Cycling safety

January 13th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Having had friends suffer some horrific injuries while , I’ve been reluctant to buy a bike for use around Wellington, as we have so few cycle lanes and pretty narrow roads.

You shudder when you read reports of collisions between vehicles and bikes, because the vehicle driver merely gets a nasty shock while the cyclist can get broken bones, maimed or killed.

But some cyclists can do more to be safer. The Herald reports:

Cyclists accounted for 60 per cent of red-light runners surveyed at four Auckland intersections, the city’s transport authority has revealed.

Car drivers were responsible for 37 per cent of 360 red-light breaches observed by Auckland Transport, and buses, trucks and one motorcycle made up the balance.

The survey was taken nine months ago, and used by Auckland Transport to formulate safety messages aimed at encouraging all road users to obey red lights, but was not publicised at the time.

Cyclists are 2% of road users so making up 60% of red light runners is a massive over-representation.

She referred to a presentation by a senior Auckland Transport official which won an accolade at an engineering conference, noting many instances of red-light running by cyclists were left-hand turns or motivated by riders wanting to get a head-start on other vehicles for safety reasons.

“Overall, cyclists’ red-light running is a relatively infrequent and safe behaviour,” corridor and centre plans team leader Daniel Newcombe said in the presentation.

Among recommendations he made to the Institution of Professional Engineers’ transport group conference was for cyclists to be allowed to turn left on red lights, while treating the manoeuvre as a “give way” and assessing the risk to pedestrians.

The trouble with doing that is noted here:

Police believe John Tangiia, 37, was probably freewheeling down Parnell Rise on Tuesday before turning left into Stanley St and colliding with a truck which appeared to have a green light while crossing the intersection from The Strand.

Personally I think turn left on red if safe is worth investigating as a law change for all road users, not just cyclists.

Despite the concern about last week’s death, which remains under police investigation, he noted a 64 per cent reduction in serious cycling injuries in Auckland in 2012 compared with 2011 – from 51 to 18.

Always good to have some hard data. Wellington had 33 serious injuries which reinforces to me how cycle unfriendly most of Wellington is.

The Ministry of Transport has some interesting data on cycling injuries. In terms of Police reported crashes with injuries the numbers have been basically declining from a recent high of 895 in 2008 to 783 in 2011. The low point was 559 in 2000 and it increased most of the eight years in between. If we go further back it was 1054 in 1990 and declines for ten years in a row until 2000.

Of course the better data would be number of injuries per x hours spent cycling.

MOT reports that cyclists had fault in just 37% of crashes and primary fault in just 23%.

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56 Responses to “Cycling safety”

  1. tvb (4,512 comments) says:

    Cyclists are freeloaders using the public highway system for their recreation and they expect others to provide for them. There are some roads that have no shoulder and cyclists should be banned from those roads. Sometimes motorists who do pay for the roads are placed in a dilemma either they collect the cyclist or they risk a head on collision. I cosnsider cyclists are arrogant in their use of public roads. I wish they would get their exercise in a park or off-road.

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  2. KiwiGreg (3,259 comments) says:

    “Personally I think turn left on red if safe is worth investigating as a law change for all road users, not just cyclists.”

    As they have (obviously the other way) in most states in the US. But after a full stop, not careering through the red like a fucking idiot.

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  3. Kleva Kiwi (289 comments) says:

    10 points per cyclist. 20 if they are wearing Lycra…

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  4. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    I have no problem giving a cyclist some space on the road, provided he is as far to the left as practical.

    I will drive as close as possible to them should they be riding in the middle of the lane, riding on the road where a cycle lane is available, or riding two or more abreast (and I don’t give a shit if that is the law, it is inconsiderate for cyclists to ride two abreast and block cars). If the road is narrow and I will risk a collison with a larger vehicle I will give them as much room as it is safe to do, however I won’t get killed for someone else’s comfort.

