Yesterday the government announced consultation a raft of potential changes aimed at changing rules to make streets safer and easier for those not in cars, in what is known as the Accessible Streets Regulatory Package.

“This package looks at how we can make our streets safer for those going from A to B, particularly young children when they are learning to ride bikes, and ensuring our road rules reflect real life,” Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter said.

“How we travel around our streets and footpaths is changing as more Kiwis choose to walk, cycle, and use new forms of mobility like e-scooters.

“New transport technologies like e-scooters are convenient, fun and help ease congestion, but we need to a balanced approach to ensure pedestrians retain priority on our footpaths.

In total there are nine proposed major changes but many of them have sub-proposals within them bringing the total to seventeen.

Proposal 1: Change and re-name the types of device that are used on footpaths, shared paths, cycle paths and cycle lanes

Over the last few years we’ve see an explosion in the number and variety of transport devices available. This change is about redefining in particular the devices that aren’t mobility devices or bicycles. One thing it notes specifically though is that

Under this change, only e-scooters and Yikebikes are powered transport devices. All other powered devices, like e-skateboards, powered unicycles and hoverboards are motor vehicles and will not be allowed on the footpath, unless the Transport Agency makes a declaration.

However it also notes that while those other powered devices not currently included are motor vehicles, they’re also not allowed on roads either because they’re not registered vehicles. It is quite likely that the NZTA will quickly change their classification and the rules give that ability.

The Transport Agency can declare that a device isn’t a motor vehicle if its maximum power output is under 600 watts. The Transport Agency can also impose conditions on the use of a powered transport device if the maximum power output is between 300 and 600 watts

Proposal 2: Establish a national framework for the use of footpaths

In short, this would change who is allowed to use footpaths, primarily allowing cyclists to use them with certain conditions. These changes would help make cycling more attractive to novice and unconfident riders. It would also mean that legally, a parent can ride with their child on the footpath.

Our proposed change will allow cyclists to ride on the footpath if:

  • they behave in a courteous and considerate manner
  • travel in a way that is not dangerous for other people using the footpath
  • they give way to pedestrians
  • the cycle is less than 750mm wide
  • they travel no faster than 15km/h.

Proposal 3: Establish a national framework for the use of shared paths and cycle paths

Did you know that currently the speed limit on paths and cycleways is the same speed limit as the adjacent road. This means the NW cycleway has a speed limit of 100km/h. If the path is not adjacent to a road then the limit is 50km/h

This is change is about tidying up how paths are defined, who has priority on them, allow authorities to restrict certain devices from paths and allowing speed limits to be set.

Proposal 4: Enable transport devices to use cycle lanes and cycle paths

Currently it’s not legal for e-scooters and the like to use bike lanes (where they exist). This would change that.

Proposal 5: Introduce lighting and reflector requirements for powered transport devices at night

This would make it a requirement that devices like e-scooters have front and back lights as well as reflectors.

Proposal 6: Remove barriers to walking, transport device use and cycling through rule changes

Within this proposal there are four sub-proposals:

  1. Allow cycles and transport devices to travel straight ahead from a left turn lane.
  2. Allow cycles and transport devices to carefully pass slow-moving vehicles on the left, unless a motor vehicle is indicating a left turn.
  3. Give cycles and buses priority over turning traffic when they’re travelling through an intersection in a separated lane.
  4. Give priority to footpath, shared path and cycle path users over turning traffic where the necessary traffic control devices are installed.

Of these, one of the more exciting is the suggestions is that cars turning into and out of side roads would need to give way to pedestrians and bikes

Proposal 7: Mandate a minimum overtaking gap for motor vehicles passing cycles, transport devices, horses, pedestrians and people using mobility devices on the road

As the name implies, the change would put minimum passing distance between vehicles and people on bikes or other similar equipment.

Of course the best way to guarantee that separation is to build protected cycleways.

Proposal 8: Clarify how road controlling authorities can restrict parking on berms

People parking on berms (and footpaths) is an issue increasing in frequency right now. Drivers often do it to be considerate to other drivers but in the meantime it can tear up the berm, destroy plants on/near it and in some cases prevent people from being able to walk along the footpath. The summary notes this:

Road controlling authorities disagree about how they can restrict berm parking and whether they need signage. For example, both Auckland Transport and Christchurch City Council have bylaws which prohibit parking on berms. However, Auckland Transport considers it unenforceable unless signs are erected every 100m, while Christchurch City Council considers it enforceable without the use of signs.

This is because Christchurch City Council made their bylaw under the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004, which doesn’t require signs for a berm parking restriction through the making of a bylaw.

In contrast, Auckland Transport made its bylaw under the Land Transport Act 1998, which (combined with the Land Transport Traffic Control Devices Rule) requires signs. Auckland Transport installed signs across approximately 48 locations across the Auckland region between October 2016 and February 2018, costing approximately $50,000.

As well as being costly, signs may also be visually unappealing and make the street appear cluttered

The proposal would still allow local councils to pass bylaws to decide which areas to decide which areas are off-limits for berm parking (it should be everywhere) and remove the need for signage

Proposal 9: Give buses priority when exiting bus stops

One annoying way for a buses to be held up is for them not to be able to exit a bus stop because there’s no gap in the line of cars passing them. Not only is this frustrating for passengers but it also costs more to operate as we need to run buses slower than they could be to account for it. The delays are so much, research from 2017 estimates a network-wide impact at 29.51 hours a day.

