During the period 2008–12, an average of 121 cyclists were seriously injured and nine cyclists were killed each year in crashes involving a car. In up to 75 percent of all cyclist/vehicle crashes where a cyclist was hospitalised, car drivers were found to have primary responsibility for the crash.
Some motorists feel negatively towards people who cycle on the roads. They perceive them to be a nuisance on the road or an unnecessary intrusion on their space. They can also dissociate themselves from cyclists and don’t identify with them as a group. This is particularly dangerous because it can be used to justify behaviour, good and bad.
In addition, a ‘look-but-failed-to-see’ scenario exists where motorists might look in the direction of cyclists without registering them. The driver may have looked in the right direction but failed to give way, most likely since they did not expect them to be there.
After consulting with a number of key stakeholders, we developed a Share the Road campaign that targets motorists at the moment of truth.
While this campaign targets motorists we also talk directly to cyclists about sharing the road and being safe through many other existing channels including:
The campaign encourages road users to be courteous to each other and acknowledge that they’re not the only one on the road. To achieve this, our campaign is designed to personalise and humanise people cycling so that motorists see them as real people who have a right to share the road safely. We want drivers to see the person not simply the bike.
Safe cycling has been identified as an area of concern in Safer journeys: New Zealands’s road safety strategy 2010–2020.(external link) Safer journeys outlines a number of actions to reduce the crash risk for cyclists and one of these is to support existing regional and non-government initiatives by creating a national Share the Road campaign.
Several Share the Road campaigns currently take place at a local and regional level throughout the country. This new campaign taps into some of those themes and also provides a campaign other work can hook into. The campaign initially ran in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch with a view to expanding it to other regions after 2014/15.