In November last year after a coronial review of 13 cycling deaths Coroner Gordon Matenga said

“The best recommendation I can make to improve cycling safety in this country and to prevent further cycling deaths, is to recommend that an expert panel, drawn from stakeholders with a unique interest and expertise in cycling and road safety, be established to consider the available evidence and together, recommend the way forward for safer cycling in New Zealand,”

He also said it is something that should be done by the NZTA to ensure that central government agencies were involved.

Today the NZTA have announced the panel

The NZ Transport Agency has selected a group of ten New Zealand-based experts to develop recommendations for making the country’s roads safer for cycling.
The Transport Agency was asked to convene the panel in response to the findings of a coronial review of cycling safety in New Zealand, released in November last year by Coroner Gordon Matenga.

NZ Transport Agency Director of Road Safety Ernst Zollner said the agency had canvassed the views of a wide range of stakeholders with expertise in cycling and road safety as part of the process of establishing the panel.

“There is a huge amount of passion and a great depth of knowledge on cycling and cycle safety in New Zealand. We’re looking to harness that passion and knowledge to encourage cycling as a transport choice by making it safer. This panel is tasked with developing a comprehensive and practical set of recommendations for central and local government to achieve that.”

The panel is expected to meet for the first time next month and will aim to deliver its recommendations by the end of September.

Mr Zollner said the Transport Agency and other members of the National Road Safety Management Group would also continue existing work to improve the safety of cyclists in New Zealand by investing in separated cycle paths, improving the safety of roads and roadsides, making intersections safer, reducing vehicle speeds in urban areas to reduce the risks that motor vehicles can pose to pedestrians and cyclists and promoting safe cycling through a range of education programmes.

The Transport Agency recently launched a Share the Road education and advertising campaign designed to personalise and humanise people cycling so that motorists see beyond the bike. More information is available via

New Zealand Cycle Safety Panel – Profiles

Richard Leggat (Chair)

Richard is the Chair of Bike NZ and the New Zealand Cycle Trail and is a board member of Education NZ, SnowSports NZ, NZ Post and Tourism NZ. Richard is an enthusiastic recreational cyclist and is actively involved in his children’s sport. Following an economics degree Richard worked for apparel manufacturer Lane Walker Rudkin before switching into the finance sector and working as a share broker initially in Christchurch, followed by four years in London and then Auckland.

Sarah Ulmer

Sarah is the first New Zealander to win an Olympic cycling gold medal, which she won in the individual pursuit at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, setting a world record. When she left Athens at the end of the Games, Ulmer held the Olympic title, the Olympic and world records, the Commonwealth Games title and the Commonwealth Games record for the 3000m individual pursuit. In mid-2011, it was announced that she would be the official ‘ambassador’ for the New Zealand Cycle Trail. In the 2005 New Year Honours, Ulmer was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to cycling.

Marilyn Northcotte

Marilyn has more than twenty years of involvement in cycle skills training, originally in Canada (CAN‐Bike I and II, Cycling Freedom) and has also trained in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Marilyn has developed and delivered cycle skills and road safety programmes for adults and children in a variety of settings and regularly undertakes work for councils, cycle advocacy groups, schools, holiday programmes, Police and community groups, as well as offering one‐to‐one training. Marilyn heads up the regional cycle skills training programme Pedal Ready.

Mike Noon

Mike joined the Automobile Association in September 2005 as General Manager Motoring Affairs. Mike started his career with Mobil Oil NZ where he held the position of Marketing and Communications Manager. Immediately prior to joining the AA, Mike worked as a consultant specialising in tourism, issue management and communications. Before that Mike worked with the Office of Tourism and Sport, and as its Director saw through the establishment of the Ministry of Tourism. Road safety is a particularly important issue for the AA, and it has lobbied strongly on issues like young driver training, cell phones, alcohol and drugs and road engineering.

Dr Hamish Mackie

Hamish is a human factors specialist with seventeen years of research and consultancy experience in a range of areas where the interaction between people, their surrounding environments and the things they use are important. Over the past eight years Hamish has focused on self-explaining roads, high risk intersections, school transport and other areas where a ‘human-centred’ perspective is essential.

Simon Kennett

Originally a power systems engineering officer, Simon helped to found ‘Kennett Brothers Ltd’ in 1993, a business devoted to cycling books, event management, trail design and construction, and strategy development. In 2004 he co-wrote and published ‘RIDE’ – a history of cycling in New Zealand. In 2007/08 he coordinated the Cycling Advocates’ Network networking project under contract to NZTA. Since 2009 Simon has been the Active Transport and Road Safety Coordinator at Greater Wellington Regional Council.

