Sport Northland is launching the Pace Car Project this April and it will be the very first initiative of its kind in New Zealand. The Pace Car Project is a simple initiative that asks motorists in the Whangarei community to sign a pledge whereby they agree to drive courteously around other road users such as walkers and cyclists, and to the speed limit.
By signing the pledge, drivers make a conscious effort to abide by the traffic rules and also display the Pace Car window decal letting the public that they are a Pace Car driver. The project aims to create a safer road environment for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as a more pleasant environment for people to be active in.
"I like the idea. I can see the potential benefit to our community if the public buy into this. I think the appeal of this program is in its simplicity, it's easy to get behind, as simple as sticking a logo on your car and driving sensibly. Hopefully people will really get behind it and make our district a safer place to enjoy recreational activities," says Sam Warriner, local Olympian and current World Triathlon Champion.
Participating motorists pledge to obey the speed limit, share the road safely with pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers, to be extra cautious near schools, children and school buses, and to display the Pace Car decals so that drivers behind can identify why they are driving considerately.
Those who sign up to Sport Northland's Pace Car project help keep Whangarei roads safer by actively 'lowering drivers' speeds on local streets pace car drivers effectively become "mobile speed bumps".
The Pace Car project has seen success in various communities both in Canada and the United States.
A number of local businesses and organisations within the Whangarei district have already signed up their fleet vehicles including Plunket and Media Works.
"I think the Pace Car program has the potential to make it safer in our neighbourhoods for children and adults to cycle and walk, allowing for the fact that the community really needs to get behind the program to achieve critical mass," says Diane Lawson Plunket Northland area manager.
Becoming a Pace Car is a simple process, participants sign the pledge form and a decal is sent out to them to display on their car window. This form can be accessed from the Pace Cars website (www.pacecars.co.nz) or Sport Northlands office.