An MP surveying attitudes on mandatory high-viz

An MP surveying attitudes on mandatory high-viz

Bike Auckland

Hazard QueryWe have been told that Katrina Shanks, a National List MP from Wellington, is surveying various cycling groups in her area about whether high-viz should be mandatory for cycling. She doesn’t say whether she has a particular stance on the area, and simply invites a “yes” or “no” answer – and any further comments you might want to add.

If you would like to contact her with your opinion, please contact her at this email. The survey we saw was via paper mail, but we are sure she’ll take emails into consideration too.

CAA’s response was:

We understand you are currently surveying the attitudes of cyclists and cycling groups about the proposal by a coroner to require mandatory high-visibility clothing for cyclists.

Representing Cycle Action Auckland, a group advocating for better cycle conditions – whether for sport, leisure, family or commuting cycling – we believe that mandating high visibility clothing would be a negative step. It would emphasise the perception that cycling in general is a dangerous activity that one should require specific protective gear for. This contradicts the experience of many countries where cycling is an accepted mainstream transport mode with no mandatory requirements*. Like walking.

* [except brakes and lights on the bike itself of course, which is only sensible]

We believe that mandating high-visibility clothing would be an extremely blunt tool, and would actually harm cyclist safety – next to providing better cycling infrastructure, few things are as beneficial to the safety of the individual cyclist as having higher average cycle numbers. The “safety in numbers effect” has been well-researched, and is particularly important in countries that currently still have low cycle numbers, as cycling safety improves significantly as cycling moves above 2-3% of the mode share. As numbers rise to 4-5% percent and above, per person injuries drop markedly.

Therefore, anything that discourages cycling uptake could actually make cycling more dangerous for everyone not discouraged.

Friendly regards

Cycle Action Auckland

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