Dr Alexandra Macmillan

Alex is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Health at the University of Otago’s Department of Preventive and Social Medicine. She also holds an honorary senior research position at the Bartlett – University College London’s global faculty of the built environment. She trained in Medicine and is a Public Health Physician. Alex’s teaching and research focuses on the links between urban environments, sustainability and health. Her PhD included futures modelling of specific policies to successfully increase commuter cycling in Auckland. In London, she extended this work to understand the factors influencing trends in cycling in London and Dutch cities.

Professor Alistair Woodward

Alistair is Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. His first degree was in medicine and he undertook his postgraduate training in public health in the UK. He has a PhD in epidemiology from the University of Adelaide, and 30 years’ experience in road safety and injury research. He has studied the epidemiology of head injury, the effectiveness of helmets for cyclists, the relation between vehicle speed and injury severity, the effects on health and the environment of increasing walking and cycling, and the health impacts of transport policy. He initiated the Taupo bicycle study, which has followed 2,600 cyclists for eight years to learn about factors that promote and inhibit everyday cycling, including injury.

Axel Wilke

Axel holds an ME (Civil) from Canterbury University and has been active as a traffic engineer and transport planner in New Zealand since 1998. He specialises in urban traffic engineering, traffic signals, road safety, intersection design & modelling and industry training. He is a director of ViaStrada Limited, a traffic and transportation consultancy specialising in sustainable transport based in Christchurch. Clients of ViaStrada are mostly road controlling authorities in New Zealand, but some work (mostly research) is undertaken for Australian clients, for example Austroads. Axel instigated professional industry training, and the Fundamentals of Planning and Design for Cycling workshop has been taught since 2003, which is part of the curriculum at Canterbury University. Advanced courses were added later, and he has taught nearly 1,000 attendees in total.

Dr Glen Koorey

Glen is a Senior Lecturer in Transportation Engineering at the University of Canterbury. He has a particular interest in the areas of road safety and sustainable transport, including speed management and planning & design for cycling. Glen is a Member of the Bicycle Transportation Research Committee of the US Transportation Research Board and over the past 15 years has investigated many aspects of cycling safety in New Zealand. His wide-ranging research and consulting experience also includes sustainable transportation policies, planning & design for walking, crash data analysis, and the design and operation of rural highways.

There are some really good people on this list which is great to see. It gives me hope that we might get some really positive outcomes from this process.

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  1. Was in Christchurch the other day and was very impressed with what they did with Ilam Road. I also counting 236 cyclists in just over an hour when I was wandering around the Ilam/Avonhead area at 8am.

    1. Let alone the fully separated cycle paths all the way from Main North Road right through to the QEII site in Burwood. Also from Prebbleton along Springs Road to Wigram. There is some amazing stuff being done. After living in Auckland for a while now I really noticed the large numbers of cyclists and how many were just in ordinary clothes on cheap bikes – no lycra or hi-viz required!

      Along with news that Beckenham recorded a 15% cycle mode share on census day, Chch is starting to get back to its days as Cyclopia. Long may it last!

  2. I think the appointments are great. But I question whether we need any more panels or inquiries.

    We know what we have to do to improve cycle safety and increase the number of people cycling (both the same thing really):

    1. Separated cycle paths on arterials or any street with a speed limit over 30km/h.
    2. Shared spaces/pedestrian zones in all town centres.
    3. 30km/h zones on all non-arterial roads and use features like filtered permeability, traffic claming features, road narrowing etc to encourage adherence.

    Cycle boulevards as are used in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver would also be a great feature.

    We just need leaders who are prepared to make the hard decisions. Once made noone will want to go back to the bad old autocentric days.

    There are no organisations in the Netherlands agitating for more parking, higher speed limits and easier access by car. Once people have a cycle oriented street scape they dont want to give it up.

    1. He’s extremely out-numbered by people who have an extensive interest and background in cycling and cycling safety. He almost looks like the token “motorists’ interests” voice. Makes a change from anyone but the motorists’ interests being the token voice.

    2. Actually not concerned about AA being on there and is probably a good thing. We’ve had some good discussions with the AA recently and they don’t appear to be the car only organisation they used to be. Having them would also help with building consensus on the outcomes.

      1. Oh, I think it’s great that he’s on there. If nothing else it’ll (hopefully) help give him insight into the folly of pushing a “roads are for cars” barrow into the Beehive.

  3. I wonder how many of these people cycle. I think that should be a condition of admission in this panel that each of them cycles regularly.

    1. Sarah Ulmer definitely cycles regularly, and grew up training on the rural roads of the north-central Waikato. Several of the others appear to also. Did you even read the biographies?

  4. Well done goosoid, that is absolutely spot on – and what’s more your items 2 and 3 basically have virtually zero costs attached and no downsides. They can and should be done immediately.

    Separated cycle paths along arterial roads may take longer, but could be catered for in all road upgrades and gradually designed into existing arterials.

