Letters: Henry Puna’s road safety laws

Saturday February 01, 2020 Published in Letters to the Editor
Prime Minister Henry Puna announced the law changes on Thursday. 20013016 Prime Minister Henry Puna announced the law changes on Thursday. 20013016

Dear editor,

Some are heralding as leadership the Prime Minister’s suddenly discovered burst of enthusiasm for mandatory wearing of helmets for all bike users, banning phones and earphones while driving and reducing the alcohol limit.


I would not describe that as leadership in any sense of the word but pure political opportunism.

Where was the leadership when the carnage on the roads began? There wasn’t any when it was a plain as day that the watered down helmet law was a complete cop out to a political constituency that resisted helmets and had sufficient clout to possibly influence elections.

What then does this tell us? It tells us that when something crying out for attention for the common good might bring with it some unpopularity, we abandon the common good for our own selfish reasons.

But when the public mood changes and we see an opportunity to perhaps achieve that which we should have done many deaths ago, we seize the moment, trusting that we have judged it correctly – meanwhile basking in the accompanying, but unwarranted, praise.

No one needs to lose a child and we all grieve for all the parents in all these tragedies which might well have been avoided if real leadership, not the so-called leadership being hailed now, had manifested itself a long time ago.

Not only was the lopsided helmet law indefensible, it made a mockery of us. How many times did road users see tourists with pillion passengers both wearing helmets proceeding sedately along within the speed limit only to be passed by locals with no helmets roaring by at 60kph. Makes us look a bit stupid don’t you think?

And while the proposed changes are well overdue how much thought actually went into that other proposal (assuming it was reported correctly) that there would be a curfew on motorbikes from 10pm to 6am?

In our rush to finally do the right thing have we gone completely mad? What about people who have to go to work, hospital, greet flights, whatever, between those hours.

Better think that one again.

John M Scott,

Are there any stats available for the number of deaths caused by overtaking? That’s something the police or government may need to check.

It's good to address the issues on speed, helmets, alcohol, mobile phones – this may reduce fatal accidents but will not stop it.

I'm not sure if we are actually seeing or accepting one of the main causes of the situation and that is 'the Condition'.

Rarotonga main road is too narrow for vehicles to overtake, and the back road is worse.

Most times you overtake using the opposing lane and no room to avoid any oncoming traffic.

What about introducing a road rule on Rarotonga: No overtaking.

Teaukura Eliaba 

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