A select committee has recommended that children under 12 be allowed to cycle on footpaths with an adult chaperon.

The recommendation comes after a Lower Hutt mum petitioned Parliament, after her kids' teacher was knocked off his bike. Children's safety is a worthy cause, but will it change anything?

It will remain illegal for adults to cycle on the footpath, although there will be exceptions for the elderly, and disabled.

It will come as a surprise to some that it is illegal to ride on the footpath. Because no self-respecting parent that I know has ever let their 5-year-olds rattle their trainer wheels on a road.


And as many parents will know, cycling on the footpath is no guarantee of safety. It sends shivers up my spine thinking of chasing after our 5-year-old, as he sped off down the footpath.

He was too young to understand the risk from cars exiting driveways, and we eventually banned him from footpaths and took him to a local school to ride his bike.

I ride my bike on the footpath occasionally, when it's not safe on the road.

I didn't realise I was breaking the law, and it's a rule that doesn't seem to be enforced.

The main risk on the road is traffic. Then there's the roads - some have cycle "lanes" that vanish, and some shared paths are too narrow for cyclists and pedestrians.

So any law change that eventually comes out of the select committee recommendation, what will it achieve?

It's questionable whether it will make cycling safer, given that most people use footpaths anyway, unaware that it is illegal. Other than tidying up a legal anomaly, is it solving a problem we don't have?

Until such time that cyclists have designated lanes to separate them from traffic, how else can we make cycling safe. Helmets are supposed to be mandatory, but there's another law that doesn't get enforced.

Placing your feet on your pedals will continue to require putting your life in your hands, legalising footpath cycling for some won't change that.