*(Those were requested submissions and you can read each by clicking on the link).
What do you think?
Do you think the law should be changed? why?
Do you agree with age 14, or would you propose some other age?
Do you agree with the bells on bikes provision or would you propose some other ‘share with care’ provisions?
Do you think we need to do more to protect all footpath users from the hazards of cars entering and exiting driveways unsafely?
Do you think our kids can be trusted to share with care?
To have your say you can write a submission. It can be as brief as a paragraph or two, or you can make it longer if you have a lot to say. Anyone can make a submission, so maybe your kids will want to have their say too. The kids at Rata Street School did just that in their submission. You’ll also have the option of speaking to your submission: that is entirely optional, and it doesn’t necessarily mean travelling to Wellington so don’t let that put you off.
How to make a submission
To find out how to make a submission follow this link. You can make a submission online.
For more general information about making a submission to a select committee, follow this link.
What should you say?
Tell your story in your words: why do you want the law changed?Why do you think our kids should be allowed to cycle on the footpath?What difference will it make to you and your family?
Why do you think our kids can handle this responsibility?
What do you think are the consequences of not giving families this option?
How does the current law impact you and your kids?
You may wish to include a photo of your child(ren) cycling.
Fear is the enemy
There is some opposition, as you may have seen or heard by way of letters to the newspaper or talkback radio callers. They are typically older persons fearful of being knocked down by a bunch of unruly child cyclists. These are people with time on their hands and are likely to be vocal and well represented in making submissions. They will talk up the fear.
We need to keep it clear that: Although there is good evidence to suggest that although their worries are real, the actual risks are low. And it is easier to educate children about sharing with care if we make cycling on the footpath a legitimate option.
There are also those who will say ‘footpaths are for feet’. A good response to that is that footpaths are for people. People on foot, people on mobility scooters, little people in buggies, on scooters or on bikes. People jogging, people walking their dogs. People in wheelchairs, with canes or walking frames. All people, large and small. And the more people out there using the footpath, the safer it will be for everyone, because drivers will have to learn that footpaths are for people, and they need to look out for them and take appropriate care when entering and exiting their driveways.
So what can you do to help?
Please make your voice heard: make a submission. Our politicians need to know that there are plenty of people out there who have faith in our ability to help our kids cycle responsibly on the footpath. That way fear and anger won’t win out.
For some more ideas around what you could say, check out the following resources:
For reference: Here is the original petition wording of what I requested from parliament:
That the House recommend a change to the New Zealand Road Rules to allow cycling on the footpath by children under 14 years of age (and accompanying adults), seniors over the age of 65, and vulnerable users (such as those with mental or physical disabilities); make bells mandatory for any bicycle used on footpaths or shared use paths; and allow local authorities to exclude, on a reasonable basis, certain areas of footpath from being used for cycling.
You don’t have to agree with it all, just submit on what you think. Democracy works best when people take part – and that includes you and your kids. So please take 5 or 10 minutes to have your say.
Remember submissions close on 12 October 2016, so act now please!