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Now, why would you not use Safe T Shell?

More than 700 pedestrians and 200 cyclists are hospitalised annually as a result of motor vehicle related crashes. Many of these are school age cyclists and pedestrians. In addition, on average, 57 people per year are killed after being hit by vehicles, many walking to and from school.

School uniforms are often grey or dark colours and the most popular colour for school bags is black, making it difficult for drivers to see the child, especially walking on country roads and cycling.

It is compulsory for contractors working on the road to wear a high visibility vest. It is also common practice for truck and emergency service drivers to wear high-visibility clothing because they often step out onto the road. Therefore why do we not take the same precautions with our children? The answer is until now, there has not been a practical, cost effective alternative.

Now cyclists and pedestrians have the Safe T Shell. A New Zealand designed fluro & reflective cover that slips over a school bag or small pack, ensuring motorists see us and our children – from up to several hundred metres!

Where “cool” is a large part of a child’s clothing and school bag choice, a bright top or bag would not be something they would like to be seen in throughout the day at school. However the SafeTShell will give them high visibility on their journey to and from school and then be tucked away for the day, thus not affecting their fashion choices in the playground.

In addition, because Safe T Shell is made of Showerproof Nylon, it offers the added advantage of getting the school bag and its contents to school dry, even on the wettest days!

NZ Government Road Safety Strategy

The draft strategy to increase walking and cycling in New Zealand included the following PRIORITIES FOR ACTION:

FOCUS FOUR: Improve safety and security for those who walk and cycle

Improving safety requires us to address the risks pedestrians and cyclists face from traffic and from the transport infrastructure... Taking a risk or danger reduction approach can enable safety outcomes to be improved while also improving safety perceptions for walking and cycling, and access and mobility for cyclists and pedestrians.

Currently, nearly one in seven road fatalities in New Zealand involves a pedestrian or cyclist. Most fatalities and many serious injuries occur when a pedestrian or cyclist is involved in a crash with a motor vehicle.

While road fatalities and hospitalisations are reducing for pedestrians and cyclists, this is not occurring as quickly as for motor vehicle users - particularly when decreasing use of these modes is taken into account. Nor are gains being made evenly across all groups. For example, children remain at higher risk that many other age groups.

For pedestrians, those living in larger urban centres, and those living in lower socio-economic neighbourhoods - where people often walk more - feature highly in injury statistics. Maori and Pacific Island peoples are over-represented in these communities and also feature more highly in pedestrian injury statistics.

Poorly designed and maintained infrastructure can also pose risks for pedestrians and cyclists. For example, inadequate design or maintenance of footpaths, cycle ways and the main carriage-way can increase their risk of falling. For child cyclists, the cycle itself can also contribute to risk if it is inappropriate for the rider. Currently, limited information is available on non-motor vehicle related injuries in New Zealand, and prevention strategies to address these have received less focus.

The government's Road Safety Strategy to 2010 identifies the need to improve road safety for pedestrians and cyclists. The strategy promotes a multi-faceted engineering, enforcement and education approach, and recognises that safety efforts must support and encourage increased use of walking and cycling. This requires improving safety perceptions as well as actual safety, because of the impact of safety perceptions on people's transport choices.

Achieving these multiple objectives is likely to best be achieved by addressing the risks or dangers cyclists and pedestrians may face as they move about their communities (i.e. improving the overall safety of the environment in which they walk or cycle), rather than simply focusing narrowly on reducing actual numbers of crashes or injuries. This approach will help improve safety perceptions of walking and cycling, and avoid achieving reductions in crashes and injuries at the expense of access and mobility - for example, a road appearing `safe' on a crash data basis because pedestrians simply no longer dare to cross it.