    The problem of course in Auckland is leadership, and maybe this new panel can help to change that. Also I would encourage you to provide feedback to the Takapuna/Devonport local board plan. I’ve read the current (2011) version and the transport section as is weak as water, with no references to improving cycling safety or reducing public transport costs to the level that the rest of inner Auckland enjoys. We have new local board members and you never know, they might be quite good if given enough support.

    1. They do have a cost attached though. You’ll need to notify drivers that they are entering or leaving an arterial road. That means signs and lots of them.

      1. Well James B, goosoid and everyone else, you can start doing #3 now, just drive at 30 k in residential side streets, with or without signs.

        I think we should all do that. Take some action. Better than a panel I say.

        1. Well I cycle 90% of the time but when I do drive, I do try and go at 30km/h on all residential streets. It may add 1 or 2 minutes to my journey but I can handle that.

          James B – why is that such a big deal? I suggest signs are a lot cheaper than dealing with the death and mayhem caused by cars travelling at 50km/h on small residnetial roads. 30km/h is pretty much the default speed in most of Northern Europe and it doesnt seem to be a major issue. The point is that most streets should encourage the lower speeds through design.

          It is just a matter of priorities. E.g. are the lives of our children worth more than the ability to drive a car at 50km/h in resdiential streets (considering we have the 3rd highest child traffic death rate in the OECD)? My answer is a resounding yes. The survival rate from a crash at 30km/h is much higher than at 50km/h.

        2. Saying there is no cost is disingenuous at best and a lie at worst. Nothing will change unless we are all honest with each other.

        3. And I commented that there’s virtually zero cost, which is true enough – not zero but very, very low cost in transport infrastructure terms.

        4. Compared to any other possible measure, the signage associated with a general speed limit reduction in residential streets is very, very low. In accounting terms, compared with say a few km of urban motorway, it is not material.

        5. 30km is not the default speed in most of Northern Europe – you are having a laugh. Take the A40 in central London – the speed varies between 70 and 80kph. Its a residential area 🙁
          The general speed limit for built up areas in NWE are:
          UK 30mph (50kph)
          Germany 50kph
          France 50kph
          Nederalnds 30kph
          Denmark 50kph
          Norway 50kph
          Sweeden 30-70kph
          Finland 50kph
          Austria 50kph
          Belgium 30-50kph
          Estonia 50-70kph
          Ireland 50kph
          Lux 50kph
          Poland 50kph (60 at night)
          Switzerland 50kph

        6. Phil, the A40 isn’t a residential street it is an A-road, basically equivalent to an urban route in Auckland, you wouldn’t describe Ti Rakau drive as residential even though there are houses on it. Stop being so disingenuous.

          Also, you aren’t the only person who has been to Europe on this blog Phil, many of us have traveled extensively or lived overseas and your statement regarding speed limits is obviously false.

        7. Why are the speed limits “obviously” false sailor boy? If as you as say everyone has been to Europe then they should know that Phil is correct. This blog is becoming very vicious towards anyone who has a different opinion.

        8. Because the speed limits stated are the most common, but are no longer the default. For example the UK has the 20s plenty, and this applies in any new builds and is being rolled out progressively along with similar initiatives in Germany, I can also tell you that residential streets, which are the topic of this particular conversation are NEVER 50 in France.

        9. Without checking each one, Phil is correct as far as ‘defaults’ go (even when discussing the Netherlands, a country with a great deal of 30kmh zones). In most countries local road controlling authorities can instigate lower speed limits if they meet certain conditions. In NZ this can also be done but I understand it needs a local bylaw as well as meeting conditions so can be a bit drawn out and tedious.

        10. Thank you bob and Bryce 😀

          I think we all agree the problem isn’t the default speed (even if I’m personally in favour of lowering speeds in residential areas) the problem is the few people that will drive too fast regardless of what the limit is. Boy racers will be doing 100kph regardless if the sign says 30 or 50. I think its an education issue. Society needs to make it clear that there is a time and a place for speeding and that is not where kids are walking to school.

          We can add that to the list – after not running red lights – not drinking and driving – not overtaking on blind corners or in dips – its a depressingly long list 🙁

    1. It’s not nonsense, it’s the reality. NZTA is funded by fuel tax and road users charges, hence they are very mindful of enhancing their revenue. They even talk about motorists as their “clients”. Consequently NZTA treat walking & cycling treated with contempt. NZTA knows full well that reduced traffic speeds, less traffic and smaller trucks are much safer for walking & cycling but without the political leadership, it’s not going to happen.

    1. Well, as we have seen plentifully, there’s no appetite to do it, so we need panels like this to change the mindset. Just saying “just do it” doesn’t cut it when there’s significant resistance. Bodies such as this allow you to exert internal pressure, especially on organisations who make a big deal out of being “fact and expert driven”.

