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National Party wants to impose fines on cyclists who refuse to use cycleways

Cycling advocates are furious at National Party suggestions they should be forced to stay in cycle lanes.

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The move is part of the opposition’s new transport plan, which will be released tomorrow. Source: 1 NEWS

The idea is part of the opposition’s new transport strategy, which will be released publicly tomorrow.

With cycleways popping up all over the country, the National Party wants to force cyclists to stay in their lane.

National's Transport spokesperson Chris Bishop is taking a firm hand. 

“National proposes that in areas where separated cycleways exist, cyclists must use them or else they will receive a fine.

“Similar rules exist in the cycle-friendly Netherlands, where using a physically separated bike path, or fietspad, is compulsory in most cases," he said. 

But Cycling Action Network’s Patrick Morgan says the move is punitive.

“Frankly I'm surprised and disappointed at this idea - more punitive measures which are a barrier to people riding bikes,” he says.

Millions of dollars have been spent building hundreds of kilometres of cycleways and Mr Bishop says a refusal to use them frustrates motorists. 

“Motorists do get annoyed when they see cyclists actually on the road as well when they could be using the dedicated cyleway, so I think this will be popular with motorists and I think it'll be popular with cyclists as well,” he says.

But Patrick Morgan says it’s a divisive approach.

“The police must be rolling their eyes because they have better things to do than hassle people on bikes. I predict the police would really not do a lot of fining, instead this would just stir conflict and would empower people who for whatever reason are a bit frustrated that some people ride bikes on the road,” he says.

It was former National Prime Minister John Key who kicked off the building of cycleways and Mr Bishop says even though tomorrow's policy launch will have a big focus on roads, the Party will continue to build bike lanes.

“I'm a huge cycling fan myself, we're just simply saying that with the Government building all these separated cycleways around the country, cyclists should have to use them," Mr Bishop says.