The proposal seeks to to change that by making it mandatory for other road users to give way to buses exiting a bus stop and that has indicated for three seconds.

What’s missing

I think it’s great to see these changes being proposed but there are some others that should have potentially been included:

  • Allowing people on bikes (and similar transport devices) to cross intersections on a pedestrian phase. This would include Barnes Dance crossings and also mid-block pedestrian crossings but as with the actual proposals, perhaps only if done at low speed and where pedestrians still have priority.
  • There are no changes to the helmet laws for cyclists. This should be bought in line with other transport devices in the consultation and in line with other countries by encouraging them but removing them from being mandatory.

Consultation on the proposed changes is open till Wednesday 22 April.

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  1. Simon Bridges needs to be sent a ‘get well’ card as he wants to scrap the once a yearl rent increase. He is forgetting all New Zealanders are rate payers even when we pay weekly rent. That is we pay rates to some degree to our land ‘agent’ via rent cost.

    Our city council & Auckland transport is spending rate payers (& as I said rent payers) money like there is no tomorrow on anything & everything they can think of. Cycle ramps is the latest, so two wheeled devices can transfer from road to footpath with minimum of effort then they can run down pedestrians, then there is the train station that is costing every Aucklander $40 to build. where will it end?

    keep thinking of more ideas to make rent and rate payers broke.

    1. A+ classic rant … anything else?

      what train station are you thinking of?
      where are all these cycle ramps you’re speaking of?

        1. OPEN YOUR EYES and look at the train timetable, there is only one train station that has been closed down for a rebuild!

          It is Puhinui. how many others are there at $60 million, apart from the city underground train project that are not train station yet until they open, [the rest has be self deleted]

        2. Britomart and Mt Eden stations are currently under construction, and they’ve started works on the site of Aotea and Karangahape stations too.

      1. A bike ramp at Victoria Park, Victoria Street west
        & Karangahape R near Symonds Street.
        two I have noticed so far

    2. Eric, value-for-money is important. However, the ever-present call for lower rates and taxes has resulted in irresponsible management, leaving us with ageing and not-fit-for-purpose infrastructure. If we don’t fix it up before we pass it on, will be a huge burden on our children while they’re also trying to cope with climate change.

      One of the big fix-ups we have to do is in the transport system, which has seen 60 years of investment for driving, and neglect of the other modes. The evidence shows that investment in cycling infrastructure both pays well, and makes the network safer for all users.

      Change is hard, but general rants about rates being spent on your personal pet peeves is not welcome.

    1. Perhaps they they thought pedestrians would suffer enough getting hit at 15km/h. Perhaps we will all need to get mobility scooters to protect ourselves from injury on the footpaths.

      1. Indeed, it probably depends a lot on the ability of the rider. If you need to be cranking along at 20k to be stable, you should probably be going a LOT less than that when in close quarters. 15k sounds like plenty as a blanket rule.

        1. Thanks for comments
          Please note: Stable biking speed is below 20km/h, I am suggesting somewhere between 15-20km/h
          * What is a stable bike speed for someone new to biking?
          * Is 15km/h a common speed limit?
          * 20km/h has always been a default speed limit – true / false?
          * Way is 20km/h common?

  2. As you say Matt, it seems odd to bring e-scooters and yikebikes into normality with regards being allowed to use footpaths.

    Yet not require use of helmets when riding them as well.

    I think the rules should be helmets are compulsory everywhere [footpaths and roads] for bikes and powered transport devices up until the age of 16.
    Recommended but not mandatory everywhere after that age.

    I also note that Figure D above implies that cyclists and Peds will be able to share the crossing, as long as cyclists give way to Peds.

      1. If only there was some fundamental differences between bikes and cars, or at least some sort of critical design standards for occupants that cars had to meet before they could be registered for us on our roads… Nope, can’t think of any.

        What was the ANCAP rating on my old Avanti Thunder again?

        1. ANCAP – Wasn’t that the rating that leads to more risk for people outside the vehicle because it’s so focused on the occupants?

        2. ANCAP now includes pedestrian impact testing. Hopefully with compact motors in EVs we will see fewer high bonnets/huge grills and more development in this area over time.

          Laughably, the 2020 Wrangler has a 49% ANCAP ‘vulnerable road users’ score. Now that we are measuring this, we can set some limits about what is and what isn’t taking the piss for a ‘new’ vehicle in 2020.

        3. Thanks for that, Buttwizard.

          I note there’s nothing about visibility. A steady deterioration of visibility of vulnerable road users due to the thickening of the vehicle pillars has been a big concern of the design changes that have prioritised occupant safety over pedestrian safety.

          If you can see it there somewhere, please point it out.

          Otherwise, I agree with many safety advocates that ANCAP does not provide sufficient support to our Road to Zero strategy.

    1. Compulsory helmets are one of those things that seemed like an, er, no brainer to introduce at the time. But what really counts against that is that messy hair and perception of looking like a dork discourages cycling. That has the onflow effect of removing the health benefits the cycling would otherwise provide, and it also reduces the “herd effect” of more cyclists on the road being more visible and less likely to be hit.
      There are also the general downsides of helmets too, that the vast majority of serious cycling injuries aren’t head-related, and helmets encourage greater recklessness by some riders and motorists. Sad, but true.
      The health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks by a factor of between 40 and 90 (I’m imagining Auckland is currently closer to the lower end…) excluding mental health benefits, so anything that may discourage cycling is likely a bad move.

