Footpath Cycling Petition presented by MP Trevor Mallard

Hon Trevor Mallard Parliament WELLINGTON

Dear Mr Mallard

You recently presented a petition to Parliament proposing that children under 14 and their adult caregivers, and those over 65, should be permitted to cycle on the footpath, contrary to the current New Zealand Land Transport User Rules.

Living Streets Aotearoa urges you to consider the perspective of pedestrians (we are all pedestrians every day), and particularly, our most vulnerable citizens – young children, older people, and mobility and sensory impaired people, many of whom may be elderly. Cyclists on the footpath will present a hazard to them.

We do not support this proposal on the following grounds:

  • This would be against a basic principle to not compromise the safety of one group (pedestrians, and disabled people) to maybe improve the safety of another group (people riding bikes)1, 2, 3

  • Evidence suggests footpaths are not a safe place for children or adults to ride5,6,7.

“Moving cyclists to footpaths will not reduce the risk to the cyclist, but it will present new risks to pedestrians.”4

Living Streets Aotearoa supports safer roads for all with slower speeds in residential streets and shopping centres. A 30 km/hour speed limit in these areas would be safer for all road users8. Provision should be made for on-road separated cycle lanes, where traffic speed and volume make cycling less pleasant.

We urge you to reconsider your support for this initiative. Yours sincerely

Andy Smith
President, Living Streets Aotearoa



  1. Ker, I, Huband, A, Veith, G, & Taylor, J. Pedestrian-cyclist conflict minimisation on shared paths and footpaths. AustRoads, 2006.

  2. Oxley, J, Liu, S, Langford, J, Bleechmore, M, Guaglio, A. Road safety for pedestrians’ who are blind or have low vision. Monash University Accident Research Centre and Vision Australia, 2012.

  3. Wennburg H, Ståhl A, & Hydén C. Older pedestrians’ perceptions of the outdoor environment in a year-round perspective. European Journal of Ageing. 2009; 6(4):277-90.

  4. Victoria Walks. Footpaths are for feet: position statement. Melbourne, Vic.: Victoria Walks. Retrieved from: ent_FINAL[1].pdf (6 May 2016).

  5. Aultman,-Hall,l L, & Adams, M. 1998, "Sidewalk Bicycling Safety Issues". Transportation Research Record. 1998. 1636.

  6. Aultman,-Hall L, & Hall F. Ottawa-Carleton commuter cyclist on- and off-road incident rates. Accident Analysis & Prevention. 1998; 30(1): 29-43.

  7. Carlin, J, et al A case-control study of child bicycle injuries: relationship of risk to exposure. Accident Analysis & Prevention. 1995; 27(6): 839-844.

  8. Box, E. & Bayliss, D. Speed limits: A review of evidence. London: RAC Foundation, 2012.

    Retrieved from: mits-box_bayliss-aug2012.pdf (6 May 2016). 

About Us

Living Streets Aotearoa is the New Zealand organisation for people on foot, promoting walking-friendly communities. We are a nationwide organisation with local branches and affiliates throughout New Zealand.

We want more people walking and enjoying public spaces be they young or old, fast or slow, whether walking, sitting, commuting, shopping, between appointments, or out on the streets for exercise, for leisure or for pleasure.

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