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Making cycling a safer and more attractive transport choice is a key priority for the Transport Agency. We are committed to improving the safety of all road users and to encourage more people to get about by bike.

New research underway

Intersection safety

The AA and NZTA are jointly funding research, beginning in February 2017, into ways to make intersections safer and more comfortable for cyclists and motorists. A pilot study will begin in February 2017.

This innovative research will pilot a new methodology that will take video footage at peak hours from four urban intersections – two each in Wellington and Auckland. They will be intersections with high numbers of cyclists and vehicle movements so that the number of interactions is maximised.

By analysing the interactions we can start to better understand how to educate motorists and cyclists, and design intersections to make them safer and more comfortable for all users.

Encouraging behaviour change between motorists and cyclists

The NZ Transport Agency commissioned TRA to help form a better understanding of both motorists’ and cyclists perceptions and attitudes when it comes to cycling and sharing the road. This included a more detailed understanding of some specific behaviours from both motorists and drivers that help keep people on bikes safe. 

View the full report, conducted by TRA. [PDF, 3 MB]

View the infographic  of the research. [PDF, 321 KB]

Insight to better understand the causes of bikelash

The NZ Transport Agency commissioned Empathy to help better understand the causes of bikelash.

Empathy utilised a human-centred design process, engaging in in-depth conversations to gather insights from urban New Zealand communities . Through this process they identified opportunities to help shape engagement planning and the approach local councils take to cycleway projects.

This report outlines Empathy’s findings and introduces high-level recommendations for the Transport Agency and local councils to explore.

View the full report, conducted by Empathy. [PDF, 9.1 MB]

Regulations and safety for electric bicycles and other low-powered vehicles

The NZ Transport Agency commissioned ViaStrada to research standards and safety for low -powered vehicles (LPVs) worldwide.

This research report presents a review of overseas legislation, technology trends, market and safety analyses for low-powered, low-speed vehicles.

These vehicles include electric bicycles, mobility scooters, self-balancing devices and other personal mobility or wheeled recreational devices.

Current New Zealand LPV legislation is based only on motor power and how certain LPVs may be used. In all other countries reviewed, top motor-assisted speed is regulated.

The report assesses various regulatory and non-regulatory options for improving safety while supporting technological innovation and mode choice options in New Zealand.

View the full report, conducted by ViaStrada (external link)

Towards a safe system for cycling

The NZ Transport Agency engaged Mackie Research to investigate the development and application of a cycling safety system model preparing New Zealanders for utility cycling.

Making urban cycling a safer and more attractive transport choice is now a NZ Transport Agency strategic priority. Currently, road trauma for cycling is lower than other modes; however, unless a safer system for cyclists is developed, including more effective cycling education, an increase in road trauma is likely with increased investment and promotion.

The research first identified key cycle safety interventions through the development and application of a cycling safety system model. The development of this model, a first
for New Zealand, was informed by contemporary models of crash causation, which examined distal and proximal crash causation factors. Key findings were the need for a strong mandate and strategic direction for cycling, and improved systems to provide for cyclists in road design.

Second, the report provides guidance on how best to prepare New Zealanders for utility cycling, drawing on key literature and engagement with stakeholders and end users. The need for consistent and comprehensive approaches, involving a variety of initiatives and touch points over the course of people’s lives, were indicated.

Together, these two distinctly different, yet complementary, pieces of work provide actionable
recommendations that can improve safety for cyclists and facilitate increased cycling uptake.

View the full report, conducted by Mackie Research (external link)

Cycling safety research

Three investigative research projects have been completed. They are recommendations within the Cycling Safety Panel Report and actions in the Transport Agency’s Cycling Safety Action Plan: Making Cycling Safer and More Attractive [PDF, 418 KB]. The action plan outlines the work we are doing to deliver on the Cycling Safety Panel recommendations.

Investigating minimum overtaking gaps in NZ

The NZ Transport Agency engaged Opus Research to investigate the feasibility and possible implications of introducing mandatory minimum overtaking gaps for cyclists, together with a behaviour change programme encouraging motorists to give a safe overtaking gap when passing people on bikes.

The trialling of mandatory minimum overtaking distances for motor vehicles overtaking cyclists was a key recommendation of the New Zealand Cycle Safety Panel to develop practical and innovative recommendations for how central and local government can work together to make cycling a safer transport option for all road users.

