How can we make sure that cyclists are kept safe on roads?
In Wellington, cyclists and bus drivers have swapped seats in a bid to highlight the safety implications of sharing the road and the steps that can be taken to ensure safety remains a top priority.
Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Travel Choice team recently joined NZBus to run a Wellington workshop where cyclists and bus drivers switched seats to feel what it is like to ride in each other’s shoes. This was to highlight how cyclists must feel safe, and the safety implications bus drivers may overlook when sharing the road with cyclists.
Greater Wellington Travel Choice Coordinator, Amelia Wilkins, said the workshop was a big learning curve for both the drivers and the volunteer cyclists who attended.
“Bus drivers had the chance to experience what it’s like cycling next to large vehicles, while the regular bike riders saw first-hand why they should never undertake a bus. The left-hand side is almost a complete blind-spot for the driver. The key message was if you can’t see the driver in their mirrors, then the driver probably can’t see you.”
Pedal Ready instructors ran a cycle skills session as part of the workshop to ensure drivers felt safe and confident on their bikes.
Greater Wellington Sustainable Transport Committee Chair, Barbara Donaldson, said this kind of workshop is invaluable to both cyclists and drivers.
“We want to encourage more people out of cars and onto both public transport as well as sustainable modes of transport so it is important that everyone feels safe and confident on our roads.”
Driver trainer Nigel Hefford, who was a competitive cyclist for many years, said this type of workshop was hugely beneficial for both drivers and cyclists, he highlighted the dangers of sharing the road with larger vehicles.
“I have been passed by heavy vehicles that have cut so close that they touched my handlebars,” he said. It is important to ensure that experiences on the road do not deter people from taking to the streets on their bikes.