Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Cycling rule changes welcomed

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New government safety rules around cycling will be introduced on December 1.
New government safety rules around cycling will be introduced on December 1.

New cycling safety measures should save lives, but all road users need to take responsibility for safety on the roads, according to Rotorua deputy mayor and cycling advocate Dave Donaldson.

A range of regulatory changes, combined with record investment, will further improve cycle safety this summer, Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss announced this week.

"Cycling is an increasingly popular mode of transport, pastime and sport.

"It's also a vital part of a safe, sustainable, connected and integrated transport system," Mr Foss said.

"The Government is making a range of regulatory changes to help ensure cyclists stay safe on our roads, and that all road users are aware of their responsibilities."

From December 1 changes to the Road User Rule will come into force and will allow drivers to use "flush medians" - striped lines in the middle of a road - when passing cyclists.

It will also see an increase to the minimum distance that cycle lights must be visible to others and extend the period of time when cycle lights must be used.

An extension to intersection give-way and stop sign rules to places where cycle paths or shared paths cross roads and formal recognition of shared lane road markings used to indicate where cyclists should ride to remain visible to others will also be enforced.

Mr Donaldson said the changes made good sense, but safe cycling was a "two-way street".

"While it is very unsettling, especially for a novice cyclist, when a vehicle overtakes them from behind, allowing the flush median to give cyclists a wide berth is a good idea.

"But, there is still an onus on cyclists to be visible and attract the attention of the motorist, we are always focusing on cyclists to be bright and be seen."

Mr Donaldson said it was particularly relevant in Rotorua with the increasing numbers of cyclists on the roads, which was another good reason to keep up momentum on the council's urban Cy-Way project.

"Everyone has to share the road and be responsible," he said.

Mr Foss said the regulatory changes were part of the Government's broad package of work addressing the recommendations of the Cycling Safety Panel.

"Transport officials continue to explore the feasibility of minimum overtaking distances, rules around cycling on footpaths, and regulations for e-bikes and low-powered vehicles.

"Further changes are on the way to encourage trucks to use side cameras and close-proximity monitoring systems.

"These devices increase awareness of other road users and can help improve the safety of cyclists and pedestrians."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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