Is the Govt going to protect cyclists?

  • 03/09/2015

The Government is being urged to follow through on a recommendation that cyclists should be protected by a mandatory minimum passing distance.

Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss announced on Wednesday it was under investigation, along with another recommendation from the Cycling Safety Panel on side under-run protection for trucks.

He says many of the panel's recommendations have been introduced, and it's time for "more complex" issues to be looked at.

Side under-run protection involves fitting guards to trucks so cyclists can't slide underneath them, and is compulsory in the European Union.

The Greens have been campaigning for a mandatory minimum passing distance and MP Julie Anne Genter has a member's bill in the ballot that would set one..

"It's vital that the Government follow through on this to protect people who cycle," she said.

"The Government also needs to invest more in safe, separated cycleways so that people on bicycles aren't forced into dangerous situations."

The panel released its recommendations last December.

It was set up following a coroner's report on a spate of cycle deaths.

Mr Foss has asked his ministry and the NZ Transport Agency to investigate a mandatory minimum passing distance and side under-run protection for trucks.

Between 2003 and 2012, 33 percent of urban cycle deaths involved trucks.

The panel didn't recommend a specific minimum passing distance, but noted that Queensland was running a pilot programme set at one metre.

Several American states have minimum passing distances of three or four feet, about the same as a metre.

Passing distances can differ depending on speed limits.

Mr Foss expects the investigation to be completed by mid to late 2016.

Safety measures which have been introduced include segregated cycle lanes and off-road cycle paths in popular cycling areas.