The Opus research will help to inform decisions on whether to proceed with a trial of mandatory minimum overtaking distances. This investigation will increase our understanding of what safe passing distances are, and how they could be trialled.

Download the full report, conducted by Opus Research [PDF, 4 MB]

Investigating footpath cycling

As part of a wider review of cycling-related road user rules, the NZ Transport Agency engaged Abley Transportation Consultants and Mackie Research to undertake research to support potential options for possible footpath cycling law changes.

Many younger cyclists do not know it is illegal to ride on the footpath and almost all cyclists will use the footpath, to a greater or lesser extent, often as the only feasible option in response to road environments that seem unsafe. There are risks however associated with footpath cycling for both pedestrians and cyclists. With the current laws, cycle skills trainers and others cannot openly reinforce safe footpath cycling. In addition, there is no technical basis for the current footpath cycling rule, which is based on wheel diameter. For many people, it is unclear how the rule should be applied.

The goal of the research was not to prescribe new footpath rules but rather to outline the considerations and evidence for footpath cycling rule options.

Download the full report, conducted by Abley Transportation Consultants and Mackie Research [PDF, 2.4 MB]

Download the Footpath Cycling - Rule Options Research Addendum to Report (November 2016) [PDF, 766 KB]

Investigating road user rules for people walking and cycling

The NZ Transport Agency engaged MWH and ViaStrada to investigate options for amendments to several give-way related road user rules.

Around half of all urban cycling injuries occur at intersections. Providing safe and convenient cycling infrastructure through intersections can be challenging. The Transport Agency commissioned research into several rules affecting cycling and pedestrian flow through intersections. This complements the Transport Agency’s development of network design guidance.

The research, which will be used to inform policy advice regarding potential rule changes, investigated the likely impacts of:

  • giving pedestrians right-of-way over turning traffic when crossing side roads
  • giving cyclists right-of-way over turning traffic where separated cycling facilities cross side roads
  • allowing cyclists to use a left turning lane while riding straight ahead
  • allowing cyclists to undertake slow moving traffic
  • allowing cyclists to lane split when filtering to the front of a queue of traffic
  • allowing cyclists to turn left (and/or ride across the top of a T intersection) despite being faced with a red light.

Download the full report, conducted by MWH and ViaStrada. [PDF, 3 MB]

Urban New Zealanders attitudes and perceptions of cycling

The national cycling programme recently conducted a survey of attitudes to and perceptions of cycling among people who live in our main urban centres, to help track progress toward our goal to make cycling a safer and more attractive transport option. The research undertaken found information that confirms significant customer demand for the choice to cycle, and for better cycling networks to make cycling a much safer and more attractive choice than it is now. The research also found the many kiwis already own or have access to bikes and use them to get about town.

Download a summary of urban New Zealanders attitudes and perceptions of cycling [PDF, 628 KB]

Download the full research report, conducted by Research New Zealand. [PDF, 1 MB]

NZTA research reports

report no.

Improving safety for people who cycle on rural roads

537 Improving the cost-benefit analysis of integrated PT, walking and cycling
510 Evaluation of the C-roundabout an improved multi-lane roundabout design for cyclists
457 Determination of personal exposure to traffic pollution while travelling by different modes
449 Assessment of the type of cycling infrastructure required to attract new cyclists
439 Generation of walking, cycling and public transport trips: pilot study
435 Walking and cycling: improving combined use of physical activity/health and transport data
432 Minimum design parameters for cycle connectivity
426 'I'll just take the car' Improving bicycle transportation to encourage its use on short trips
418 Forecasting the benefits from providing an interface between cycling and public transport
414 Bike Now: Encouraging cycle commuting in New Zealand
389 Cycle Safety: Reducing the Crash Risk
380 'I want to ride my bike' - overcoming barriers to cycling to intermediate schools
359 Valuing the health benefits of active modes
340 Estimating demand for new cycle facilities in New Zealand
338 Developing school based cycle trains in New Zealand
294 Increasing cycling and walking: an analysis of readiness to change
289 Predicting accident rates for cyclists and pedestrians
287 Multi-lane roundabout designs for cyclists
274 New Zealand walking and cycling strategies – best practice
287 Multi-lane roundabout designs for cyclists
273 Balancing the needs of cyclists and motorists
230 Evaluation of automatic bicycle counters in New Zealand
211 Role of road features in cycle-only crashes in New Zealand
180 Cycle audit and cycle review: A scoping study
007 Cycle use and collisions in Christchurch