In a NZTA article “Planning for State Highways”, is the following mission statement:
In our experience the NZTA is not meeting the terms of it own mission statement.
David, who runs Cycle Tour New Zealand wrote:
My Letter to Touring Cyclists
“ ....... We rode 1,950 km from Cape Reinga earlier this year.
We got as far south as Hokitika before being chased off the road by big trucks and New Zealand drivers.
About 90% of the riding we did was on the State Highway system. The cycle trails are few and far between.
Many elements of the infrastructure are in poor shape and dangerous to negotiate. We were scared for our lives when we crossed the Manawatu River.
We were allowed to cross on an old bridge and did so. Later I found in the small print of a government publication the statement:
Why were we allowed to ride it then?
When I discussed the issue with New Zealanders, all too often the responses went something like this:
“We’re a small country with rugged terrain and we’re rebuilding as fast as we can”!
That’s true, but not reason to forego the health and safety of visiting cyclists ... Alan”
Touring Cyclist's Response
Death of a Cyclist in Hastings, April 2017
A German immigrant doctor was recently killed in a collision with a truck while riding his bicycle in Hastings. (See below).
His wife, also a German immigrant doctor, is to return to Germany.
Helmut Gromer lost his life and Ursula Steinkol lost her friend and husband.
New Zealand is now faced with the difficult task of replacing two highly trained doctors. That will be expensive. Everyone lost.
NZTA Response to Safety Suggestions
On April 9, 2017 the New Zealand Transport Agency responded to suggestions I made to them. Below is an annotated copy of the NZTA response:
What about like instances of violations of health and safety standards in the New Zealand Transport Agency infrastructure network? There are too many to list.
What about the precedents set following the Cave Creek disaster in which fourteen people died. The repercussions following the inquiry were far reaching.
Dennis Marshall, the then minister of the Department of Conservation, lost his portfolio. But most importantly, New Zealand government departments are no longer above the law.
Is Simon Bridges, the current Minister of Transport aware of the New Zealand Transport Agency health and safety policy?
One of the conditions of my employment as Construction Director on large construction projects in North America was to report observations of Health and Safety incidents. The approach to Health and Safety in New Zealand is no different.
There are many New Zealanders who disagree with my protest.
Graeme Williams in Tauranga wrote:
Susan Hutcheons in Auckland wrote:
Gay Galway in Nelson wrote:
I doubt that my family members are experts on bicycling New Zealand roads. In fact many of them would have trouble mounting a bike in the first place.
The Health and Safety of others is the responsibility of us all, nationals, foreign nationals and governments.
I believe that many New Zealanders and the New Zealand Government are in denial in this regard.
I am not proud to call myself a New Zealander right now and returned my passport and driver’s licence to the New Zealand government.
On May 3, 17 this document was delivered to Tim Macindoe, an Associate Minister of Transport, for consideration.
On Oct 21, 17 the New Zealand Transport Agency took a step in the right direction. Click here to see read their statement.
What about the Lewis Pass, the Kapiti Coast, the West Coast Road, the Desert Road and the dangerous section from Kawitiri Junction to Gowan Road?
The New Zealand Tranport Agency operates dangerous infrastructure.
As have others, we noted that there were few Kiwi touring cyclists on the State Highways. New Zealanders know that tour cycling on the State Highways is dangerous, as does the New Zealand Government. The advertising aimed at overseas tourists in the ‘100% pure New Zealand’ series, is misleading. Perhaps a line stating that cycling on the State Highways is unsafe and not recommended? Somehow I think that New Zealand’s quest for tourist dollars will overcome any ethical concerns New Zealanders might have.
However, given the will do do so, there are many low-cost options that could be implemented to minimize the risk to the agency and save to lives.
Click here to see what New Zealand can do.