    Yes I do cycle, and I make a point of being aware of my surroundings and being considerate to people in bigger vehicles than me. That might come from my previous work in mining, where the rule “might is right” prevails – light vehicles need to get out of the way of mining trucks, simply because they are much bigger.

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  5. RRM (10,020 comments) says:

    Is this story related to the recent widely-publicised incident where the guy rode through a red light and got flattened by a truckie who was doing everything right?

    Road rules, fuckers. Obey them.

    I have cycled around Wellington without incident. Plenty of roads offer plenty of room provided you are not an idiot about it.

    I have been abused by Her Excellency The Lord Mayor, Incompetent Wade-Fuckwit*, for passing her on her bike in Victoria Street leaving her “only” about 2 metres’ clearance.. (I think the noise of my ‘outrageous’ 2″ exhaust pipe frightened her :-) )

    Many years ago driving down Great South Rd in Greenlane, a bus following behind me passed a cyclist giving him what appeared to me (witnessing the whole thing in my mirrors) a perfectly reasonable amount of space. We later stopped at a red light further down by the Jaguar dealer, and presently I heard an altercation and someone whining in a pommy git accent. Cyclist was banging on the bus driver’s window, telling him he’d “almost killed” the cyclist, and demanding to know “his number” etc etc. As soon as he’d finished venting his spleen, cyclist got back in the saddle and pedalled off through a red light. It seems his safety was everyone else’s responsibility but his own…

    *Or some other lady bearing some resemblance to C. W-B

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  6. J Bloggs (250 comments) says:

    “Personally I think turn left on red if safe is worth investigating as a law change for all road users, not just cyclists.”

    As they have (obviously the other way) in most states in the US. But after a full stop, not careering through the red like a fucking idiot.

    The problem is that too many people (in cars as well as on bikes) already treat stop signs as give way signs. Turn left on red is only going to exacerbate this. And we will have more events like the other day, when people who are in a hurry, are distracted or just don’t give a damn, fail to check properly and get collected. Better to enforce and drive home the message that STOP means STOP first.

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  7. Raphael (88 comments) says:

    When living in Hamilton I regularly cycled to work. I always made it a point to obey all the road rules (and always wore hi-vis and had lights if it was getting dark, I would rather look like a Christmas tree than a pancake).

    One time I ended up in a yelling match with a another cyclist as I stopped for a red light. He had come flying up behind me with no intention of stopping, but because I had stopped he nearly hit into me. his excuse was because he was going straight (traffic lights were at a very busy intersection, but a T junction and he was going straight, there isn’t a left turn available…map: http://goo.gl/maps/Gd3CU )and because he had clips he didn’t need to stop (I also had clips so stupid argument) I pointed out to him that he was still a road user and still required to obey the rules and he nearly punched me but instead settled for making various comments about me not being respectful to my elders (I look pretty young for my age and was probably not that much younger than him…I was 29 at the time, I’m guessing he was possibly around 10 years older).

    Fellow cyclists who ignore the road rules seriously piss me off as they give the rest of us a bad reputation

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  8. Left Right and Centre (2,997 comments) says:

    If you’ve got reasonable cyclists and reasonable drivers – then there is no problem.

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  9. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    The road rules are there to avoid danger. But like any rules, blindly following them doesn’t guarantee safety, and sometimes bending or breaking them doesn’t guarantee death. If an awful lot of people are ignoring a rule, it may be because it’s a bad rule.

    My view is that if you’re a cyclist at the traffic lights, and there’s no other traffic, why not run the red light? If you’re turning left, what problem does it actually cause if you run that red light? Sure, don’t do it on a road that has zero free space around the corner and a big truck coming, but on a wide road with large shoulders it’s not really a problem.

    I think the police and the laws need to get more focused on people showing poor judgement or dangerous behaviour, not on getting picky over little details. Same as the 104 tolerance on the speed limit – some places that’s safe, some that’s not. They should focus on people being unsafe not on an arbitrary number. I’d be pissed at being booked at 104 on a passing lane, or whilst overtaking. Going 104 around a blind corner on a busy road, a bit different.

