Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Lowering the Stakes

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  • Sacha, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    the world doesn’t revolve around the maintenance of the highest possible speed of cars

    Sacrilege to the ears of traffic engineers. It's a root belief that must be firmly overturned to solve many transport problems.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to TracyMac,

    they’ve maybe been doing half that speed

    Even then, assuming 15 kph (which is really slow), waiting a full minute behind the pack will mean you travel 583m less than you would have had you been traveling 50 kph.

    Your journey would be 42 seconds longer. That does assume you were planning to travel at 50 kph.

    It really is seconds people are complaining about.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4461 posts Report

  • Moz, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    It really is seconds people are complaining about.

    But they're really stressful seconds, which means they shorten the motorist's life as well as wasting their time. Add that to the health cost of driving and the motorist may well be losing three times that directly lost time. Counter that with the longer, healthier life that the cyclists enjoy and is it any wonder some of them attempt to even the scales by killing the offending cyclist?

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1233 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to Moz,

    Applaud your reasoning. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Robyn Gallagher, in reply to izogi,

    Nearly all this social transit space has now been lost to highly structured motorised vehicle channels, and for decades now we’ve been designing stuff that’s widely spread ages apart from everything else, merely (and ironically) to accomodate people’s ability to drive between them.

    And indeed the concept of jaywalking, which quite neatly makes it seem _wrong_ if not outright illegal for a person to be walking on a road in an unapproved place. Why should this be the case? Why should most NZ roads be designed to make things easiest for cars?

    Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    Good on Michael Barnett and the Auckland Chamber of Commerce for speaking up:

    "Part of Auckland being an international city is how efficiently and safely we move people, goods and services around the city.

    "Over the past five years there have been too many cycle deaths, showing a need for a change of attitudes and behaviour by cyclists and other road users and reinforcing the case for faster progress to build a safe and efficient transport network - a network that is safe for cyclists and protects other road users.''

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • David Hood,

    I suspect that an element of motorist hostility to cyclists is caused by the view that "It is against the natural order for anything to go faster than a car at any time" (especially if the car is stuck in traffic).

    "Roads were not built for cars" appeared in the Gaurdian late last year, which I found kind of interesting:
    which lead me to find out about the shaming campaign of the auto lobby and the boy scouts that gave the roads to cars, bringing in the term jaywalking in the 1930s
    have a search through Papers Past of the period finds similar things at work in NZ.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report

  • Jon Briggs, in reply to Sacha,

    Actually, not relevant. I rode home along Stanely St tonight and the road has been recently surfaced and is flat. The end of Beach Rd heading into Stanely St on the other hand is a mess.

    Since Dec 2008 • 27 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to Jon Briggs,

    Thanks for the update.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Sacha,

    From that article about the Chamber of Commerce favouring sorting out Stanley St because it benefits trucks, NZ Herald journo Martin Johnston stars in a 5 min clip about being a commuter cyclist, including some interesting head-cam shots.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Jason Kemp,

    I have cycled around Auckland for 30 years and even using cycle lanes, tracks and lesser used roads where possible it is getting worse out there and not better.

    There are clearly choke points around the city that need special attention like the Parnell Rise. Cycle Action have a list of projects but it doesn’t look like Parnell Rise is on there.

    Clearly we need to start somewhere and maybe near schools would be a special zone to prioritise.

    For example a danger spot near me seems to be the over bridge from St Lukes Rd to MoTaT. If you want to cross the motorway to go left ( Western Springs College & Pasadena + other schools) you can’t. You have to cross the pedestrian crossing and walk down the footpath on the right hand side of the bridge or take your life in your hands and ride over a narrow bridge as the cycle lane disappears right there.

    Also – the cycle lane on St Lukes Rd gets blocked by cars quite often but at least there is a cycling lane.

    A very long time ago I had my first serious crash on Vincent St outside the central police station when a police car unexpectedly came out as I came down that hill. I bounced right over the car to the other side and the kind policeman paid to replace my front wheel & other repairs and gave me a lift to where I was going.

    I was in shock but I always wondered how that accident got written up and I doubt that it did. The policeman was clearly in the wrong and it could have been much worse.

    I have cycled in Wellington, Melbourne, Sydney & SF and felt much safer than I do in most places in Auckland. Hopefully it is time for a serious sea change here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 368 posts Report

  • Jason Kemp,

    It turns out that Mt Roskill has used the local schools as a safe zone already.

    “Mt Roskill has 7-8 kms of off road cycle paths and roads have been engineered around local schools making them safer for children to walk to. His goal is for every child in Mt Roskill to either walk or ride to school creating a model for the rest of the country. A member of Cycle Action Auckland he initiated a recent highly successful workshop with NZBus to improve relationships between bus drivers and cyclists.”