      1. No, but they’re not heading to work wanting to look glam. It’s not that the helmets aren’t beneficial, it’s that making them compulsory has unintended negative consequences, and it’s better to keep them voluntary.
        People are just weird, can’t legislate against that:)

  3. Will be great to have all these rules tidied up and make things safer for peds and cyclists. Totally agree the review needs to also make helmets optional.

  4. So happy to see proposals 6d and 9 in particular, I have been thinking about starting positions for both of these changes.
    Looking at figure D, my concern is that the rule only applies when there are white lines for the pedestrian crossing. It should instead apply for all turning cars (car E in figure D) at all intersections, unless they have a green turning arrow at a signalised intersection.

    Along with proposal 9, AT / operators should put stickers on the buses to remind drivers of the rule change, they have these in Germany: (would obviously be flipped)

    I’ll be sure to submit on the proposals.

    1. Agreed. With the white line requirement, cars pretty much won’t have to give way anywhere. I can’t think of a single place in Auckland where they have white lines except at signals. In USA the pedestrian crossing is implied to be the extension of the footpath across the intersection, even where not marked and drivers are legally required to give way.

      1. Yes the “where the necessary traffic control devices are installed.” is unnecessary and will introduce ambiguity. A driver can be expected to give way whenever turning.

      2. We need to look at the impact Statement. It will be necessary to paint crosswalk lines at all intersections for pedestrians, except the small number of intersections where pedestrian priority cannot be offered (either no footpath, or an alternative safe and direct route).
        This is a not-quite-cheap way of reminding drivers that something has changed. There is no obvious sign or marking to show that, in those few cases, pedestrians do not have right of way. We need to compare this with the Give Way rule change, where signs and markings had to be installed at those few intersections where left turners have to give way to those turning right. Maybe it is just enough to say always give way to pedestrians except where there aren’t any

    2. Pedestrians already have priority over turning traffic at signalised intersections; this new Rule would apply to unsignalised intersections. The concern with just having a blanket Rule change everywhere is getting motorists and pedestrians alike to change their default behaviour instantly – there is the potential for carnage (esp. at some intersections that are not at all friendly to cross right now). This approach allows a phased introduction to the concept.

      Note too that initially it would be expected that most priority crossings would involve much more than just a pair of parallel lines; like zebra crossings, using tools like raised platforms and colour greatly improve the relative safety over the “legal minimum” layout.

      1. Thanks for this perspective, Glen. I wondered if it would be something like this. There is a logic to taking the changes in steps.

        Any idea if a stepped approach with this sort of priority change is based on evidence? The risk is that with three steps:
        – expecting drivers to give way where there are raised platforms and colour changes
        – expecting drivers to give way where there are any markings
        – expecting drivers to give way where they are turning,

        … with the first 2? covered by this law, but the expectations staged (isn’t that messy?) and the the third one covered by a subsequent legislation change…

        … that the period of time during which there is ambiguity will simply be elongated, and a driver attitude of “they can’t really enforce this because it’s ambiguous” will grow.

        Seems to me the better way would be a short, sharp, unambiguous change, with a huge education programme, very well-advertised, and harnessing community members to go out with signs to really get the message across.

        But if there’s evidence backing a stepped approach, that would be interesting to read.

        1. I also wonder if there is really would be carnage. Will pedestrians just wander across the road simply because they have right of way? What do people do at pedestrian crossings, do they just walk across without checking? I know I don’t.

        2. There are many drivers here who blindly assume there are no pedestrians and cyclists. This is well-known to cyclists, who are not safe even on good infrastructure like on Franklin Road.

          I suspect nothing may actually change, pedestrians in theory already have priority across driveways, but both drivers and pedestrians often assume the opposite.

          A difference with the give way rule when turning is that it is now car vs. pedestrian, instead of car vs. car. As a pedestrian you still give way, or else. There is no consequence for drivers hitting a pedestrian.

        3. Surely fundamental blanket changes and avoiding all ambiguities are best. How about introducing a rule as in Holland that in any collision between a bike and a car, the car driver is presumed to be at fault unless proven otherwise? That surely went a long way to overcoming drivers’ sense of entitlement.

        4. How sensible the Dutch are. Any accident between car and bike assume car is the guilty party and between bike or scooter and pedestrian assume the bike or scooter driver is responsible. And enforce it.

        5. There’s a lot of misunderstanding about the Dutch “presumed liability” law – it’s NOT there for prosecuting people. It’s there to determine who is assumed by default to be paying for the medical and property damages incurred in a crash. Of course, here in NZ half of that problem is solved automatically by having the ACC system…

  5. 15kph is too fast for footpaths unless we want to further endanger and restrict mobility from our most vulnerable, our youngsters, those with sight, hearing and mobility issues.
    10kph max for footpaths please.
    Perhaps 15kph for designated shared paths.
    Those who want to go faster, maintain the choice of using cycleways etc when provided and the general carriageway , motorways excepted of course.
    More logical is to restrict footpaths, and shared paths to vehicles under a certain width and mass and remove helmet obligations.
    Cycle lanes and cycleways restrict all vehicles to any cycleway posted speed limit or in it’s absence, for motorised vehicles, the posted speed limit of any adjacent roadway up to 50 kph maximum. No helmet requirement
    Carriageways except motorways, with speed limits of 50kph or less
    allow all vehicles unless expressly forbidden. No helmet requirement
    Carriageways, not motorways, 60kph and above with no adjacent cycleways or cycle lanes allow cycles but subject to a helmet requirement. Scooters etc prohibited.