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  10. Left Right and Centre (2,997 comments) says:

    RRM – I had occasion to cycle into the Wally CBD and I’m sure I passed her In Vic St too, near the library. She might’ve been irritated that I passed too closely to her. I think my attitude was that I didn’t want to go any further out into the left lane than I had to, despite the fact that it might appear to her that I was shaving her to be rude.

    For an A+ I could’ve looked back – checked traffic – slowed down and waited to pass etc – ah fuck that – she was fine.

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  11. dime (10,109 comments) says:

    cyclists are assholes.

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  12. MH (817 comments) says:

    Traffic Police witness this all the time,but in those stats above, how many cyclists are fined or prosecuted,not worth the chase,no licence so they just can’t be bothered. One can look at any intersection and see the lack of high vis gear and helmets,etc perhaps as part of their ticket revenue gathering quota, cops should target cyclists who can then justify the expense of providing special lanes etc.

    After midnight all road intersections controlled by traffic lights should be made to blink orange and normal give way rights should apply as done in the US of A.

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  13. Fentex (1,038 comments) says:

    I think the police and the laws need to get more focused on people showing poor judgement or dangerous behaviour, not on getting picky over little details

    That’s not an option for the rule of law – reducing enforcement to opinion over the safety of a decision is ruling by opinion, and that’s something you can’t hold people to. Our opinions differ, this is why we codify what is expected of each other in law.

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  14. Fentex (1,038 comments) says:

    Cyclists are freeloaders using the public highway system for their recreation and they expect others to provide for them.

    I’ve noticed when cycling comes up that a few people take this position. The idea that cyclists don’t pay for roads is, I think, wrong, irrelevant and beside the point.

    Wrong in that roads are not solely funded by motor vehicle charges and levies.

    Irrelevant in that roads are public land for the use of the public and it is by cyclists and pedestrians grace as much as anyone’s that motor vehicles are allowed to have paved surfaces there for their use.

    Beside the point because most people would like to get along and among each other without any of us having to deal with unnecessary catastrophe and horror.

    As vehicles increase in number sharing roads becomes increasingly problematic, we need to get motor vehicles, pedestrians, skaters and cyclists out of each others way – everyone would benefit from, and enjoy, that.

    It’s hard where infrastructure was built with no plan for it, but ought be a consideration where any new infrastructure in built.

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  15. MT_Tinman (3,257 comments) says:

    MOT reports that cyclists had fault in just 37% of crashes and primary fault in just 23%.

    MOT tells lies!

    Big lies!

    What the MOT/pigs in fact do is start with the position that the poor bloody motorist is at fault then demand the motorist prove otherwise.

    For most motorists this is simply not worth the bother, allowing the totally corrupt system to gather more revenue off the already suffering motorist and of course, to compile totally incorrect statistics for the slime to publicise.

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  16. Pete George (23,683 comments) says:

    “the vehicle driver merely gets a nasty shock”

    And cut hands, a beat up car and upset kids.

    I hit a cyclist on the open road. I had slowed down (fortunately) and pulled out to give him space and without warning he suddenly turned across in front of me. He came over the bonnet, smashed the windscreen into my hands in the steering wheel and buckled the roof, then fell off and lay motionless on the side of the road. I though he was a goner, ambulance came and took him away but apparently he was discharged from hospital. It turned out he had been hit by a bus a couple of months earlier, similar circumstances. His father said he was a road risk.

    Police were involved, no charge, I don’t think the cyclist was charged either. If I’d been deemed responsible I expect I’d have been charged.