    Mt Roskill example of schools as a safe cycling zone

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 368 posts Report

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    Would be cool if #BDONZ put on some bike parking facilities

    Wearing my elected rep hat - learning that BDO was going in at Western Springs I immediately asked officers to require the promoter to provide lots of bike parking. For obvious reasons its such a brilliant location to bike to, and I suspect many will do so. I have repeatedly insisted to AT to ensure that they work with the promoter to provide plenty of bike parking. So I am hopeful of a positive outcome.

    Doffing said hat.

    The end of Beach Rd heading into Stanely St on the other hand is a mess.

    A right proper mess. This part of Beach Rd is my usual route home and the surface here is pretty awful. I just kind of grit my teeth.

    Where I do have a problem is on the other side, heading up Parnell Rise. The road here at leading away from the intersection is reasonably wide but for some reason, the trajectory of cars across the intersection tends to put them close to me at this point, rather than away from me. It's something to do with the alignment between each side of the intersection I think.

    Further on, 10m or so, it's ok, cars usually have recovered and give me room.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 659 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jason Kemp,

    For example a danger spot near me seems to be the over bridge from St Lukes Rd to MoTaT. If you want to cross the motorway to go left ( Western Springs College & Pasadena + other schools) you can’t. You have to cross the pedestrian crossing and walk down the footpath on the right hand side of the bridge or take your life in your hands and ride over a narrow bridge as the cycle lane disappears right there.

    I use that overbridge all the time. Coming off the northwestern cycleway and turning right towards Motat takes some confidence. I just get myself to the front of the offramp traffic and go quickly on the green light. Coming over it the other way, I'll sprint quite hard to stay clear of traffic if I need to.. Family groups can and do use the path, but it's kind of nuts how tricky it is to approach a cycleway by bike.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Lee M,

    I'm riding to and from work these days and completely avoiding roads where I can, other than to cross them. The worst part is the morning of rubbish collection where the path is littered (arf) with green wheelie bins, but other than that it's a slow, pleasurable ride in. Slow because naturally pedestrians get right of way, but who cares? Leave earlier, take it easy and the rage levels are sooooo much lower. I just wish it was legal :/

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 2 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to Christopher Dempsey,

    This part of Beach Rd is my usual route home and the surface here is pretty awful.

    Might be worth asking for an official report from AT about what maintenance levels they're applying to such a truck-heavy part of the network.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Sacha,

    And here's something the Council is responsible for, not Auckland Transport:

    "We can't just keep talking about solving our core transport projects - we need action," said Mr Barnett.

    His comments come more than three years after Mayor Len Brown promised to investigate safer cycling for CBD streets.

    But it took new councillor Chris Darby to persuade the council last month to add a request for greater priority for pedestrians and cyclists to a letter of expectation sent last month to Auckland Transport chairman Lester Levy.

    Mr Darby, a cyclist, told the Herald after last week's fatality that the council transport body's $10.3 million walking and cycling budget for this financial year was "petty cash compared to what is required".

    "It pales against the investments going into a very car-centric transportation plan," he said.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Jimmy Southgate,

    I've just recently obtained a bike again, not ridden in half a lifetime - and as with Lee M above I do my best to avoid roads. This is easily done in Tawa as they've constructed a cycle trail (well, almost finished anyway), where you can ride from Takapu Rd at the southern end of town, all the way to Porirua without riding on a main road. You can then skip around the harbour on the footpaths and get all the way to Titahi Bay or Onehunga Bay without riding through too much traffic. Splendid!

    Its alongside the railway line so has a pleasant gradient for a Sunday cruiser such as myself and in most areas has better scenery than everywhere else too. They've also upgraded the footpaths in the areas where its shared with pedestrians so they're half as wide again and have a surface that drains properly to a second gutter system - its rather nice. Once i'm a bit more confident I'm keen to try further north through Mana, Plimmerton and on to Pukerua Bay as i'm pretty sure there are cycle paths there completely separate from the roads too. For me, as unconfident as I am, it seems by far the best way to ride!

    The thing I find frustrating as a motorist usually occurs on a couple of rather narrow roads* which have either completely separate cycle paths or at the least marked cycle lanes. For some reason, many cyclists decide not to use the lane and instead ride in traffic, which just seems like madness to me in rush hour. I don't have a problem slowing down to sit behind cyclists until there's a safe place to overtake, but you very quickly start to feel the pressure of other vehicles behind you who are more impatient, or can't see the reason for traffic being so slow.

    I'm not saying cyclists should be forced to use the lanes provided, particularly if they're poorly maintained, but I really wish they would. A small mistake from me, the cyclist or any one of the other motorists around could easily be very nasty.

    *Old Hutt Rd seems to be the worst for this, its a 60 -> 80km road which is really only a 2 lane road that they've pinched the shoulders of to make 4 lanes. But there is a completely separate cycle path probably in the rail corridor, wide enough for 2-3 abreast. However, northbound cyclists will ride on the road instead of the cycle path to save themselves 1-2 minutes waiting for the lights to change so they can get across to head up to Wadestown, or Johnsonville etc.

