A cyclist left in a critical condition after a collision with a car this morning is one of many amid an increasing number of road deaths and serious injuries on Auckland roads.
Elite New Zealand cyclist Alexander Ray is unconscious in hospital fighting for his life after a collision with a car in Auckland this morning.
Ray was taken to Auckland City Hospital in a critical condition after being hit at 6am on the intersection of Morningside Dr and New North Rd.
Auckland faces road safety crises
Since 2013, there has been a 37 per cent increase in fatalities, and in the past three years Auckland's deaths and serious injuries (DSI) have increased at almost triple the rate of the rest of New Zealand.
Waitematā Local Board Chair Pippa Coom said there were a variety of reasons for this increase.
"There are a lot of inappropriate speeds in Auckland. We have roads that are designed for high speeds but we have an increasing number of people using them," she said.
"There is an increase in the interaction between different road users and reduced enforcements - so police have fewer resources to enforce things such as red light running or speeding.
"There are also factors around infrastructure and design not being safe. We have more people walking and cycling on roads, but the infrastructure isn't adequate."
Coom attended the Local Government Road Safety Summit in Wellington on April 9, where councils discussed what actions they could take that would have the greatest enduring effect on road safety and influence the Government's planning for road safety.
"We need to prioritise road safety, which hasn't been happening in Auckland," Coom said.
She said that meant accepting slower speeds, and designing streets differently.
"The Government has come up with the draft policy statement on land transport, which is about the funding which is going to be available, and that is prioritising safety which is fantastic.
"That will put more funding into local roads, where the majority of trips are and the majority of deaths and serious injuries take place, and putting more funding into walking, cycling and public transport.
"So when you have all those things funded, that will help."
She said an emphasis on safe walkways and cycleways was a necessary step forward.
"Absolutely we want more people walking and cycling and using public transport because that is good for the city and will help congestion, health, pollution and local economy," she said.
"We want that to happen, but to do that we know separation is absolutely key. Investing in separated facilities like cycleways is where we have seen big growth.
"People want to cycle when they feel safe and have a network to cycle on that will take them where they want to go. A lot more people would like to beat the traffic and have a congestion-free way of getting to work, but they need to feel safe while they are doing that."
Coom said Auckland Council also needed to adopt a Vision Zero approach.
"Vision Zero is the idea that there shouldn't be any deaths on our roads.
"It is an ethical principle that no loss of life is acceptable. It is an aspirational goal to have zero fatalities or serious injuries, but once you take into account that you should be working towards no loss of life, then you do design things differently, such as slower speeds, more enforcement and education," she said.
"It means you design everything on the basis that you accept that people will make mistakes, but they shouldn't die if they do.
"With Vision Zero we know that it works. With cities that have adopted it, like New York, have seen their deaths and serious injuries come down, so even adopting it as a city will show results."
During the Summit, Caroline Perry from Brake road safety charity addressed the trauma confronting NZ families due to the sudden, violent and needless deaths of loved ones in road crashes.
In calling on Local Government to take action on road safety and in support of NZ adopting Vision Zero, Caroline quoted Martin Luther King saying, "The time is always right to do what is right".
Following the Summit, Cycling Action Network submitted a petition to Genter urging local authorities to build more safe bike infrastructure, educate drivers about sharing the roads, and slowing traffic on urban and rural streets.
The petition has received 11,900 signatures.