Pedestrians and cyclists in road crashes*
  • Over the last five years, an average of around 54 pedestrians and 13 cyclists have died annually in crashes with motor vehicles on New Zealand's public roads. Together pedestrians and cyclists account for 14% of all road fatalities.
  • More than 700 pedestrians and 200 cyclists are hospitalised annually as a result of motor vehicle related crashes.
  • On urban roads (roads with speed limits of 70 kph or under) pedestrians and cyclists make up 35% of road fatalities.
  • Crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists most often occur on relatively busy urban roads (collectors and arterials).
*Based on information provided by the Land Transport Safety Authority

Desired outcome

There will be improved road safety outcomes for pedestrians and cyclists - including for those in high risk groups and communities. The road environment will be perceived as safe for cyclists and pedestrians.

How?

International and local experience indicates that the following types of actions will help achieve this outcome:

  • Road safety programmes to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety incorporate an appropriate mix of engineering, enforcement and education strategies, within a risk/danger reduction framework.
  • High priority is placed on safety efforts to reduce safety inequities among those who already walk and cycle and those with the least transport choices, as well as on building safety into efforts to increase use of the modes.
  • A clear picture is established of the scope, and basic injury picture (who, where, when, how; circumstances of injury; key risk factors) associated with infrastructure related safety issues for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Cycle and pedestrian 'best practice' guidelines are incorporated into the safety management systems and asset management plans of road controlling authorities.
  • Opportunities are provided for effective pedestrian and cycle safety education, appropriate for the range of people using these modes.
  • Information, practical advice, instruction and encouragement is provided to motorists on the needs and rights of pedestrians and cyclists in the road environment and how they can 'share the road' safely with these modes.
  • Road safety enforcement policies and strategies effectively address pedestrian and cycle safety issues, particularly in urban areas.
  • Potential impacts on pedestrians and cyclists are adequately considered during the setting and review of vehicle standards.
Cycling is healthy, good for the environment and an extremely efficient mode of transport over short distances. In cities, cycling is often the fastest way of getting from point A to point B.

Cyclists are a legitimate part of the traffic and are entitled to their fair share of the roadway.

But injury rates per user are much greater than for car drivers.

Most road crashes involving cyclists occur at intersections. In these crashes, the cyclist is always the party to be injured even if they were not at fault.

Rates of injury

In 2002, 768 cyclists were injured and 14 killed in road crashes.

Unlike other modes of transport, the levels of injury per kilometre have not reduced.

  • Wear an approved and well-fitting helmet. This is compulsory.
  • Wear safety gear, such as high visibility vests, good footwear and covering for the arms and legs.
  • Make sure you and your bicycle are visible.
  • Ensure your bicycle is in good order. Make a habit of checking your bike’s brakes and tyre pressure regularly.
  • Comply with the road rules. Cyclists are not exempt. Obey stop signs and traffic lights.
  • Be predictable. Let other drivers know with signals and positioning where you are going and what you intend to do.
  • Always have a good look before changing direction. Check for vehicles and for road hazards such as gratings, road markings, etc.
  • Before overtaking parked vehicles, check for drivers and look behind. Where possible leave the width of a car door between you and the vehicle being overtaken.
Related links

For further advice, the following links may be of help. Please note that the standards of other countries will be different from those in New Zealand.

Cycle Safety Features and Safety Rules (LTSA) http://www.ltsa.govt.nz/factsheets/01.html
Safe Cycling (LTSA) http://www.ltsa.govt.nz/road-user-safety/cyclists/index.html
Health Sponsorship Council’s bikewise site for parents and kids http://www.bikewise.co.nz/
RoadSafe Auckland http://www.roadsafeauckland.org.nz (information on cycling is in the ‘Priority Areas’ section)
Cycling Advocates Network http://www.can.org.nz
Cycle Safety: Checklist for Parents (SafeKids) http://www.kidsafe.org.nz/2000/resources/streetskills.html. Also checklist for councils at: http://www.kidsafe.org.nz/2000/resources/checklist.html and key facts at: http://www.kidsafe.org.nz/2000/factsheets/cycle.html