After the week or two from hell last November when five people riding bikes were killed on our roads, Transport Minister Stephen Joyce asked for reports from officials on what could/should be done. Officials had some good ideas, but reminded the Minister that he had ranked cycle safety as a medium priority, in contrast to his top priority of reducing congestion (= building more roads), and therefore, that unless he wanted to change his priorities, there was no money to do anything more about cycle safety. he declined to change his priorities. It was on Morning Report this morning
Here's my media release about it, but, frankly, you can probably imagine what I think about Government prioritising time-saving over saving lives, so you don't need to read it.
Govt puts new motorways ahead of road safety
New Zealanders will be shocked and horrified that the Minister of Transport sees increasing the speed and flow of cars as a higher priority than improving safety for people riding bikes, said the Green Party today.
A New Zealand Transport Agency report on cycle safety shows that there are funding constraints in the transport sector and ‘congestion reduction’ has been prioritised ahead of road safety.
Green Party spokesperson on walking and cycling, Kevin Hague, said that it was a particularly twisted set of priorities that valued human life lower than time-saving.
“The irony is that the Government’s new and expensive motorways are not going to reduce congestion. Making it easier and cheaper to drive at peak hour will just result in more people driving.
“Making it safer and more attractive to cycle is actually a much more cost-effective way to reduce congestion than widening roads.
“It would also save New Zealanders a lot of money to have the choice to take their bicycles, and be better for the economy and public health.
“The Minister's claim that reducing congestion improves safety is also entirely baseless, as wider roads result in increased traffic speeds off-peak, and higher speeds are riskier for those in and out of cars.
“Safety isn’t just about road rules and culture — it has a lot to do with engineering. If the New Zealand Transport Agency doesn’t make safety a priority, we are guaranteed to have more tragic accidents, often the result of people unintentionally driving dangerously because of the road design.
“Safer cycling and walking is a smarter way to spend our transport dollars.
“We can have safer, cheaper and greener ways of getting around — but for that to happen the Government needs to change its funding priorities to look after people, not just the trucking lobby,” said Mr Hague.
what to expect from a national government hell bent on more roads for more cars because as we all know, building bigger roads always leads to less congestion . . . . .
bike riders are just poor people who cant afford cars and are probably unemployed single mothers and smoke and drink and eat unhealthy food so they don't matter much . . . . and roads are for cars anyway.
I heard the 'minister' the other day on national programme - he sounded very self satisfied - shame no one was invited on to stick it to him about the fact the bigger roads don't work . . . .
ha. they could sell all the sealed roads to a private company who could remove the bridges, crash barriers, and seal and then sell them back to the government and geta knighthood for services to the country . . . .
Sorry I'm a bit ignorant on history. Was that the story of NZ Rail being asset stripped by Toll Holdings then what was left of the tracks sold back to the govt for a dollar, a handjob and a knighthood?
It would nice if someone could manoever Stephen Joyce into also erevealing where the govt's commitment to lower CO2 emissions "a tiny bit by whenever" comes in his priority list.