News | 28 May 2024
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Meet Wellington’s Road Safety Heroes

Local Wellingtonians are working together with the Council to make streets across the city safer for all to enjoy.

Image of road safety team with a banner reading road safety week
Road safety week advocacy group

Last week, Wellington City Council partnered with Brake NZ to celebrate Road Safety Week through organised events and activities in schools and the community to promote safer streets. 

The theme was Road Safety Heroes, celebrating individuals who champion road safety daily. This year, three Wellingtonians were nominated for the Yellow Ribbon Award, recognising exceptional dedication to promoting road safety: Patrick Morgan, cycling advocate and Pedal Ready Instructor; Bobbi Hutchinson, Programme Delivery Lead for Kaitiaki o Ara/Students Against Dangerous Driving (SADD); and Gary Gibson, Port Nicholson Pōneke (PNP), Cycling Youth Coach and Pedal Ready Instructor. 

We spoke with the nominees to learn more about their mahi and how they contribute to safety in the capital. 

Tell us a bit about your mahi (work) and how you are contributing to safety in the capital. 

Gary: As a Pedal Ready Instructor of over 10 years, I teach children to ride safely on the road following Waka Kotahi and NZ Police guidelines, building their confidence to navigate the roads correctly. I also run courses for bus drivers to understand cyclists' needs and how to drive safely around them, and help cyclists learn more about bus drivers' needs and their blind spots. 

As a 20-year PNP Cycling Youth Coach, I organise regular bunch rides for kids around Wellington streets, teaching them to handle various road situations like pinch points, roundabouts, and bus lanes, while also covering the road rules. Additionally, I regularly run workshops on vehicle blind spots in collaboration with Share the Road. 

Bobbi: My work as the Programme Delivery Lead for Kaitiaki o Ara/SADD is to support rangatahi in identifying road safety issues in their school or community and helping them come up with solutions to combat these issues in a fun and relevant way that connects with them.  My focus for Pōneke has been to activate new school groups to jump on our kaupapa. I love being able to help develop our future leaders, and watch students realise their potential and execute a plan to create a safer Aotearoa. 

Patrick: I have worked in the bike safety space for 40 years. Currently, I’m a project manager at Cycling Action Network. I spend time as a Pedal Ready cycling instructor, where I teach people of all ages to cycle with confidence and skill.

I also volunteer at Cycle Wellington, an organisation that advocates, hosts events, shares bike-related news, and influences city planning. There’s safety in numbers, and numbers in safety. We push for better street designs, transport mode choices, safe speeds, and public education. Street design is the most crucial element in ensuring safety. 

Image of Patrick morgan in high vis vest and a helmet educating a group of children
Patrick Morgan teaching a Pedal Ready course

If you could give Wellingtonians one top tip for staying safe and/or promoting safety in the community, what would it be and why?  

Gary: Take a course in cycling: whether it be mountain biking, commuting or city cycling. Learn some new skills. For those who don’t ride bikes, learn and understand cyclist needs and to develop empathy for the more vulnerable road users. 

Bobbi: We all have busy lives, that seem to get busier every day! It’s more important than ever to practice patience and allow time and awareness to make good decisions on the road.  

Patrick: Join others to advocate for safer roads and organisations like Cycle Wellington. Remember that safety is not only the responsibility of individuals. While everyone can play a part in promoting safety, the responsibility lies directly with our elected leaders and professionals. To ensure safety, we must organise and mobilise, and hold our leaders accountable - designing safe systems is a key part of road safety.  

Road safety is a shared responsibility. Regardless of your mode of travel, we all must work together to ensure our roads are safe for everyone. During the week Zara the Zebra visited primary schools in Hataitai and Seatoun to educate tamariki on the importance of using zebra crossings.  We also partnered with Bikespace to run a maintenance workshop, where we gave out free reflective gear and had meaningful kōrero about e safety over hot choccy and cookies with the cycling community.  If you missed out on a reflective backpack cover, you can still pick one up at Arapaki Manners Library and Service Centre.