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Thursday, March 4

Lower speeds mean fewer fatalities- Greens says


The Government should take action to protect the most vulnerable road users — pedestrians and cyclists — by lowering urban speed limits, the Green Party said today.

“The most obvious way to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists is to lower urban speed limits but this initiative is way down the list of priorities for this Government,” said Green Party Transport spokesperson, Gareth Hughes.

“The Government has a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable road users from harm, especially when, in most cases, they are not to blame.”

A child hit at 30 km/h has a 90% chance of survival. If they are hit by a vehicle travelling at 60 km/h, their chances of survival fall dramatically to 15%.

“A simple law change requiring motorists to give cyclists at least 1.5 metres of passing space would also encourage drivers to drive more carefully around vulnerable cyclists,” Mr Hughes added.

The Green Party will push ahead with plans to change the law by introducing a Member’s Bill along these lines to promote safety for cyclists.

“Roads will be safer if we’re driving at lower speeds and driving less. The Government needs to look at the bigger picture of transport safety and invest accordingly,” said Mr Hughes.

“By investing only 15% of the transport budget into walking, cycling, buses, and trains, they are never going to provide people with a viable alternative to driving. And driving is the most dangerous way to get around.”

As many people die as a result of pollution from road vehicles as are killed on New Zealand’s roads directly. In addition, greater reliance on cars as our primary means of transport is exacerbating our current obesity epidemic.

“A wider vision for road safety — one that incorporates indirect as well as direct casualties from transport — will invest more heavily in alternative, safer modes of travel.”

“This Government lacks the vision to address the ‘hidden’ road toll that their singular focus on driving has created.”