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Call for Urgent Action Following Cyclist Deaths

Call for Urgent Action Following Deaths Of Cyclists

*The Cycling Advocates Network (CAN) has called for urgent action following the deaths of three cyclists this weekend.*

CAN spokesperson Patrick Morgan says news of the deaths has highlighted the need for New Zealand's roads to be made safer for people cycling and those wanting to take it up.

"There are Government strategies and programmes to promote cycling and cycle safety, but we haven't seen enough changes on the street yet."

"Urgent action is needed. This will require a lot more resources and leadership to make changes."

In 2008 CAN presented a 3,500-signature petition and 9-point plan to the Government calling for action on improving safety for people on bikes.

"Cycling is a healthy sport and a convenient way to get from A to B, but these crashes highlight that we're not doing nearly enough to make our roads, drivers and vehicles safer," says Mr Morgan.

"We renew our call for national and local government do the following things in the next two years:"

1.Run a national Share the Road promotional campaign telling motorists and cyclists how to co-exist safely on the roads.

2.Change transport planning and funding processes to make sure key problem areas or gaps for cyclists (e.g. Auckland Harbour Bridge, Petone to Wellington cycleway) get fixed - no more delays or buck-passing between various organisations.

3.Spend less on road building and more on encouraging alternatives to driving. More motor vehicles on our roads only make things less safe and attractive for cycling.

4.Promote the use of lower speed zones, particularly 30km/h in residential and shopping streets.

5.Change the tolerance for motor vehicle speed limit enforcement from 10km/h to a maximum of ten per cent of the posted speed limit.

6.Increase the cycling budget in the National Land Transport Programme by a factor of five.

7.Change funding and audit processes to make sure that all roading projects improve the environment for cycling.

8.Change the driver licensing system and driver instruction so motorists are educated about how to take care around cyclists.

9.Fund and promote nationwide roll-out of cycle skills training for children and adults.

Mr Morgan says the Government and many local authorities have cycling strategies and programmes, but actual changes are taking far too long to put in place.

These require much greater resources and the will to act on existing commitments.

The Ministry of Transport's Household Travel Survey 2003 - 2006 shows there are about 1.3 million cyclists in New Zealand (about 30% of the population) making it one of the country's most popular sporting and leisure pursuits.

Patrick Morgan, tel 027 563 4733 patrick@can.org.nz Cycling Advocates Network www.can.org.nz

ends

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