‘Legislation’ includes acts of Parliament, as well as rules and regulations made by people or organisations to whom Parliament has delegated this power (for example, the Minister of Transport for Land Transport Rules).

Waka Kotahi guiding legislation

The table below summarises relevant legislation. There are also relevant Rules on the use of land (under the Resource Management Act 1991) in regional and district plans.

‘Law’ includes not only ‘legislation’, but also common law, which is understood and accepted by everyone and defined by law court judgments. Common law includes everyone’s duty to care for their own safety and to avoid causing harm to others. Under common law, everyone has the right to travel unimpeded on all public roads, except where there are legal restrictions (such as those prohibiting pedestrians from motorways). Road controlling authorities (RCAs) are obliged to safeguard this right for all lawful road users, including pedestrians.

Local authorities and RCAs also have the power to enact bylaws for areas within their responsibility. Bylaws can be used for activities that may affect pedestrian safety or mobility, for example micro-mobility access rules, vehicle speed limits and parking.

Table: Legislation relevant to walking

Legislation Relevance to walking
Land Transport Management Act 2003(external link) The LTMA has the purpose to ‘contribute to an effective, efficient, and safe land transport system in the public interest’ and therefore is relevant to all modes of transport including walking.
Local Government Act 2002(external link)

Although the Local Government Act was updated in 2002 parts of the Local Government Act 1974 still apply (ie they weren’t repealed). This is the case for clause 331(2) that requires RCAs to develop a strategy for the provision of roads and footpaths as outlined below.

"In forming or reforming any road or part thereof (not being a road in a rural area), the council shall ensure that reasonable and adequate provision is made for the kerb and channel of any footpath or part thereof to be formed or reformed so as to permit safe and easy passage from kerb to kerb of any mechanical conveyance normally and lawfully used by a disabled person." [s. 331(2)]

Land Transport Rule: Traffic Control Devices 2004 Sets out the specific requirements for signs, markings and signals, in particular pedestrian facilities such as pedestrian crossings, school crossings, footpaths, shared paths and pedestrian areas.
Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004(external link)

Provides rules for passing and parking and use of pedestrian crossings; crossing roadways generally; use of shared zones, footpaths and roadways by pedestrians and other road users; and use of shared paths.

Defines pedestrians, mobility devices, and wheeled recreational devices [s. 1.6]. Further information on the Road User Rule is provided below the table.

Resource Management Act 1991(external link)

Regarding land use applications, requires consideration of pedestrian access issues including managing potential conflicts with vehicles and cyclists; access through carparks, etc[1]

Railways Act 2005(external link) Promotes the safety of rail operations, including for pedestrians accessing rail facilities, and those travelling across or along the rail corridor.
UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2006(external link) New Zealand is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and therefore “shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access…to transportation…and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas…including the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to...Buildings, roads, transportation and other indoor and outdoor facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces.” This includes ensuring that private entities that provide public access also meet accessibility requirements.

Further detail on the Road User Rule

The Road User Rule prohibits driving a motor vehicle along a footpath. Cycling on the footpath is prohibited unless delivering to mailboxes. Motor vehicles cannot stop, stand or park on a footpath or cycle path.

If a footpath is provided, pedestrians and mobility device users must, at all times when practicable remain on the footpath. If pedestrians need to be on the roadway they must remain as near as practicable to the edge of the roadway.

When crossing a roadway where no pedestrian crossing is available pedestrians need to endeavour to cross at right angles to the kerb.  Drivers approaching pedestrian crossings must give way to pedestrians waiting to cross. Drivers must not stop, stand or park their vehicles on a pedestrian crossing or within 6m of the drivers approach to a pedestrian crossing.

Shared paths can be used by some or all of the following persons at the same time: pedestrians, cyclists, riders of mobility devices and riders of recreational devices. All persons using a shared path must act in a careful and considerate manner. Some signs or markings may give priority to certain road users and these must be followed.