New Government urged to take action on road safety as support for Vision Zero increases
Advocates are calling on the new Government to take a fresh approach to road safety, as road deaths increase for the fourth year in a row.
Already this year 283 people have been killed.
A group of organisations has come together to call on Government and local authorities to adopt a Vision Zero approach to road safety – aiming for zero road deaths and serious injuries.
The calls come from Brake, the road safety charity, Cycling Action Network, NZ School Speeds, and Waitematā Local Board Chairperson Pippa Coom, and follow recent moves by some local authorities to embrace Vision Zero.
The organisations are welcoming the moves by Hamilton City Council and Waitematā Local Board to include a target of zero road deaths in their plans, and are urging the new Government and other local authorities to also adopt Vision Zero.
There has also been an increase in public support for Vision Zero measures. A petition set up by NZ School Speeds, ‘Go Dutch and Stop Child Murder’, which calls for 30km/h speed limits around schools and minimum passing gaps between vehicles and cyclists to help children get to and from school safely has gained over 4,000 signatures in a week. According to global best practice, places where high numbers of people on foot and bike mix with other traffic should have 30km/h speed limits.
Caroline Perry, Brake’s NZ director, said: “New Zealand needs to go beyond the current Safe System approach by aiming for Vision Zero. We must create a safe, sustainable, healthy and fair transport system for everyone.”
She says Vision Zero is a proven strategy to bring down the road toll and ultimately bring an end to road deaths and serious injuries.
“At its core is the principle that life and health can never be exchanged for other benefits within society.
“Vision Zero aims to change how governments, organisations, and people approach road safety. A core message is that there are no ‘accidents’. Crashes have causes that are preventable. Working with bereaved families, we see the devastating consequences of crashes. We need action now to reduce our road toll. This approach is reducing road deaths abroad and it’s vital we have it in New Zealand and show that the only acceptable number of deaths on the road is zero.”
Patrick Morgan, Cycling Action Network said: “Safety is no accident. It's time we moved beyond the Safe System approach, which has failed. With road deaths increasing again this year, we need to adopt Vision Zero, to protect people.”
Lucinda Rees, NZ School Speeds, said: “Make roads safer with consistent and safe lower speed limits so that all can travel safely, and children have the opportunity to journey to school on foot or bike. Action is needed now.”
Pippa Coom, Chairperson of the Waitematā Local Board said: “For too long politicians and transport planners have accepted road fatalities are inevitable. We urgently need a new approach that is proven to work.”
Organisations and individuals with an interest in Vision Zero are urged to find out more and get involved by contacting the organisations above, or going to https://www.facebook.com/groups/VisionZeroforNZ/.
Media enquiries: contact Caroline Perry, tel 021 407 953.
Notes to Editors
Total road deaths in NZ by year:
2016 - 328
2015 - 319
2014 - 293
2013 - 253
Cycling Action Network: Patrick Morgan tel 027 563 4733, www.can.org.nz
NZ School Speeds: www.facebook.com/NZSchoolSpeeds
Go Dutch and Stop Child Murder Petition: https://www.change.org/p/nz-minister-of-transport-go-dutch-and-stop-child-murder
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.