      Not saying any recommendations that come up will automatically be taken up, but they will be significantly more likely to have a chance than if it was just some advocates or bloggers talking about them.

  5. Notice how there’s no one from NZTA or Ministry of Transport on the panel? They’re the reason why there’s been a distinct lack of emphasis on cycle safety over the past 50+ years. They don’t & won’t give a toss unfortunately.

    1. Actually they’re providing technical and administrative support to the panel, so they will be involved (and to a fairly high level). Without wishing to prejudice the outcome, I imagine that many of the recommendations could be directed at either NZTA or the Ministry (for legislative changes).

  6. There’s also a panel paid by motorcycle registrations (30$ per year) for motorcycle priorities. It’s called moto nz in 3 years it didn’t do anything. That’s 100$ out of my pocket for some director’s fee. Same thing will happen with this.

  7. One point not mentioned is that our rural road default speed limit of 100kph is far to high for most of our narrow single lane roads. Arterials with wide lanes and wide shoulders and in particular dual carriageways it’s fine but otherwise I suggest 80 kph. Motorways could equally go up to 115 or 120kph but the use left lane rule should be strictly enforced.

    1. “One point not mentioned”

      Uhmmm, there were no points mentioned here at all? Not the purpose of this announcement…

    2. pfft – if people obeyed the road code and displayed even moderate judgement there is no reason why 110 -130 kph is not perfectly safe on NZ’s rural roads.
      It is not the roads that are dangerous – it’s the idiots driving 🙁

      1. I actually agree witht you Phil, there are areas in New Zealand where there are wide laned, but undivided rural roads on which 130 would be a safe speed if all drivers were competent. Sadly that isn’t the case, and laws need to be set to reality. Or we need to make licencing far harder and demand retesting every 10 years.

      2. On rural roads it is a combination. Many have blind corners, narrowed sections, livestock from time to time, farmers on tractors etc.

      3. To a degree, Phil. But to another degree it’s also the old “Its not guns that kill people, its people” saw, with all its fallacies. Driving at 130 km/h is NOT “perfectly safe”, and it is not even “as safe” as driving 100 km/h. There’s at best, roads where the extra speeds does not add *much* difference. But there’s always risk and injury severity added when you go faster. No matter how good the road.

    3. NZ’s speed limit setting rules are based on the level of development along the road side. They don’t take into account safety for vulnerable users, such as pedestrians and cyclists on a road with no shoulder. The rules do allow for discretion in reducing the speed limits, but this is only rarely (& it seems reluctantly) used by the road engineers. I agree we should have a defualt 80km/h for our rural (and 30km/h for urban) roads, with these limits only increased where it is obviously safe for all road user types.

  8. I read in today’s Herald on Sunday that the chair of this panel, Richard Leggat says Auckland is “not dangerous for confident and skilled cyclists”. What drugs is he on? I need some!

    1. Need to see context but statistically it isn’t dangerous for that group. The fact that it is unsafe and unwelcoming for any other cyclists and unwelcoming for that group is the problem.

      1. Don’t know what statistics you’re referring to. MoT says cycling is the 2nd most dangerous travel mode – after the motorcycles (no surprises there), see:

        Note that the MoT fact sheet says cyclists represent 6% of the casualties in NZ. Compare that to the miserable mode share of cycling (approx 1%) and hence I struggle with the suggestion that its not dangerous for the skilled and confident cyclists (plus I’ve visited a fair view in Auckland hospitals over the years).

        1. I presume that Richard was TRYING to say “Stop trying to scare the hell out of people – that is not helping cycling”. And he’s right in so far as one can definitely cycle without having a death wish. That is not the same as it being sufficiently safe by any means yet.

          But getting people to think of cycling as more than a risk calculation is to be applauded – the boffins can do the calculations, and the politicians should do the work for a safer cycling environment, focussing on what we could have, not on the risks we currently have…

  9. Hi Bryce, I love TOP Gear too and there are not many things in the world I lust after (especially now that Jenn Aniston has aged) but a McLaren is certainly one of them. Given the companies NZ connection – it is the one car I definitely want to buy but sadly it is likely to be a 12C rather than the £800k P1.
    Last nights Top gear had the new Porsche Hybred – it has a lower CO2 emission than a Prius!!! Not as fast as the McLaren – it will only do 203mph.
    The episode also had a huge segment on cycling, They made adverts for the UK cycling advisory panel which the one above was the first attempt. Keep your eye out for them. They also cycled around London for 3 hours which I hope puts an end to the myth that London is somehow a cycling nirvana with dedicated lanes everywhere.
    Obviously it is car centric lads mag entertainment and probably hated by some of the blogs contributors but it was good to see how much effort they put into cycling.

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