Some 2 years ago now, CAA submitted on the 10 year plan for road safety in New Zealand, the Safer Journey’s Strategy. We supported the high-level strategy of “safe systems” (i.e. safe roads and roadsides, safe speeds, safe vehicles and safe road use). But we were also disappointed that government saw walking and cycling as only a medium priority area.
Mmmh, what country is this safety strategy for, again? Surely not the one where fear of injury has been named in surveys as the prime factor why people won’t give cycling a go?
Well, cycling still remains only a “medium” priority. And when you read the Action Plan for the current 2 years, on cycling there still seems to be a strong focus on education (and a lot of it on education of cyclists), and not enough on infrastructure (where are our “safe roads and roadsides”, please?).
CAN, the umbrella organisation for cycling advocacy in NZ, also raised a number of key concerns with the current Action Plan.
Their submission particularly highlights the lack of progress on reducing speeds, and reducing alcohol limits. There are also interesting specific (but potentially very important) items like finally getting European-style regulations for “under-run protection” equipment on trucks (so cyclists are more likely to be shunted to the side rather than trapped under the wheels during accidents).
So do you feel cycling has gotten safer? Road fatalities in total have been dropping quite a bit over the last decade. Cycling fatalities have stayed roughly the same, at around 10 a year. With cycling growing, that could be argued as a small success. But until most everyday New Zealanders agree that it feels safe to ride, we won’t be there yet.