New Zealanders and tourists deserve safe and pleasant cycling conditions - what are the most important and urgent focus areas to achieve this?
Following an internal review by CAN's Committee and Staff in late 2009, three major messages/campaigns have been decided upon for promoting in the coming year and beyond...
1. Safer traffic speeds
Reducing traffic speeds makes cycling safer and encourages more people to take it up. All over the world, traffic speeds are being reduced to 30-40km/h in urban areas and 60-80km/h on rural roads.
This initiative will particularly focus on lower speeds on local streets, near schools, and near other busy activity centres (e.g. shops, universities, recreational areas). This initiative could include: development of speed limit setting guidelines, encouraging local area traffic management, research/media material identifying the benefits of lower speed zones.
See CAN's guidance on Implementing slower speed limits.
2. Share with care
There is a need for all road (or path) users to better understand the needs of others, respect the rights of others, and to demonstrate good skills and behaviour. This is particularly important so that people driving and riding can safely co-exist on the roads.
This initiative could include: "1.5m space" campaigns, practical motorist education on interacting with cyclists (e.g. not cutting off, squeezing past, speeding, etc), implementing cycle skills training, media material countering the various "cyclist vs motorist" (mis)perceptions.
See information about the CAN/BikeNZ "Safer Cyclng" programme.
3. Invest in a Winner
Research shows that economic productivity increases in those regions with more balanced transport systems. Improved public transport, walking and cycling reduce the inefficiencies of traffic congestion, road building and parking costs, crash and pollution damages, and the cost burden of our oil imports. Given the substantial economic benefits of investment in the active modes, local/national walking and cycling budgets should be significantly increased.
Priorities for cycling investment include:
- providing generous shoulders on main routes, particularly where there are no quiet road alternatives
- integration of cycling with public transport
- expanding the cycle networks
- fixing key gaps or danger spots
This initiative could include: NZ research/policy work investigating economic effects of cycling investment, media material highlighting the economic benefits of cycling investment, identifying low-cost ways to improve cycling provision, demonstration funding of significant cycle-friendly investment (e.g. Model Communities), and ultimately increased walk/cycle investment across a range of sectors (transport, tourism, health, etc).
A lot of the actual work to make these initiatives happen of course ultimately needs to be done by central and local Government. However there are a number of activities that CAN will do to act as a catalyst:
- Develop and finalise CAN policies related to these three initiatives.
- Produce media releases highlighting the key messages of these initiatives.
- Promote key messages of these initiatives prominently on our website and in ChainLinks magazine.
- Develop key messages, action templates and background info/research for local groups to use to lobby their own local Councils/agencies on these issues.
- Discuss with Living Streets Aotearoa, BikeNZ and other road user groups about cooperating on common campaigns and representations in these areas.
- Arrange meetings with relevant central agencies to discuss what needs to be done to implement these initiatives further.
Feedback on these initiatives is welcomed - contact the Chair.