Cycling advocate says petition to require cyclist registration more about 'punishment' than road safety

A cycling advocate says a petition campaigning for cyclists to have a mandatory registration reads more like punishment than road safety.

The petition, signed by almost 4000 people at the time of writing, calls for cyclists to require a registration similar to that of a car.

"For too long, cyclists have refused to use the cycle lanes, they've broken road rules, even run red lights and because of these actions have injured small children, and infuriated thousands of New Zealanders," reads the petition, which is addressed to the Ministry of Transportation and Transport Minister Michael Wood.

"Unlike [all] other road users, cyclists don't have any sort of mandatory identification signal, they also don't pay any road user charges," it continues. 

"Hon Michael Wood & The Ministry of Transport need to realize that this issue is only going to get much worse until they make cyclists liable for their actions."

But Patrick Morgan, the project manager for Cycling Action Network (CAN), says the petition is "a tired trope that never dies".

"It has no support in evidence, logic or economics," he told Newshub.

"Can anyone explain how registration for motor-vehicle drivers has cut traffic offences and made our streets safe? The wording of the petition suggests this is about punishing people, not road safety."

Morgan says whenever cyclists make progress lobbying for improved infrastructure - citing the recent Harbour Bridge protest as an example - there is pushback.

"Sadly, some see this as a licence to abuse or endanger people on bikes. Getting abused or assaulted by someone in a car is not ok," he told Newshub. 

"It has a real and harmful effect."

On Sunday morning, two northbound lanes on Auckland's Harbour Bridge were closed as hundreds of cyclists joined a 'Liberate the Lanes' rally. The protesters are calling for a three-month trial of a cycle way on the eight-lane bridge, which is the primary gateway connecting Auckland's central and northern suburbs.