    1. I think this is a pragmatic response to the situation as it is now. On most streets you see almost no pedestrians and cyclists anyway, so there will not be many conflicts. And in the near future if we don’t allow this most bike lanes will remain useless because almost nobody is able to reach them.

      For those cyclists it requires some common sense around pedestrians. You’re correct to call out 15km/h as pretty fast, but on many footpaths you have plenty of visibility to avoid running into pedestrians.

  6. I fully agree with this:
    “Allowing people on bikes (and similar transport devices) to cross intersections on a pedestrian phase. This would include Barnes Dance crossings and also mid-block pedestrian crossings but as with the actual proposals, perhaps only if done at low speed and where pedestrians still have priority.”
    I have been doing this on the bike going at walking pace and giving way to the pedestrians.

  7. All good stuff.

    But I’d really like the two-abreast rule to be changed so that cyclists must ride in single file on bends or whenever motor vehicles are present.

    Most abreast riding only occurs on back roads when traffic is light, but when motor vehicles try to pass it often causes so much aggro and red mist that it just reinforces an us-and-them mentality, rather than a share-and-care.

    1. John, I’d suggest if a driver can’t safely pass cyclists riding two abreast they shouldn’t be passing them at all.

      And if that driver thinks they can safely pass those same two cyclists riding single file because they can cramp the cyclists up as the driver can now stay on ‘their’ side of the road then they also shouldn’t be passing them.

      I’d like to see a rule saying we treat overtaking cyclists like overtaking an 18m long petrol tanker.

    2. Why would they have to ride single file on bends, considering overtaking on bends is either illegal or bran dead

  8. Some other things that should be cleared up:
    Clarification on the ability for road controlling authorities to create a continuous footpath across a side street which gives priority to peds (without any sort of Traffic Control Device marking or signage)
    Ability for councils to easily and legally restrict vehicle across the full width of the road as and where they determine it to be necessary and for whatever purpose they deem fit.
    Ability for councils to declare a pedestrian mall without the need to go through the Special Consultative process
    Tidying up the legislation to delegate powers to create traffic controls down to officer level rather than by committee resolution. This requirement alone is costing Auckland ratepayers millions of dollars

  9. Forgot to mention that micromobility users should be able to treat red signals as a give way control (especially on a barnes dance signal) this decriminalises a recognised way to improve the efficiency and safety of the road system for all road users. Cars no longer held up by cyclists that are slow to move away reducing driver frustration and the perception that all cyclists are law breaking d****.

  10. Apologies for multiple posts but I’m on a roll … there should also be an overriding change to the legislation which states that vulnerable users (active modes) are not bound by any other road user rules if compliance with those rules would endanger them or other road users. This would enable vulnerable road users to act in their own best interests and free them from blame or fines in the case of poor or unsafe street design by the road controlling authority.

    1. Either that or the whole legislation needs to be rewritten with the needs of children, elderly pedestrians, cyclists, scooterers, slower thinkers, and mobility- and sight-impaired people given priority.

  11. Even more reason to segregate cycle lanes from pedestrians rather than having shared paths which become almost unusable for cyclists due to having to give way to pedestrians blocking their path.

  12. These are all good welcome changes, must improved on the status quo anyway.

    “minimum passing distance between vehicles and people on bikes”

    Yes good idea. I guess they agonised over the min of 1m @50km/hr due to some roads being so narrow, but that sure seems too close still when a large car is passing you at the full 50km/hr.

    1. I hope this will come with some educational videos, whereby it is explained that is 1 or 1.5m from the cyclist, not from the marked edge of the carriageway.

      It also needs to come with some explanation about estimating a cyclist’s speed, so that overtaking then slowing down for a bend (or worse, left turn) may well end up with the car back alongside the bike rather than clear out in front.

      I believe a campaign around this would yield benefits, because most drivers actually want to do the right thing but are uncertain how to behave around bike.

    2. You have to wonder where they get these figures from – this is irresponsible legislation.

      The ITF says the speed limit when cyclists and motor vehicles share the same space should be no more than 30 km/hr. We’ve committed to VZ which says the same. And last month we signed the Stockholm Declaration which also says the same.

      So on what planet would you think that 1m is a safe passing distance at speeds up to 60 km/hr?

      Last month in Germany, a new law was passed which mandated a passing distance of 1.5m in urban areas (typically 30 km/hr) and 2m out of town.

    3. Auckland has much wider roads than a lot of old European cities where cyclists somehow thrive. But drivers there tend to drive around cyclists by using that turny thing in front of them. It’s easier there as fewer roads have centre lines which indicates the road is a shared space. Drivers here seem to think they own the lane so resent having to adjust their line – although more are doing it now than 10 or 20 years ago.

  13. I like the turning rule, but would remove the ‘where the necessary traffic control devices are installed’. Far easier if it is just always the rule, much less confusing for everyone, and doesn’t suffer from AT just never installing traffic control devices.

    I am in two minds about the cycling on pavements. I currently cycle on the pavement when with my children – so obviously it’d be nice to make that legal. But i feel it’d be an excuse to not build cycle lanes, after all you can just cycle on the footpath. I also fear it supports the the ‘roads are for cars’ mentality. Lastly, it seems wrong to fix unsafe roads by making the pavements less safe. Really i want the roads to be made safe enough to cycle on. Where safe cycling infrastructure isn’t provided, the speed limit is reduced and priority is pedestrian, cyclist then car

  14. Can someone tell me why cycles have to give way to transport devices when they have a motor and I don’t as a cyclist? Sounds the wrong way round to me. It seems to me powered devices should give way to non-powered devices.

