Road safety information for seniors 65 years or over, or if you are caring for seniors.
Safety information for seniors driving, walking and cycling. Tips for using public transport including the AT HOP card to pay for travel, the SuperGold concession and the Total Mobility scheme.
You can also download our Transport safety information for senior citizens booklet (PDF 1.2MB).
Road safety in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland
Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland is now a Vision Zero region, which means Auckland Transport is committed to a goal of no deaths or serious injuries on Tāmaki Makaurau roads by 2050.
This means as people, we all make mistakes, but a mistake should not cost a life or cause serious injury on our roads. Mobility is an important aspect to support social connections and independence for those 65 years and older. Over the past 5 years (2015-2019) the number of fatal & serious crashes involving people aged 65+ is trending upwards.
Senior Road Users are more likely to be injured or die following a crash than younger people. In Auckland between 2015 to 2019, Senior Road User crashes resulted in 58 deaths and 398 serious injury crashes.
Road safety when walking
Driveways and footpaths
Pedestrians are vulnerable road users, drivers should take extra care when driving near pedestrians. Both motorists and pedestrians have a shared responsibility for keeping pedestrians safe. Pedestrians have the right of way over vehicles entering or exiting a driveway across a footpath, but you should stop and check hidden driveways, where drivers backing out may not be able to see you.
Traffic light signal crossings
A signalised crossing is where there is a pedestrian light (red/green man) at a set of traffic lights. Walk when the green man is lit. Double check for left and right turning traffic. Do not step onto the road when the red man is lit.
Pedestrian zebra crossings
Pedestrians have the right of way at a pedestrian zebra crossing but drivers also need time to stop. It is important to make sure the vehicles have stopped before stepping out. Make eye contact with drivers to be sure they have seen you.
Staggered zebra pedestrian crossings
Drivers must stop and give way to pedestrians on their half of the road. Drivers might not be able to see you if you are on their side of the road.
Check for traffic from your right, until you reach the island in the middle of the road and then check for traffic from your left before you proceed to cross the rest of the road.
Pedestrian refuge islands
A pedestrian refuge island is a raised island with a cut-through. These are designed to allow pedestrians to cross busy roads in two stages and gives pedestrians a safer place to wait before making the second stage of the crossing.
Pedestrians do not have the right of way at a pedestrian refuge island. These are not zebra crossings and pedestrians should be cautious.
Courtesy crossings are usually made of bricks or paving and are often raised above the level of the road. Although not official pedestrian crossings, they do provide a place for pedestrians to cross. Drivers should be courteous to pedestrians using a courtesy crossing and pedestrians should look for vehicles.
A raised platform is where the road surface changes, for example, to paved areas. It is an indication for drivers to reduce their speed and to be aware of pedestrians.
Pedestrians do not have the right of way on a raised platform. They are not zebra crossings and pedestrians should only cross when it is safe to do so.
Crossings at roundabouts
Crossing at a roundabout is not advisable. If a crossing facility is provided - use it with care as motorists are watching for vehicles. Never assume a driver has seen you. Keep on looking for traffic when crossing the road.
Practical hints for cycling on the road:
- Use cycle lanes and cycle paths if they are available.
- Keep to the left side of the road when practicable.
- Communicate with drivers if possible. Make eye contact and signal your intentions clearly.
- Look for people inside parked cars - a door may be opened, or the car may drive off.
- Look for indicator lights on vehicles and check if the car’s speed reduces or it changes direction.
- At intersections, look at the angle of other vehicles’ front wheels - this may give you an indication what direction they might go in.
- Check ahead that the road is clear, before checking behind you.
- When passing a queue of cars, your visibility will be reduced and turning cars may not notice you. Slow down and be alert - drivers might take gaps without seeing you.
- Try to be as visible as possible. Use lights when it’s dark and consider wearing bright or reflective clothing.
- Be alert and ride safely.
Riding on shared paths and cycleways
Cycling is great fun, excellent for fitness and a fantastic way to get around Auckland. You may be able to reach your destination using quiet streets, shared paths and cycleways.
All users of shared paths are required by law to use them fairly and safely.
If you are riding on a shared path you should:
- Keep left on shared paths.
- Let pedestrians know you are there by politely calling out or ringing a bell when you are approaching from behind them.
- Pass on the right when possible – unless the pedestrians are on the right in which case pass them in the safest way.
- Ride defensively and cycle at a speed that does not put others at risk. E-bikes should be set to their lowest power setting.
- Look out for traffic going in and out of driveways – vehicles from driveways do need to give way to those on the shared path, but often drivers may not expect fast traffic on a shared path. Look twice.
- Be careful at intersections and give way to motor vehicles if you need to.
Mobility scooters and power chairs provide independence but offer little protection to their riders. You need to take steps to ensure your safety when using them.
You don’t need a driver licence to operate a mobility device and they’re not required to have a warrant of fitness or registration.
