New Zealanders Mourn the Future Fallen

New Zealanders Mourn the Future Fallen

Sue Cardwell

Four people in black stand before the cenotaph on a sunny winter afternoon

Bike Auckland and Cycling Action Network media release

Key points

  • Bike Auckland and Cycling Action Network held memorial ceremonies in Auckland and Wellington today to Mourn the Future Fallen.
  • The Future Fallen are lives that will be cut short or ruined by traffic incidents.
  • The Government is increasing speed limits under the new “Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits Rule 2024”, often called the Speed Rule.
  • On roads where safer speeds have been implemented, deaths and serious injuries have reduced, with around 80 Aucklanders alive and well today because of them.
  • New Zealanders are urged to inform themselves about the Speed Rule and have their say before consultation closes next Thursday 11 July.

“The pain of losing a family member needlessly to a crash is indescribable. No one should have to go through that. In a just world, no one should have their life destroyed by a serious injury. But around 55 more of us will die or be seriously injured in the next two years if speed limits are increased. A serious injury is a life forever changed and the same for the family and friends around that person.”

These powerful words came from Karen Hormann, Bike Auckland’s Chair. Bike Auckland has advocated for safer streets for those walking, scooting and cycling for over 25 years, and in that time, has organised memorial rides for those killed on bikes. It’s a heartbreaking experience for Hormann and her colleagues:

“We’re here today for tragedies we know are going to happen – and we’re gutted that it’s in the power of our Government to stop them. Half of the casualties will be among those not in cars. Speed will determine how tragic those crashes are. There is no getting around the facts – speed kills. We’re here in solidarity with the families and communities which will pay a dear cost for the Government increasing speed limits.”

Organisers Bike Auckland and Cycle Action Network held the services at the War Memorials in Auckland and Wellington. Alex Dyer, Chair of Cycling Action Network, explains:

‘We are here with the utmost respect for what this place means. We feel it is fitting for our message today. The Minister for Transport Simeon Brown declared there was a “war on our cars”. In any war between cars and those in their way, sadly, the casualties are almost always those on foot and on bike. We don’t want a war, Minister, we just want to be able to walk, bike and even drive around our city safely.”

The atmosphere at the ceremonies was sombre, with mourners sharing their frustration and sorrow with dignity. Songwriters for Climate Action added their moving voices to the cause in Auckland, setting the tone for the event and drawing in passers-by. A gathering of people took a moment of silence, their heads bowed in respect. A heartfelt tribute, a child’s bike wheel adorned with flowers, was placed at the base of the cenotaph in each city.

Speed Rule – key facts

  • The Speed Rule:
    • Increases the speed limits for most types of roads.
    • Bans the evidence-based safe speed of 30kph in most urban places.
    • Forces councils to use variable speed limits at schools.
    • Bans the tailoring of speed limits for the geographical context.
    • Bans communities from making their own decisions on appropriate speeds.
  • While the Government claims economic benefits from this change, calculated trip time savings are close to negligible at between 2.2 and 14.2 seconds saved on the average trip.
  • New Zealanders can have their say until Thursday 11 July.

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