    1. I agree, that bit stood out to me as nonsense.

      The order of priority should be pedestrians and those using a mobility device, then those that are using their own power, and lastly those who are battery powered by choice rather than necessity.

  15. Can someone explain to me why everyone on this site is so anti helmet? I don’t get it, a bike has zero safety features and a helmet protects your most important thing. (FYI I cycle and motorcycle everywhere and don’t own a car)

    1. Agreed. PPE is the last line of defence when everything else fails. Who would be allowed on site without helmet and safety boots? Bad things happen and we need to protect ourselves for when they do.
      My last helmet was cracked on a protected bike path when a runner ran across from behind vegetation without looking. This can happen anywhere, anytime.

    2. While wearing a helmet may improve your safety should you take a fall, the act of wearing a helmet around other vehicles increases the likelihood of being hit etc as drivers give you less space due to your increased perceived safety.

      Helmet wearing is also seen as a deterrent for people getting on their bikes thus reducing cycling uptake. I guess it’s one of those sort of situations where for an individual, a helmet is good, for the whole population we get better results (health, activity etc) when we don’t wear them.

      (I’m one of those who always wears my helmet though)

      1. Hey Luke, I feel like your overthinking the point about perceived safety, a driver will hit you because they were on their cell phone, listening to the radio, not looking, daydreaming, being generally useless at driving etc. If anything wearing a helmet gives me a feeling of perceived safety.

        The helmets being a barrier to entry argument is one I don’t understand as if you’re prepared to shell out $$$ for a bike you can pay $ for a helmet. (Bike share excluded I guess).

        1. Hey Confused Biker, I agree with all your points. I guess it’s just more to do with the bigger picture, i.e. driving attitudes etc whereby drivers have been conditioned through newer cars and feeling like they own the road to not care about their impact on other road users. Helmets feed into the idea that it’s the cyclist’s responsibility to protect themselves even when it’s the car that is likely the cause of the danger.

          Regarding the cost element, you’re right that the cost is minimal, I think it’s more about just giving people one more little reason to not cycle.

    3. I’m pretty sure that those helmets only offer a very basic level of protection. In a lot of the more serious accidents that could give you a head injury; they’re not likely to do anything.
      Does anyone know of another country where pushbike helmets are compulsory by law?

      1. Australia, with some exceptions for the Northern Territory, but we’re outliers, very few countries in the world mandate them

      2. I do know that I had an accident with no helmet in the 80s. I was unconscious for 20mins, and always remember a kid pointing at me as I was wheeled through Wgtn Hosp saying “Oooooh”. I still have the scars and I am sure it has affected my memory. So I would always say best to wear one anyway.

    4. People are anti -helmet here because this is an evidence-based blog and the evidence indicates helmet laws do more harm than good. Check out this little 6 minute video about it. If you have evidence to the contrary, I’m sure we would all like to hear it…

      1. Interesting video, so the argument is the behaviour induced by helmets is more dangerous than the safety benefits of wearing one. I can see how you could argue that but I don’t think on our current roads I would ever not wear one or encourage people to not wear one but I see your point.

        Perhaps a more effective form of bike safety would be to advocate that all cyclists can carry guns but drivers can’t. Probably solve all the road safety issues overnight.

        1. On the basis that helmets shouldn’t be mandated because they induce risky behaviour let’s unmandate seat belts, airbags, anti-submarine seats, pre-weakened panels and all the other safety devices on motor vehicles and the road toll will plummet.

        2. No mr plod.
          The same principle applies but those safety features are far more effective than a plastic hat.

        3. First you have to know what a bicycle helmet actually is:

          It is designed to protect your head in case you fall over at low speed (IIRC up to 15km/h).

          If you’re hit by a car then you might just as well have been wearing a paper hat.

          There was no decrease in head injuries after helmets were made mandatory. That contrasts with seatbelts which did have a clear positive effect.

        4. I was still a boy when helmets became compulsory back in the ’80s.
          Maybe I’ve remembered it wrong; but I recall it being promoted by some woman (possibly Australian) whose son had suffered an horrific head injury that put him in a wheelchair. I think we watched a video presentation of hers at school.

          As I understand it; it soon transpired the same woman was also one of the owners of one of the early cycle helmet companies like “Elite” or “Stackhat” or something. I think it was Elite; as they were the company that had this deal where you could buy a helmet through school (of which a fair few were faulty anyway).

        5. MrPlod… You’re missing the primary reason, and it’s that cycling improves your health, and reduces obesity and heart disease, which are far bigger killers than road transport.
          It’s simply this: someone driving to work every day is far more likely to die of cardiovascular disease through lack of exercise than the same person getting a head injury from cycling, helmet or not.
          Forcing someone to wear a helmet means they might not bike at all, which is worse for their health than the risk of a head injury.
          I’ll always wear a helmet regardless of the law, but I’m a baldy. No hair, don’t care…

        6. Richard Scott… those articles show that wearing bike helmets reduces the severity of head injuries. What they don’t evaluate is how many fewer cyclists there would be if helmets were compulsory, and the resulting increased risks of cardiovascular disease for those people. When you include those factors, it shows that wearing helmets should be encouraged, but not made compulsory.

        7. Daniel Eyre: “I was still a boy when helmets became compulsory back in the ’80s.” – unlikley as the rulke came into force in 1994.