Mobility vehicles are light and offer you no protection. This makes you vulnerable if you go onto the road. Where possible we recommend you stay off the road and use the footpaths.
Safety rules for riders of mobility devices and wheeled recreational vehicles:
- When riding on any path, be careful and considerate of others.
- When using footpaths, you have the same obligations as pedestrians.
- Adapt your speed (slow down) for pedestrians using the path.
- A mobility device or wheeled recreational vehicle should be used on the footpath where it is possible to do so. If you have to ride on the road you should keep left as far as practicable.
Bus, train and ferry services
Public transport in Auckland consists of three modes: bus, train and ferry. Services are coordinated by Auckland Transport (AT).
Auckland Transport is continually striving to improve services for people with access challenges and those with limited mobility.
Through guidance from the Public Transport Accessibility Group (PTAG) we hope to make using public transport in Auckland a positive experience. Learn more about accessible travel.
AT HOP card
A reusable pre-pay smart card for travel on trains, ferries and buses around Auckland.
It saves money on fares - at least 25% discount off single trip cash bus, train and ferry fares (excludes Waiheke ferry services).
Gold AT HOP cards cost $10 and must be loaded with at least $1 HOP Money at the time of purchase. The $10 card purchase price is non-refundable.
Register your AT HOP card to enjoy benefits like being able to check your balance and top up online on our website.
Apply for a SuperGold concession on your AT HOP card.
Total Mobility Scheme
The Total Mobility scheme supports people who cannot use public transport to travel, all or some of the time.
In Auckland, those who are eligible get a subsidised rate (a 50% discount, up to a maximum subsidy of $40 per trip) on contracted taxis for door to door transport, and an accessible concession loaded on a Total Mobility AT HOP card used to pay for discounted travel on public transport.
Who is eligible for the Total Mobility scheme
If you’re an Auckland resident/ratepayer with an impairment that prevents you from undertaking one or more of these aspects of a journey:
- Getting to a public transport stop.
- Getting onto the bus, train or ferry.
- Riding safely and securely.
- Getting off the bus, train or ferry.
- Getting to your final destination.
Renewing your licence from age 75 years
Drivers must renew their driver licence at age 75, 80 and every two years after that.
Ask a friend or a relative to help you with the process if needed. To get or renew your driver licence (or a licence endorsement) you need to apply in person at an NZ Transport Agency driver licensing agent:
You can renew your licence before it expires so long as it’s less than six months before the expiry date.
When renewing your licence from 75, your health and vision must be regularly checked, both for your own safety and the safety of other road users.
You will need to visit your health practitioner to get a Medical Certificate for driver licence.
During your appointment your health practitioner will discuss your present state of health with you and test your eyesight. You may have to sit a 30-minute On-road Safety Test if recommended by your doctor.
On-road Safety Test
You must drive safely and legally throughout the assessment. The test will take approximately 30 minutes and the testing officer will score you using a simple ‘yes’ and ‘no’ method.
You need to get a total score of 80 percent or more to pass the safety test. These can be booked with either the AA or VTNZ.
If you have questions about driver licensing rules or restrictions, please contact the NZTA Driver Licensing helpline: 0800 822 422.
Mobility Parking Permit
A Mobility Parking Permit allows you to park near your destination in accessible reserved parking spaces, or park longer than the stated time in certain car parks and metered spaces.
Having a medical condition or disability does not automatically entitle you to a mobility parking permit. You are eligible if you meet the following criteria:
- You are unable to walk and always require the use of a wheelchair.
- Your ability to walk distances is severely restricted by a medical condition or disability. If for example, you require the use of mobility aids, experience severe pain, or breathlessness.
- You have a medical condition or disability that requires you to have physical contact or close supervision to safely get around and cannot be left unattended. For example, if you experience disorientation, confusion, or severe anxiety.
- Your doctor needs to confirm your eligibility, unless you are renewing a long-term permit.
There are two types of permit
You can apply for a long-term permit if you have a permanent medical condition that affects your mobility. A long-term permit is valid for five years.
You can apply for a short-term permit if you have a temporary medical condition that affects your mobility. These are issued for a minimum of three months and a maximum of 12 months.
A three-month, six-month or nine-month permit may be extended to a maximum of 12 months from the date of issue. This requires confirmation from your doctor that your mobility is still affected.
To learn more or to apply for a mobility parking permit, visit the CCS disability action website.
Staying safe workshops
Age Concern delivers classroom based Staying Safe refresher workshops for senior road users that aim to maintain and improve safe driving practices.
During the workshop you will re-familiarise yourself with traffic rules as well as increase knowledge about other transport options available to keep you mobile for as long as possible.
Please contact your local Auckland Age Concern office to register for a workshop:
For more information
Visit your nearest Auckland Library where the library staff can help you register your AT HOP card and apply online, or help you to fill out the application to post.