I returned from Tuesday’s NZTA’s Cycle Safety Summit in Wellington buoyed up by spending the day with extremely motivated and informed people from across the transport sector – AA, Road Transport Forum, IPENZ, etc plus all the expected groups who, like Cycle Action, work on a daily basis to improve cycling in NZ.
It was a very productive day. I can honestly report that the hard work from all of you who posted comments on our blog and sent me more detailed emails was not wasted. Your ideas were put up for discussion, and will be considered by the Expert Panel, whose work is now underway. Thank you all again for making the time.
The NZTA team who ran the day did a superb job preparing for the Summit, and it paid dividends. Crucially, they ensured we had all the right people in the room. Equally vital – the summit format ensured we all had time make strong contributions. Thanks, NZTA, for your commitment to do everything possible to make this a ground breaking project.
Hasting’s Owen Mata (who leads the Model Community programme for walking and cycling) was a highlight of the day.
He calmly reported on the stunning result his city and New Plymouth have achieved in just 3 years in reversing public attitudes to cycling safety. Opinion polls at the outset showed 70% of Hastings residents considered (lack of) safety on the city’s roads to be a barrier to cycling.
3 years later Owen reports that 70% of residents now consider cycling to be safe.
Imagine if we could do that in Auckland!
AT’s March 2013 survey on cycling attitudes found that 59% cite safety concerns about Auckland’s roads as a barrier to cycling. There is no reason to expect this has changed in the past year.
Auckland is a far larger urban area, with major traffic densities and more complex in geography and topography. However, these results from Hastings and New Plymouth show that with money, infrastructure delivery, major cycling promotions and political commitment, public confidence to cycle more is able to be won in a relatively short time.