          That woman was from Plamerston North and was known as the Helmet Lady. She cam to my school as well and it was complete fearmongering with no reference to facts:

          She pretty much single handedly destroyed cycling in this country, what a hero.

        8. @ goosoid:
          Okay you’ve corrected me on the legal dates and who she was.
          Now I remember it; she was there at the primary school presentation and had her video as part of the presentation. And as I remember it; l she was quite nasty with us kids and guilt-tripped us in a bullying manner. It must’ve been my primary school making it compulsory to wear a helmet and this must’ve been in the late ’80s.

          I’m adamant that I’m right that she also had something to do with the helmet-manufacturing company that my school arranged a bike-helmet purchasing scheme that every kid signed for. I think it was elite helmets.
          I remember me and my siblings and my schoolmates getting our helmets and they were really poor-quality cheap & nasty. I remember one of my friends asked for a coloured one and he instead got a multi-coloured one where the plastic hadn’t moulded properly (and didn’t get his replacement for about a month). And I remember a girl dropping hers on the cloakroom floor and it splitting down the middle in the first week. Needless to say; we and our parents all felt a bit swindled.

          I remember my cranium outgrew mine after about a year and my older brother just gave me his old BMX helmet that didn’t fit him anymore. That was probably the only helmet at my school that offered proper protection…

      2. Couldn’t it be also argued that if everyone’s wearing them; it becomes the norm and any novelty of wearing one wears off and thus any awareness that it might make you more bulletproof?

      3. Why did walking to school and other places, also collapse over the same time period. What policies, city and street design support walking, cycling, and public transport use, these are the issues that require attention.

    5. One big reason others are so anti-helmet is that the very existence of such “knee jerk” laws [which after all was passed late one night in parliament, sitting under urgency for all 3 of the laws stages, without prior warning – unlike just about every other law that was ever made in NZ], can and does provide a very large “cop out” set of reasons to the likes of AT and NZTA from actually you know, providing safe cycling facilities [unlike the Dutch and Danish do to take two examples of how to build a fence at the top of the cliff not put an ambulance at the bottom when it comes to road users safety.]

      And in doing so they are making [supposedly safer] helmet-wearing cycling actually much less safe in NZ (and AUS) than it is for all those helmetless cyclists in The Nederlands and Denmark who have governments that prioritise community based safety over Private helmet wearing as the way to make cycling safer.

      Its sad but true, but thats the way most NZ Safety related organisations are made to think these days – they are more interested in having all the boxes ticked around safety so that it “looks safer” without considering if the actual results of the “safety experiment” validate the original hypothesis or in fact, actually make the activity safer at all.

      In most cases, the evidence says these safety processes don’t improve safety.

      That doesn’t mean you should stop wearing your helmet.

      But the helmet law clearly shows that we can and should be doing better than we are with regards making roads safer for all users.

      So while the NZTA are changing their rules, lets make helmets optional for adults.

      One day, when we as a country are all grown up, we will make better decisions on building better cycling and walking facilities and look back at laws making people wear helmets as akin, as we do know, to doctors treating all patients with illnesses with nothing but leeches.

      One day…

      1. As I see it, the helmet law has been the only comprehensive response to bicycle safety problems to date – as if it is an optimal safety solution, when it’s really a red herring.
        It puts all responsibility for bicycle safety onto the person riding the bike, as if riding a bicycle is inherently dangerous. But riding a bicycle is not inherently dangerous, and most of the hazards are due to interactions with other, larger vehicles. And the solutions to that are not bicycle helmets, but separated bicycle lanes, slower vehicle speeds, etc. Which NZ is only very belatedly getting around to, perhaps because the helmet law was perceived as having already solved the problem.

    6. No one is anti-helmet, just anti-helmet law.

      I will become pro-bike helmet law if someone (and I have asked lots of pro-helmet law people) can explain two things:

      1. Why is there no correlation between helmet laws and safer cyclists. For example, in the UK, around 25% of cyclists wear a helmet (asopposed to 90+% in NZ/AU) but a cyclist is twice as safe in the UK as NZ/AU. The Dutch of course are at 2% and are three times as safe. If helmets are so effective, why do we not see it in any stats?

      2. Why have no countries followed NZ or AU after 1994? In fact, Israel, Spain and the city of Dallas have all scrapped their helmet laws. If the evidence is so overwhelming, surely someone should have been persuaded to bring a helmet law into force in some country.

      Looking forward to your explanation.

    7. Most of us are not “anti helmet”, we are anti the mandatory helmet law.

      Why?… NZ’s mandatory helmet law led to a massive decrease in cycling numbers and allowed the authorities off the hook to provide safe conditions for cycling eg: shared paths, 30km/h traffic speed & protected cycle lanes.

      And I know from experience that motorists give me a wider berth when I cycle without a helmet. I wear a helmet when mountain biking but don’t when on quiet local streets & shared paths.

  16. The berm parking changes may muddy the water further, unfortunately. This will take a fair bit of unravelling. If berm parking is something that you’re concerned about, and you are submitting on this, I’d recommend making clear your concern on the issue, and your support for a change to the situation – but this isn’t necessarily the right one.

    I’m putting in an OIA to see if they actually got an independent legal opinion on this or if they just fell for AT’s interpretation.

    1. I think the proposal is good Re: signs optional. My concern is the need to update a register. I.e this creates an ongoing operational burden . I.e need to pass a resolution every time a new street is built. What are your specific concerns Heidi?

