Update from the NZ Cycling Safety Project

Thanks to Ernst Zollner (NZTA’s leader for the Cycling Safety Project) and  the Project’s Expert Panel’s Chair, Richard Leggatt, for their recent progress report. Key points from the report are summarised here:

Expert Panel photo May 2014

  • A highly productive day was held on 15 April in Wellington when the Expert Panel gained valuable insights and information from the 30 strong Reference Group. Since then the Panel has met twice; once as a day and a half work session.
  • The Panel’s core task is to provide recommendations on how on-road cycling safety outcomes can be improved. A secondary objective/consequence is to consider way to increase cycling, as evidence supports the view that increased cycling is likely to reduce an individual’s cycling accident risk.
  • First off, the Panel has identified the issues contributing to cycling accidents. We are using three categories to identify issues – Rural, Urban and Schools. We believe the issues and potential solutions in each of the categories will have some similarities, but also sufficient differences that they are worth considering separately.
  • Our recommendations will draw from the input of the Reference Group, but also be supported by evidence.  Eg, data suggests up to 70% of rural accidents have occurred where the road shoulder has been non-existent or minimal, whereas for urban accidents intersections and cycle/car turning are key risks rather than shoulder width. We are also finding the Safe System approach a useful framework: www.saferjourneys.govt.nz
  • Our next step is to look at solutions that will improve on-road cycling safety and increase cycling uptake. We will use fatality and serious cycle injury rates – as measured by hospital admissions- as our key measurement. Complementing this measure we will also monitor cycle usage and cycle safety perceptions.

The Panel intends to have draft recommendations ready to distribute to the Reference Group by the end of July, and will call another summit with the Reference Group (in August) to discuss, refine and hopefully agree the recommendations that will be presented to the Minister in September.

It’s too early to provide any detail on the Panel draft recommendations, but a few key issues include the following

  • shoulder width and quality on rural and semi-rural roads
  • no cycle light standards
  • a lack of connected cycle networks in urban areas
  • inconsistent delivery of cycle skills instruction and a lack of coordination between cycle skills instruction and improving local infrastructure to make it more cycle friendly

Cycle Action is a member of the Reference Group.  April’s summit was a good gathering to share experience and knowledge, so I’m forward to July’s session with the Expert Panel and other members of the Reference Group.

In the meantime, remember you can send comments to: cyclingsafetypanel@nzta.govt.nz

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