28 Sep 2016

Mother continues push to make cycling on footpath legal for kids

From Nine To Noon, 9:29 am on 28 September 2016

A Lower Hutt mother is a step closer to getting the law changed so children can cycle on the footpath.

Jo Clendon has successfully petitioned Parliament's transport select committee to look into the matter and it is now asking the public for submissions.

Lower Hutt mother Jo Clendon is pushing for a law change allowing children to cycle on the footpath,

Lower Hutt mother Jo Clendon is pushing for a law change allowing children to cycle on the footpath. Photo: RNZ / Aaron Smale

Most Australian states allow children to cycle legally on the footpath, but age limits vary by state.

In New Zealand, it's illegal for anyone to ride on the footpath unless they are delivering mail or newspapers, or riding a bike with wheels less than 355mm diameter. That would typically be a child's tricycle or small bike.

Ms Clendon told Nine to Noon there was widespread lack of knowledge about footpath cycling law in New Zealand.

"Most people don't realise it's illegal. Certainly most children don't realise it's illegal. The Office of the Children's Commissioner did a survey and found 70 percent of kids didn't realise it was illegal."

Parents had told her police officers were taking a variety of approaches and some children were told off.

"It's really mixed. I spoke to our local constable who goes into the schools and said 'what's the deal?' and he said 'oh it's something we turn a blind eye to unless someone gets hurt'.

"But other parents have told me their kids have been told off by the police. And kids are so law abiding that would just shatter them.

"It's about taking away a law that's antiquated and silly... and doesn't provide any protection when things do go wrong."

The deadline for submissions to the select committee is 12 October.

Related links

  • How old is safe to bike to school?
  • Allow kids to cycle on footpaths, mother urges