Implementing mandatory high-vis gear for cyclists as suggested by Wellington coroner Ian Smith will have a chilling impact on international cycle tourists visiting NZ, the Green Party said today.
The suggestion to make high-vis compulsory was yesterday rubbished by cycle tourism blogger Russell Roca on twitter yesterday. 'Dear NZ, a sure way to end all bike TOURISM is with mandatory hi-vis for cyclists.'
"International cycle tourists will not come to New Zealand to use our cycle trails if they are forced to wear high-vis," said Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.
"Cycling is a healthy activity. Forcing people to wear fluorescent high-vis clothing sends the wrong message and will scare away valuable cycle tourism dollars.
"High-vis doesn't prevent fatalities, in the incident cited the person was wearing reflective strips and was using bike lights.
"Cities around the world which have high rates of cycling and safe cycling environments don't force people to wear high-vis.
"The best way to achieve a safe environment for people to cycle in is to normalise cycling as a mode of transport.
"We need to invest more in cycling infrastructure and better education for all road users about how to share the road.
"The National Government is spending over 100 times more on state highways than they are on walking and cycling. A small increase in investment in safer cycling infrastructure would result in a better outcome for all road users.
"Making it compulsory to use unsafe cycle lanes, like the one in Dunedin in which a cyclist was killed last year, is a recipe for disaster.