Six reasons for safer speeds – besides saving lives

Mar 28, 2019
Six reasons for safer speeds – besides saving lives

Bike Auckland

The safer speeds bylaw consultation closes on Sunday 31 March – please submit in support!

Use the button below to go straight to the feedback page and express your support safer speeds. Also, feel free to mention anywhere you’d like to see safer speed limits in place. 30kmh school zones? Your street? Your neighbourhood? Go for it!


You can also use this map to drop a pin – that counts as feedback too.


There’s been lots of great coverage of why this is so important for our city, most of which has rightly led with the need to save lives and reduce injuries (see for example our piece over at The Spinoff). The rise in deaths and serious injuries on our streets is awful. This is a crucial moment – and an effective way – to turn that around.

We need more humane streets, now. And it’s good to remember that safer speeds will bring a whole host of other benefits. More welcoming streets lead to healthier and better connected communities for people of all ages. Ultimately, we’re not just aiming for a survivable city, but a truly liveable one. Hey, even a lovable one!

So here are six bonus reasons to support safer speeds, beyond saving life and limb.

1. Bring on the bikes!

As the sweet spot for both feeling and being safe around vehicle traffic, 30kmh zones open the door for people who’d be keen to ride round their neighbourhood if it didn’t feel so dangerous.

Case in point – after Berlin introduced 30km streets, the city experienced a bike boom:

It was the 30-km/h speed limit that got people riding bikes, and because people were riding the council provided infrastructure. Turning Berlin into a cycling city was an unintended by-product of comprehensively lowering the urban speed limit.

The virtuous cycle this delivers isn’t just about more cycling infrastructure. Every bike trip is one less car trip, and you can park a heck of lot more bikes than cars at the local supermarket. Suddenly the school run and the grocery shop become more flexible, more efficient, and healthier for everyone involved.

A strong sign of a healthy local transport ecosystem: the classic dairy-bike combo, popping up across town – and with traffic-calmed neighbourhoods, we’ll see more of this.

2. It’s basic health and safety

As you travel around the city, take note of how often we’re asked to drop our speeds to 30kmh for the health and safety of people working alongside the road. This is right and proper. But wouldn’t it be great if every one of us deserved the same degree of care and protection?

One block from a primary school, a temporary 30kmh zone on a quiet side street to protect the workers trimming the trees. Wouldn’t it be great if this were a permanent feature? 

3. Self-transporting children

The parental holy grail! With slower neighbourhood traffic, more families will feel empowered to walk and bike to school, to local attractions, to playdates, shops, and sports. This will help kids rediscover the joy and confidence of independently navigating their world. Next thing you know, you’re hanging up your chauffeur cap.

(This is also why we advocate making school zones 30kmh zones – something you can add to your feedback.)

Just some of the many kids learning to ride in Mangere, who deserve safer streets so they can ride to school, not just at school. (Image: Triple Teez)

4. Hear yourself think

Pavement dining is chic, but a background roar of traffic dulls the appetite as well as the eardrums. Slowing traffic from 50kmh to 30kmh along shopping streets drops the decibels, making for a calmer, more village-like vibe, plus you’ll be able to hear the latest goss and the daily special. And less noise pollution lowers stress in both busy areas and on peaceful streets.

Safer speeds will have a double payoff for these Point Chev bike train kids, making traffic quieter both literally and metaphorically. (Photo: Point Chevalier Cycle Train)

5. Pets that live to a blessed old age

Paddles, we hardly knew ye – and you’re sadly one of many. It’s a rare human who hasn’t lost a pet to traffic, or knows a close family member who has.

Slower speeds mean better reaction times when you encounter wandering stock beasties, or beloved pets. Everyone gets home safely.

That doggy in the window has the right idea, but should probably keep a closer eye on the road ahead.


6. Fall in love with your city again

We know that underneath all that traffic, Auckland’s pretty gorgeous. If we can shift our thinking from ‘drive it like you stole it’ to ‘drive like you live here’, we’ll experience the journey differently. In time, we might even become an example for the world. So let’s widen our focus, slow down, pay attention – and see what we’ve been missing.



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Bike Auckland is the non-profit organisation working to improve things for people on bikes. We’re a people-powered movement for a better region. We speak up for you – and the more of us there are, the stronger our voice!

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