    Wellingtown • Since Nov 2006 • 103 posts Report

  • Ray Gilbert, in reply to Jason Kemp,

    Mt Roskill has 7-8 kms of off road cycle paths and roads have been engineered around local schools making them safer for children to walk to.

    It's also worth noting that the new road upgrades around the State Highway 16 expansion and the suburban links to New Lynn have off road cycle lanes included in them. This means that you can now travel from Sandringham to New Lynn without having to ride on the road - at least you will be able to when they finally complete Wolverton/Tiverton Rd upgrades. I assume the Waterview extension will also include more cycle lanes beside the motorway onwards towards Helensville.

    Just a shame that the older northern parts of SH16 ster this are still some of the scariest roads to ride on I have encountered. Best stick to the back roads up there still.

    Since Nov 2006 • 104 posts Report

  • Stephen R, in reply to Ray Gilbert,

    In a spirit of pointing out good things:

    I heard recently that there's at least one school in Wellington (in Lyle bay somewhere, I think) that has put in cycle-lanes around the inside of the perimeter of the school so that new riders can practice riding their bikes without having to negotiate traffic while they're still learning.

    I thought that was a fantastic idea.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report

  • Tom Semmens,

    I spy that Jeremy Clarkson is being a plonker again. I wish someone would buy a Paddington bear and stuff it down his throat until he chokes to death on it. It would be such a deliciously ironic end. The writer notes the British also have little idea of what the road rules are as they relate to cyclists. If the British - who are better drivers than us by a distance of several parsecs - have a grey area around cyclists, what hope have cyclists here given that our motor vehicles are driven by Orangutans with a permanent hangover?

    Here are the safe cycling guidelines from London Transport. They are a world away from the hostile attitude of AT. Note in particular:

    – Stay central on narrow roads. Try to ride away from the gutter. If the road is too narrow for vehicles to pass you safely, it might be safer to ride towards the middle of the lane to prevent dangerous overtaking by other vehicles

    – Stay away from parked cars. Ideally, keep a door’s width away in case the door opens suddenly. Also, try to ride in a straight line past parked cars rather than dodging between them.

    Imagine all the wailing, nashing of teeth and renting of clothing from motorists that would go on if AT came out and said ALWAYS keep a door width away from parked cars, and if to do that it is safer to ride down the middle of the road to prevent people overtaking, we give you our legal blessing.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report

  • Gaz Tayler,

    I'm glad to see this blog has spurred on great conversations and thoughts. It's disappointing that Auckland Council in both it's guises, as Auckland Council and Auckland Transport has done a poor job of following up on their own research and recommendations, all I can say is lobby both organisations and you local boards.

    For those who believe we should repeal helmet laws... don't, the risks of serious injury are just too fecking high http://thesebrokenpaths.blogspot.co.nz/2013/06/how-much-do-you-value-your-brain.html

    Last week I had a rather rough end to my regular morning ride http://thesebrokenpaths.blogspot.co.nz/2014/01/accident.html and I ride off road only for fitness and enjoyment, essentially because of horror experiences in the past of riding in West Auckland traffic.

    So please always wear a helmet, lobby to get better cycling facilities and be thankful we have a great emergency services.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2012 • 14 posts Report

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to winston moreton,

    If a bike hits a pedestrian then it was not safe.

    Too blunt. My sole cyclist/pedestrian incident occurred when a pedestrian stepped out in front of me a car length ahead, from between parked cars. Snapped my headset, gave me whiplash (my head got forced backwards), and was utterly, unarguably not my fault. I was on the road, lit (it was dusk), and could not possibly have avoided him. If I'd been on the footpath and he'd been coming onto the footpath from between parked cars the situation would have been no different, the outcome no different, but you would now be proposing that the impossibility of avoiding a collision occasioned by no bad behaviour of my own be indisputably my fault.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    but you would now be proposing that the impossibility of avoiding a collision occasioned by no bad behaviour of my own be indisputably my fault.

    Yes, as (what I think is very powerful) the latest driving ad campaign for taking care whilst driving shows, all people on our roads can make mistakes, so a little more care, a little less speed ,can make a helluva difference..
    As for trucks, they are only getting bigger, (thank you National) Stick the cargo on a friggin train, but at the same time I listen to the truck drivers I know and they too have driver problems. Their trucks are bigger and cars tend to believe they can pass without regard to the length of their vehicle, and they often don't see you (car or bike) as I have recently experienced when a Kenworth took out the backside of my car when 2 Lanes narrowed.to 1 on the SH1. This was all because of bad design in road building..

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Gaz Tayler,

    Thanks Gaz for the link. That article is long but a great read for anyone wearing a cycle helmet.

    Personally I don't think we should have a helmet law, the stats are compelling.

    But equally I strongly believe wearing a helmet is a hell of a good idea. That article made me think twice about how good my helmet might be, the answer almost certainly is - not very good at all.

    And now I thinking I should find a MIPs or similar equipped helmet that actually provides some protection against concussion. But they look to be expensive especially in NZ.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4461 posts Report

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