To the Parliamentary Committee-
Cycle Advocates Network (CAN) is the national umbrella organisation for all cyclists with an emphasis on advocating for everyday utility and commuting cycling, as well as cycle tourism. The vision of CAN is “more people on bikes more often”.
Dear Transport and Industrial Relations Committee,
CAN welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Petition of Jo Clendon which calls for younger cyclists to be permitted by law to use footpaths.
CAN has a draft policy on footpath cycling which is posted online here. This policy calls for under-12s to be allowed cycle on footpaths, for education about controlling your vehicle when cross- ing footpaths, and for an 8 km/h speed limit for cyclists on footpaths.
In August, CAN issued a request for feedback to our Members by direct email and through social media. Over 60 considered written responses were received.
A considerable majority of CAN Members who replied supported the policy as written. A very small minority disagreed in principle with allowing footpath cycling in any form. Certain issues were raised repeatedly-
1. Change in policy or road rules must not deflect energy or resources from providing for cy- cling on-road; if increased footpath cycling is permitted, widespread public education regard- ing cyclists’ right to be on the road is needed;
2. Enforcement of cyclist behaviour on footpaths, particularly among children, needs careful consideration. CAN Members supported a speed limit of 8 km/h but noted the challenges in enforcement/ education.
3. Reversing manoeuvres onto footpaths present increased risk. The draft policy recommendation to conduct a safety campaign which would educate motorists on safe ways of accessing/departing driveways was vigorously endorsed by Members. Other suggestions included-
3.1 Suggest examining the possibility of requiring motorists to reverse into driveways rather than out.
3.2 Suggest examining the possibility of regulating heights of fences adjacent to reverse-out drives;
4. Some Members felt footpaths could be used for cycling in other limited cases (e.g. elderly, adults where on-road routes are hostile).
The issue of cycling on footpaths is a complex and controversial topic needing widespread consultation and careful consideration. There is a legal, cultural and educational context which may affect - or be affected by- any changes in existing practice, and this must be kept in mind. Making the roads safe for all ages of cyclist while improving the environment for pedestrians must remain the priority for New Zealand’s transport system.
Will Andrews (CAN Committee)