      1. When a piece of legislation is unnecessary, it opens up a can of worms. This is such a time. I’ll leave aside AT’s misunderstanding on the law here as I’m taking it further.

        If you have a look at the summary document, there’s no understanding that parked cars dominating the streetscape detracts from modeshift and placemaking goals. Nor that it increases parking supply over and above what was available before the practice took off and therefore induces traffic. Nor any acknowledgement of the damage that’s being done to kerbstones, to the living soil, trees and grass, nor of the muddy mess that’s often left and the reduction in permeability offered by the compressed soil, and therefore the increase in flooding risk. Does the summary document matter?

        AT don’t proactively ticket cars on paved footpaths outside the city centre, even though they know they can. This is down to ideology. So I have no faith that they will choose to use this legislation change to enforce what needs to be enforced. They have operational guidelines for their officers on when to ticket – some of which have no basis in the law. And although they say they can ticket any parked vehicle that creates a safety concern, their understanding of the risk introduced by parked cars is so minimal they don’t recognise the safety risks in practical situations.

        There are a number of ways this legislation could muddy the water through lending weight to AT’s legal interpretation. I wish NZTA had challenged it instead.

        The practical difficulties include first getting this legislation through the consultation process, then residents trying to get AT to accept that certain areas need addressing, then getting that through consultation, and then needing to keep and update the register, plus respond to complaints when people said they didn’t know, etc. And even then, will they proactively enforce?

        The solution was actually simple. I’ll post about it in due course.

  17. It took bloody long enough for these changes to go through to this stage. I wonder what changes will actually get through. 6d should have been done decades ago.
    50 people are murdered and Jacinda passed a major law change within 2 weeks. The same amount of people walking around get killed on our roads every year and the government does nothing to change the rules on who has right of way except to talk about it for a few years.

    The only strange thing with the rest of the proposal is bikes having to give way to scooters. If that change goes through, my next bike will definitely be one of those dodgy e-scooters that can do 50kmph.

  18. I’d like to see some more definition around what is an e-bike and what is a moped.
    Clearly a large proportion of e-bikes I see every day are moped’s by the 300W rule. However this is not policed, probably because it’d be very difficult and time consuming to check.
    Perhaps an e-bike max speed should also be specified, as a proxy to the power? (e.g. the EU and USA limits of 25km/h and 32km/h).
    Another concern is the weight. The average cheap mens road bike is about 11kg. E-bikes can be very heavy, and combined with their potential for speed they become extra hazardous in a collision. I think heavy e-bikes should be classed as mopeds, say greater than 22kg.

    1. Imposing weight limits on e-bikes alone is stupid.

      As you are forgetting completely about the weight (and the mass and thus kinetic energy) of the rider on said e-bike?

      Scooters will weigh a lot more than an e-bike, but then we regulate them differently as a result that the total kinetic energy in a moving scooter is much higher for the same speed than any e-bike+rider will be.

      In most cases, the rider weighs more than any e-bike you’d want to use does. So unless you want to take that combined rider+vehicle into account in your law why bother going there?

      Maximum Speed is at best, a very indirect proxy for power. Any bike [even a regular 2 wheeler powered by a peddling human] going down your average steep hill can exceed those speed limits.

      As far as I can tell those US and EU speed limits are arbitrary with no basis in evidence for why they were chosen. So why pick 32 or 25 km/hr as the limit? Why not higher or lower speeds or some other criteria altogether?

  19. Unicycles is actually is quite practical as “transport device” once the user has the skills. They are surprisingly stable given their large wheel size. They have advantage being small and compact to carry around.

    There is no reason to ban it on the footpath.

    And how about larger wheel Segway? They are also practical and stable.

    So why only included e-scooters and yikebike as powered transport devices but excluded others?

    1. Yes seems strange to exclude those not to mention hoverboards! Not that I’ve seen any in real life. Do we want those on the road??! Too much watching Back to the Future I think.

  20. I think “Give priority to footpath, shared path and cycle path users over turning traffic where the necessary traffic control devices are installed.”

    This should be applied even without the necessary traffic control devices.

    Otherwise you will have to paint the white lines on every residential intersections, which would be expensive and impractical.

  21. “The Transport Agency can declare that a device isn’t a motor vehicle if its maximum power output is under 600 watts”

    Some scooter need more than 600 watts when accelerating in steep uphill at reasonable speed.

    Whereas a scooter can go crazily fast on downhill even with only 300 watts.

    A better approach either:
    1. Cap speed rather than the power, a 25-30kmh would be best so the device doesn’t block cyclists on cycle-way.
    2. Allow higher power below 10kmh on steep hills

  22. Proposal 5: Introduce lighting and reflector requirements for powered transport devices at night

    I would suggest to go even further. New devices manufactured should be required to emit warning sound when traveling faster than walking speed.

  23. Replace these five
    . they behave in a courteous and considerate manner
    . travel in a way that is not dangerous for other people using the footpath
    . they give way to pedestrians
    . the cycle is less than 750mm wide
    . they travel no faster than 15km/h
    with the one simple rule: Give way to Pedestrians. And enforce it. Cyclists must assume any pedestrians may have mobility and hearing problems.

  24. Not 100% sure of the balance / priority in the Shared Paths –
    On first glance it seems fine for Peds to have unconditional right of way – however I already see issues in areas like the Hagley Park and Ilam Fields shared paths where pedestrian groups dominate the full width of the path. And often won’t split or move to the side. This would ratify that behavior, which doesn’t seem like the right outcome either?

