New Zealand Law Society - Public consultation on footpath rule changes

Public consultation on footpath rule changes

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Consultation has opened on proposals for a collection of rule changes which aim to improve safety for footpath users and encourage active modes of transport.

The Accressible Streets Regulatory Package has been released by Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter..

Submissions close at 5pm on Wednesday, 22 April.

The proposal of for a new rule, Land Transport Rule: Paths and Road Margins 2020, along with proposed changes to the Land Transport Rule: Road User, Land Transport Rule: Traffic Control Devices, and Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits.

The stated objectives of the package are to:

  • Make footpaths, shared paths, cycle lanes, cycle paths and roads safer and more accessible.
  • Accommodate the increasing use of micro-mobility devices like e-scooters on streets and footpaths.
  • Encourage active modes of transport and support the creation of more liveable and vibrant towns and cities.
  • Make social and economic opportunities more accessible.
  • Make public transport (buses) and active transport modes such as walking or cycling safer and more efficient.

The proposed changes also seek to clarify the powers of road controlling authorities in regulating users, devices and spaces like the footpath. Proposed changes include:

  • Clarifying that pedestrians and people in wheelchairs have right of way on the footpath.
  • Putting in a speed limit of 15km/h (about running speed) and a width limit of 75cm for transport devices used on the footpath.
  • Allowing e-scooters and other transport devices to use cycle lanes.
  • Categorising vehicles to reflect changes in technology.
  • Improving the safety of people walking, cycling and using micro-mobility devices by clarifying a number of give way rules.
  • Giving  buses priority when exiting bus stops on roads with a speed limit of 60km/h or less.
  • Clarifying the powers of road controlling authorities in relation to parking on berms.

Ms Genter says a lot of parents have called for children to be able to cycle on the footpath so they can ride with confidence away from traffic.

"We want to know whether people support cycles being used on footpaths at low speeds, whether they think it should be limited only to kids under 16, or whether cycling should continue to be banned from footpaths."