeds

National organisation the Cycling Advocates' Network (CAN) today supported a review of blanket open road speed limits, but said the upper speed limit should not be raised from 100 km/h.

CAN also called for speeds in many urban areas to be reduced to 30km/h, reinforced by traffic calming measures.

CAN spokesperson Robert Ibell said there are good safety and environmental reasons for lower speeds.

"Raising the open road speed limit would increase fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. That's the wrong way to go, with climate change already having an impact on New Zealand." said Mr Ibell.

"Lower speed limits would also help lower the road toll." said Mr Ibell. "Installing 30km/h zones in urban areas would significantly reduce the number and severity of crashes for pedestrians and cyclists, especially amongst children and the elderly."

"Review speed limits by all means," said Mr Ibell, "but review them downwards."


Supporting information

- "The probability of death for a pedestrian is five per cent if hit by a vehicle travelling at 32 km/h, 45% if hit by a vehicle travelling at 48 km/h and 85% if hit by a vehicle travelling at 64 km/h." (Down With Speed, ACC, 2000, p.27)

- "Child pedestrian and child cyclist accidents fell by 70 and 48 per cent respectively after the [20mph] schemes were installed, giving an overall reduction of 67 per cent for all child accidents. The reduction in accidents for all cyclists was 29 per cent." (Review of traffic calming schemes in 20 mph zones, TRL, UK, 1996)

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- "Encouraging slow drivers to speed up would lead to more crashes and injuries. Slow drivers could instead be encouraged to pull over at safe locations if they hold up traffic." (Down With Speed, ACC, 2000, p.23)

- "Fast drivers rather than slow drivers comprise the core safety problem, and encouraging all speeding drivers to slow down would have greater benefits for overall road safety than targeting the speed of slower drivers." (Down With Speed, ACC, 2000, p.23)

The Cycling Advocates' Network of NZ Inc. (CAN) is this country's national network of cycling advocate groups. It is a voice for all non-competitive cyclists - recreational, commuter and touring. We work with central government and local authorities, on behalf of cyclists, for a better cycling environment. We have affiliated groups and individual members throughout the country, and links with overseas cycling organisations. In addition, some national/regional/local government authorities, transportation consultancies, and cycle industry businesses are supporting organisations.


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