Cycling deaths on New Zealand roads at 25 year low, initial figures show

The Island Bay Cycleway is an example of the kind of infrastructure needed to keep cyclists safe Patrick Morgan says.
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

The Island Bay Cycleway is an example of the kind of infrastructure needed to keep cyclists safe Patrick Morgan says.

Five cyclists died on the roads in 2016 - the lowest annual number recorded in 25 years, latest road toll figures show.

The Cycling Action Network hailed the preliminary figures as "encouraging". 

CAN spokesperson Patrick Morgan said the decline was a reflection of more people riding and becoming accustomed to cyclists.

Cycling Advocates Network project manager Patrick Morgan.
ROSS GIBLIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Cycling Advocates Network project manager Patrick Morgan.

He said the government needed to be more ambitious in improving road safety but praised Simon Bridges as the best Minister of Transport for cyclists.

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Over the past 25 years about 12 cyclists died on the roads each year. 

A new 30km/h speed limit is enforced within the Christchurch city.
DEAN KOZANIC/ FAIRFAX NZ

A new 30km/h speed limit is enforced within the Christchurch city.

There were six cyclist deaths last year and 10 in 2014.

"It is really encouraging, the numbers appear to be moving in the right direction," Morgan said.

He said it was too early to say if improved infrastructure had positively impacted safety for cyclists and said dedicated cycling infrastructure was still in its infancy.

Cycling Action Network's Patrick Morgan, from Wellington.
SUPPLIED

Cycling Action Network's Patrick Morgan, from Wellington.

As more people take up cycling on New Zealand roads, more ambitious government projects for safe cycling would be needed, he said.

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But he praised the transport minister's program for creating new urban cycleways.

"There has never been a better Minister of Transport for cycling than Simon Bridges." 

Morgan identified four areas where safety improvements were needed, including creating more protected cycleways; better designed intersections; educating drivers and cyclists and setting safer speed limits through neighbourhoods.

A New Zealand Transport Agency spokesperson said  where possible new cycling infrastructure around the country is being separated from other traffic.

Across New Zealand the central and local governments are rolling out the Urban Cycleways Programme which provides $333 million of new cycle projects between 2014-2018. 

"This is the single biggest investment in cycling in New Zealand's history," the spokesperson said.

"We want people to be able to choose how they get around and to feel safe." 

 

 

 - Stuff

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