Cyclists are upset that proposed changes to New Zealand's unique 'Give Way' rules have been dropped by the Government.

The Government has made decisions on the incoming 'Road User Rule'. Controversially, the proposed changes to New Zealand's unique 'Give Way' rules have been excluded.

Jane Dawson, spokesperson for the Cycling Advocates Network (CAN), said that CAN was disappointed about the Governments' decision.

"Decision making processes at intersections are far too complex. Many motorists don't cope with the multitude of things that they have to look out for when having to Give Way, and it is often cyclists and pedestrians who get overlooked, and who become the victims."

The existing Give Way rules are one of the main reasons for the complexity at intersections. "Think about motorists intending to turn left at traffic lights. They have to give way to opposing right turners. But they check over their right shoulder if someone, to whom the opposing right turner would then have to give way, is overtaking them. At the same time, the motorist must also look over their left shoulder, as parallel pedestrians have right of way. Information-overload for them, resulting in mistakes."

The previously proposed changes would have greatly simplified the decision-making process. Left turners would have only had to check over their left shoulder to see whether they have to give way to parallel cyclists or pedestrians.

"The previously proposed 'Give Way' rule changes were first promoted to transportation professionals at a Timaru conference in 1997. But the decision was made back then to defer the changes for implementation with the 'Road User Rule'."

The Land Transport Safety Authority (LTSA) predicted a lowering of the overall crash rate by 2% to 3% with the previously proposed changes. "Any deferral of the changes will result in unnecessary injuries and suffering." said Ms Dawson.

Simplifying decision making at intersections is important - most cycle crashes occur at intersections (63% according to LTSA figures in Road Safety May 2004) and in two thirds of those involving motor vehicles the driver is at fault.


For further comment contact: Jane Dawson, Cycling Advocates Network, 04-382 2738 or 04-972 2552 -- Jane Dawson Cycling Advocates' Network of NZ Inc. PO Box 6491, Auckland, NZ Tel/Fax: +64-4-972 2552

Release Date: 
Friday, 6 August, 2004