Kiwi kids should be allowed to cycle on footpath - NZTA video

RNZ

A report prepared for the Transport Agency suggests children under 12 years old should be allowed to cycle on footpaths.

A Lower Hutt mother is one step closer to achieving her goal of allowing children to cycle on the footpath, thanks to a New Zealand Transport Agency report.

Parliament is currently considering a petition from Lower Hutt woman Jo Clendon to allow children and accompanying adults, to cycle on footpaths as a safer option than riding on the road.

Now a report from NZTA has supported a move towards young children using the footpath as a cycleway.

NZTA has recommended a law change to allow children under 12 to cycle on footpaths - but that's not pleasing everyone.
SIMON EDWARDS/FAIRFAX NZ

NZTA has recommended a law change to allow children under 12 to cycle on footpaths - but that's not pleasing everyone.

The NZTA-commissioned research, carried out by  Abley Transportation Consultants and Mackie Research, concluded: "On balance, a rule permitting footpath cycling for those aged 12 and under (and accompanying adults) has merit."

READ MORE:
Cycling mum wants better facilities for cyclists
Parliament considering whether Kiwi children be allowed to bike on the footpath
Petition calls for change to allow children to ride on footpaths

The report said it was safer for children to ride on the footpath asd their cognitive processing didn't mature until about 12.

Experienced adult cyclists often had to move to the footpath at some point in a journey due to the nature of New Zealand ...

Experienced adult cyclists often had to move to the footpath at some point in a journey due to the nature of New Zealand roads. But any law change should not include allowing adults to ride on footpaths, the report says.

"It would also allow safe footpath cycling to be proactively taught to younger cyclists, with clear expectations of pedestrian priority reinforced, and from a safety perspective it would likely benefit both child cyclists and pedestrians."

Many young cyclists did not realise footpath cycling was illegal, and often cycled on the footpath. But due to the current law, cycle skills trainers could not openly reinforce safe footpath cycling. 

While the report recommended children 12 and under, and their accompanying adult, be able to ride on the footpath, the law should not be changed to include all adults.

"By not allowing adults to legally ride on the footpath, a continued focus on fit-for-purpose on-road cycling infrastructure is more likely...

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"It would also potentially encourage the design of safer footpath/driveway interfaces, which would also benefit joggers, mobility scooters, mobility trikes, and children on push scooters."

At the moment, even experienced, adult cyclists often had to revert to cycling on the footpath for a portion of their trip due to the unsuitability of some New Zealand roads.

While cycling campaigners supported the move, Grey Power, Living Streets Aotearoa and Blind Citizens NZ stated their opposition to the proposed law change during a Select Committee hearing last year, citing pedestrian safety concerns.

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