A petition has been set up on change.org by a Tauranga father and daughter for wider bike lanes, less car parks and more bus routes.
The petition was started by Tristan Hancock and his daughter Samirah Hancock, after witnessing a crash between a car and a cyclist on their drive to school.
Tristan says his daughter was initially in shock.
“As we were driving along she was looking out the window and she was like ‘this is so dangerous’.”
What she was referring to as dangerous was the school drop-off.
“There’s hundreds of cars all kind of crammed in there and little bikes trying to get through,” says Tristan.
“The actual cycle lanes are about the length of the car door to open. So if anyone opens a car door it potentially can smack into a kid, plus they’re constantly having to be on the actual road itself.
“And so she got really angry and I said what do you want to do and she said I don’t want this to ever happen again.
“I’m just trying to let people know how bad it is,” says Tristan.
One of the things that Samirah and Tristan are suggesting is a space that is safe for cyclists and pedestrians.
“And trying to figure out ways that we can get more cars off the road, whether it be a bus service. A lot of kids don’t go to school by bike because it’s not safe. So it’s a kind of a chicken and egg scenario.”
Tristan says his children attending two different intermediate schools, with one attending Tauranga intermediate while Samirah attends Otumoetai Intermediate.
“This year Tauranga Intermediate introduced a Welcome Bay bus, and the effect of that is it’s a bit like being in a ghost town now.
“I don’t usually pick him up but on the one or two times I’ve gone there, I’ve said ‘hey this is significantly different from last year, what’s the difference?’ and it’s the Welcome Bay bus system that they’ve put into place.
“I think it’s a good thing. The less cars that are at the pick-up and drop-off times, the safer it is for the kids on bikes.”
Tristan says alongside signing the petition, he is encouraging people to write letters to the councillors as he says this discussion is a Tauranga wide discussion.
“The same problems are happening around a lot of other schools and I have been getting lots of feedback from people that they see the same things happening,” says Tristan.
“I think it’s the solution is what matters. For me one of the things which I would say is non-negotiable is that our children should be safe when they’re going to school.
“They shouldn’t be at risk of being hit by a car, and we do that by having a better bus service and we do it by having better access for bikes,” says Tristan.
The petition will be presented to the Tauranga City Council once it has garnered enough signatures.
To sign the petition, click here: