Roads are for People

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Opinion piece by Liz Mikklesen

It is assumed by the motoring population that all roads are there for cars, trucks and buses. For some time now Road Engineers in European countries have designed roads for the safe passage of people who walk, cycle, use mobility scooters, horse riders, motor cyclists and motor vehicles.
The Revocation Agreement signed by KCDC and NZTA states in point 3.4 (C): “Identify the level of service that will meet the network function of the road, as defined in the relevant asset management plans; this includes the identification of the appropriate provisions for walking and cycling facilities.” It sounds good but I am particularly concerned about NZTA already having said that a Clip-on shared pathway on Otaki River Bridge for foot traffic, mobility scooters and cycle traffic comes at too high a cost.
If we accept that our roads are for people, what will our council and NZTA suggest instead to keep everyone safe on the bridge? A stoplight could be installed that allows cyclists to pass first or a rail erected at the edge of the footpath to shield walkers, people in mobility scooter and cyclists from falling into the roadway? Where is our Community Board at on this issue?
How can we possibly accept that safety can be compromised for the cycling and walking population? Our district has a large retired population who are continually being asked by the medical profession to walk and cycle more.
If we are concerned about safety on construction sites, mines and in forestry, how can we ignore the position for cyclists when they are forced to share a narrow road and bridge with 70 to 100 kph traffic without any separation and less than a meter between vehicle and cyclist? There are clear rules of law of how to provide for safe cycling, make it happen now not in five years time.
Would you like to be able to take the bus one way to or from Waikanae and cycle the other? In Christchurch there are now buses that carry bicycles. I am informed by the Regional Council that a bus rack costs the pitiful amount of $2,000. Since our roads are similar to Christchurch’s, it has been said that no special trial would have to be done in Kapiti.
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