GO DUTCH AND STOP CHILD MURDER
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Two children died while cycling on New Zealand roads last year. One child died while cycling on a school journey just days after the election and another died while out cycling on a weekend. Another child was seriously injured while cycling home from school. This should not be happening. With a rising road toll, these sad deaths and injuries are concerning. Lucinda Rees from NZ School Speeds has set up a petition to urge the future Transport Minister to put rules in place that protect children on our roads as they did in the Netherlands in the 70s.
In the Netherlands parents combined as a pressure group in 1973 to campaign for safer roads for children calling it ‘Stop de Kindermoord’ (‘Stop the Child Murder’), after over 3000 people died on their roads, many of them children. This forced the hand of their Government to put rules in place and the now famous cycleways being built. The Netherlands is now a world leader in road safety and has one of the lowest road tolls per capita in the word.
“Here in New Zealand road safety panels have been set up and recommendations have been made, but little has been acted upon by our Government, leading to deaths of innocent road users. Not everyone can or wants to drive their children to school.” says Lucinda Rees, who with NZ School Speeds campaigns for consistent speed limits outside schools and safe roads for children.
“The driving culture needs to change and this will only come about if pedestrians and cyclists are welcomed on our roads, with rules that protect them.”
While it takes a long time to build cycle lanes, would the Transport Minister please consider introducing rules to make school journeys safer for children:
- A mandatory cyclist passing gap of 1 metre for vehicles travelling at up to 60km/h and 1.5 metres for vehicles traveling above 60km/h
- Consistent speed limits outside schools of 30km/h maximum at peak times as recommended by the World Health Organisation
Speed limits outside schools in rural areas can be up to 100km/h and we have no consistent speed limits outside schools at peak times. Children who walk or cycle to school should be guaranteed a safe speed limit outside schools, since it is a place where they are easily distracted.
Rees says: “There is a 20km/h school bus rule, but no consistent rule for the many children coming and going from school. These inconsistencies are unacceptable.
“Please stand up for our children and bring these simple yet important rules in place to make roads safe for all our vulnerable road users by changing the culture of drivers.
“Our thoughts are with all those involved in the recent deaths and injuries. We must stop child murder on our roads. Please help make this happen by signing the petition.”
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