  25. No one is anti-helmet, just anti-helmet law.

    I will become pro-bike helmet law if someone (and I have asked lots of pro-helmet law people) can explain two things:

    1. Why is there no correlation between helmet laws and safer cyclists. For example, in the UK, around 25% of cyclists wear a helmet (asopposed to 90+% in NZ/AU) but a cyclist is twice as safe in the UK as NZ/AU. The Dutch of course are at 2% and are three times as safe. If helmets are so effective, why do we not see it in any stats?

    2. Why have no countries followed NZ or AU after 1994? In fact, Israel, Spain and the city of Dallas have all scrapped their helmet laws. If the evidence is so overwhelming, surely someone should have been persuaded to bring a helmet law into force in some country.

    Looking forward to your explanation.

    1. I’m not really for compulsory cycle helmets myself but I don’t think it’s a big issue. I accept that it might discourage people from taking up cycling and that it might encourage more dangerous riding.

      But I think that it’s discouraging effects would be negated if there was more quality segregated cycling infrastructure around. Let’s be honest; most nasty cycling accidents happen on dangerous stretches of road where there’s heavy traffic and/or a higher speed limit. Being more separated from traffic & exhaust fumes makes riding a lot more attractive.

      And I also think that reckless riding is as least as much encouraged by the fact that many bicycles themselves allow it. I personally remember when I was at varsity and was saving petrol money & keeping fit by cycling most of the time. The mountain bike that I’d had since high school started falling to pieces, so an older cousin of mine gave me his old ten-speed that had hardly been ridden since the early ’80s. I could really zip-about on the thing once I got my momentum up. I remember I would often start riding more recklessly like just speeding through intersections and swerving to avoid instead of slowing down/stopping.

  26. Proposal 1- there is no one out there to enforce any rules and how much will it cost to define what is what as new types constantly appear. The proposal is useless.
    Proposal 2- there is no mention of vehicles exiting driveways. Who has the right of way and what hope has a car driver reversing out of a driveway got of seeing a cyclist riding at speed on the footpath? Because we must remember that cycles don’t have speedometers so a 15kph speed limit is pointless and meaningless.
    Proposal 3- simplify it to bigger gives way to smaller.
    Proposal 4- good
    Proposal 5- reflectors for everyone at night including pedestrians. Front and rear lights for everything with wheels.
    Proposal 6a- Insanity and will be the cause of many deaths and injuries.
    Proposal 6b- Another death sentence as drivers in slow moving traffic will often move to the left and right to see ahead and the last thing they will be thinking of is being overtaken on the left. And left vision is restricted.
    Proposal 6c- utter insanity especially if there are parked cars on the road. All intersections where there are separate cycleways should be fully light controlled.
    Proposal 6d Traffic lights for everyone where there are separate lanes.
    Of these, one of the most deadly and dangerous is the suggestions is that cars turning into and out of side roads would need to give way to pedestrians and bikes.
    Proposal 7- Who came up with the murderous illustration of a car crossing the centre line of the road to go past a cyclist to theoretically comply with a distance rule. Because the car could be hit by a vehicle coming the other way. Here is a sane rule- Any vehicle passing a cyclist must drive as close as practicable to the centreline of the road. If the road is narrow then the driver should ensure the road is clear on the other side and undertake a signalled overtake as if the bicycle was a car.
    Proposal 8- Berm parking should be allowed where the berm is a car width wide and only for such time as needed to rearrange vehicles in a driveway.
    Proposal 9- No No No. Buses should never have the right to hold up traffic and force their way in. Years ago a car was driven into the side of my car by a person who had put their indicator on and then pulled into my lane on top of my twenty foot long car. In court I found out the person was a bus driver. Bus drivers cannot separate their road thuggery in a bus from when they use their personal vehicles. And who will win in court when the driver says I gave three seconds warning and the driver of the smashed up car says no they didn’t they put their indicator on as they pulled out? All road users must be treated the same. The statistic quoted is also meaningless drivel.
    Proposal 10- Cyclists and other small wheeled forms of transport must comply with traffic lights. Not in there? Why not?

  27. What is the logic of transport devices having priority over cyclists on shared paths. From a health perspective surely we want people to be active.
    Also no logic in people on mobility devices not having to wear helmets but cyclists do. Let’s get rid of this helmet law. Maybe make it compulsory for under12 when on the road.

  28. As cyclists are no longer required to indicate if the don’t feel safe doing so, what methods are the rest of the road users able to use to navigate intersections safely whilst predicting movement, same goes for cyclists behind, passing turning cars? This is utterly dangerous. In 2 of the 3 cyclist deaths this week cyclists have been undertaking heavy vehicles(turning left) on their left. This is surely a time for non separate cycle lanes to merge with traffic, which doesn’t have to be done at the front of an Intersection, it could happen anywhere in the queue. This improves visability, and improves the certainty other road users have about the vector that said vehicles will take. Point on bikes and scooters on footpaths, new housing, possibly by regulation have front fences that block visability for those exiting driveways. This means those vehicles, incidentally void of speedometers, risk lateral impacts ( with no impact protection to brain) of 10~30 km/h with vehicles that can’t see along the footpath until the front of the windscreen is parallel to the front of their fence. Can I therefore request consideration of legislation that builds fences up to footpath level, or, that considerations are made differently fir suburban footpaths vs those in the middle of a cbd

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