Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Cut Traffic Speeds To Reduce Pressure On Hospitals, Say Cycling Advocates

It’s time to lower traffic speeds to reduce crashes and free up hospital beds, say cycling advocates.

"This will reduce harm and ease the burden on our health workers and emergency services," says Patrick Morgan from Cycling Action Network. "Sadly, traffic crashes are a leading cause of hospitalisation in New Zealand."

"We're calling on the Government to take action now to save lives."

Although there's much less traffic, some travel far too fast.

Why now?

The unprecedented changes we are going through during the pandemic shows how fast people can adapt. In the face of deadly risk, we are working together to prioritise safety and wellbeing, he says. "This jolt to our habitual lifestyles is a huge opportunity to deliver urgent changes that used to be agonisingly slow."

With most people staying at home, as they should, streets are quiet. Birdsong is noticeable and delightful. The air is cleaner.

"People making fewer journeys in cars is a good thing. But when streets have less traffic, this does not translate into a safer environment for people walking and riding bikes. Wide empty streets invite drivers to increase their speeds."

If the point of the nationwide rāhui is to reduce strain on our health system, New Zealand should immediately cut speed limits - to 80 kmh on open roads and 30 kmh on city streets..

Reducing speeds nationwide would kick start health benefits for all New Zealanders. It would be a strong catalyst for enacting the central principles of the vision zero road safety strategy. And hopefully we will see a sustained reduction in car use.

There are compelling health benefits from safe traffic speeds. Making roads more comfortable for people who choose not to drive should be used as a broad, cost-effective strategy. If more of us choose to walk, scoot and bike we can have neighbourhoods that suffer less air pollution. We’ll be fitter, wealthier people enjoying stronger connected communities and enhanced well being. Cutting traffic is an essential part of a strong climate action response.

The lockdown means many people are in sudden financial strife. Reducing car dependency is an effective way to reduce living costs.

We deserve safe streets. The impact of road trauma on our health system is enormous. Even if traffic crashes are reduced during the lockdown, it would be unacceptable to see road deaths and injuries rebound afterwards.

We need our leaders to direct people to reduce driving speeds during the rāhui. People should expect roads will be used in different ways during this time.

People of all ages and abilities should be able to travel and exercise safely on public streets. There simply isn’t enough space on footpaths to permit required physical distancing, so people are walking on the street. .

"There should at the very least be official messaging for people to keep their driving speeds much lower," says Mr Morgan.

And we should hope they will stay lower forever. We’ll all be better off.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Covid-19: Auckland Back To Alert Level Three After One New Community Case Revealed

Auckland will move to alert level three for a week at 6am tomorrow morning after two new Covid-19 community cases announced this evening could not be directly linked to earlier cases, the Prime Minister has confirmed.
The rest of the country will move to level two.... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Rivals For The Covid Saliva Testing Dollar

If you want a good insight into what the limits of tiny, barely discernible steps to reduce poverty actually look like, delve into the latest Statistics Department figures on poverty in New Zealand Most of the nine measures utilised reveal little or no progress in combatting poverty over the 21 months to March 2020... More>>


Government: Main Benefits To Increase In Line With Wages

All measures of child poverty were trending downwards, prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, across the two years since year ended June 2018, Stats NZ said today. The COVID-19 lockdown in late March 2020 affected Stats NZ’s ability to collect data from households ... More>>

Government: Reserve Bank To Take Account Of Housing In Decision Making

The Reserve Bank is now required to consider the impact on housing when making monetary and financial policy decisions, Grant Robertson announced today. Changes have been made to the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee’s remit requiring it to take into ... More>>


RNZ: Alert Levels Remain

There are no new community cases of Covid-19 today, the Ministry of Health has confirmed.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says at least half of the Papatoetoe High School community have been tested and the results that have come through so far have all been negative... More>>


NZ Initiative: New Report Highlights How Our Housing Crisis Could Worsen If We Don’t Act Now

If New Zealand politicians thought the housing crisis in 2020 was bad, the worst is yet to come, warns a new report by The New Zealand Initiative. In The Need to Build: The demographic drivers of housing demand , Research Assistant Leonard Hong ... More>>

Parliament: Kiwi MPs Among The “Most Educated In The World”

New analysis of MP qualifications reveals New Zealand’s Parliament is one of the most educated and highest qualified in the world, and significantly more educated than Australia’s. The research, by Mark Blackham of BlacklandPR and Geoffrey Miller ... More>>

The Dig: An Illogical Ideological Struggle

Dig beneath all the trade wars and the arguments to the effect that the USA should not permit China to achieve economic and technological superiority, or even parity, and you find the real reason behind the conflict... More>>

Travel: Government Eases Visa Restrictions For Visitors In New Zealand

Visitor visa holders will be able to stay in New Zealand a little longer as the Government eases restrictions for those still here, the Minister of Immigration has announced. More>>




InfoPages News Channels