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  17. graham (2,346 comments) says:

    By tvb’s reasoning, cyclists should not be allowed to use their bikes anywhere – in a park, on trails, anywhere – as they don’t pay for the upkeep (although in reality the majority of cyclists are rates-payers and car drivers anyway, so they do). But hell, let’s just ban the bikes altogether. That’ll make everybody happy won’t it? Course, then those people who would have biked will have to use public transport, placing even more of a burden on the transport system, or their own cars, resulting in more pollution; and they’ll not be getting exercise, so they’ll eventually be less fit and start costing the public health service more.

    As a cyclist, and a car-driver, I feel that ALL road-users should obey the rules. Cyclists shouldn’t run red lights – that’s a no-brainer – and I personally don’t run red lights on my bike, or in my car. But what about other rule breaches? I swear the majority of car-drivers in Auckland haven’t got a clue what the hell those funny orange flashing lights on each corner of their cars are for. I signal ALL my turns and my lane-changes, whether I’m on my bike or in the car, but honestly at most intersections I see more drivers NOT signalling than drivers who are signalling. Speeding? Ah hell, an extra 10 or 15 km over the speed limit won’t hurt, right? That seems to be the attitude of most car drivers. Try driving through Dome Valley at the posted 80 km/h and see how many drivers come up behind you trying to speed you up. Or try slowing down at roadworks to the posted 30 km/h and see if everybody else does. Driving in bus lanes? Par for the course in Auckland. Not to mention all the drivers who think that the law about not using your cellphone applies to everybody else, but they’re a much better driver than all the other idiots on the road so they’re okay.

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  18. Raphael (88 comments) says:

    PaulL (January 13th, 2014 at 11:45 am) says: My view is that if you’re a cyclist at the traffic lights, and there’s no other traffic, why not run the red light?

    just to clarify the situation I mentioned above there was a LOT of traffic as it was rush hour and that is one of the busier intersections in Hamilton.

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  19. Westie31 (1 comment) says:

    I’d be interested to know if the stats on cyclists going through red lights include those lights that cant be triggered by a cyclist

    I’m out there in the day with annoying flashing lights and bright coloured lycra, some high viz as well, I’ll start at 6AM to make sure I’m off the road by 12, the closest calls have been after 12, though not exclusively

    At traffic lights if practical I’ll sometimes move thru to the front and a lot of the time wait for the traffic to move past before I do, generally I dont want passing cars passing me twice

    I ride alone I thinks it s safer me and easier for me to be passed, re where on the road to cycle,in my expercience the closer I cycle to the kerb the closer I’ll be passed. I’ve yet to understand why

    In my 10+ years of riding I feel there are more cyclist aware drivers but still the same number of crazies, that said I think there are more cyclist crazies than there used to be as the sport/past time has grown

    I’m doing my bit, try not to ….me :)

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  20. wf (464 comments) says:

    Loathe cyclists. I give them a wide berth, but I don’t live in a city –
    Had a nasty moment when towing a couple of horses up Waihi hill outside of Turangi on the day of the round-the-lake bike race. Came around the bend to find a crowd of cyclists whizzing towards me all over the road and just about jack-knifed the float stopping. I still don’t know how they managed to avoid me.

    And then there was the time that 5 bikes fell off the car in front of me on a straight bit of the Desert Rd. Fortunately there was a wide shoulder, and the car coming the other way had room to stop. Cheery driver seemed to think it was all a bit of a laugh. Not.

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  21. gump (1,661 comments) says:

    @RRM

    “Road rules, fuckers. Obey them.”

    ———————–

    If you’re a cyclist, following the road rules will get you hurt or killed in short order.

    I used to rack up around 15,000 of road training miles in a given year. I never got hurt or injured, and I never stopped for red lights unless it couldn’t be avoided.

    Riding like a twat guarantees that you’ll be seen, and being seen will keep you alive. That’s the only road rule that cyclists need to know.

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  22. J Bloggs (250 comments) says:

    Traffic Police witness this all the time,but in those stats above, how many cyclists are fined or prosecuted,not worth the chase,no licence so they just can’t be bothered. One can look at any intersection and see the lack of high vis gear and helmets,etc perhaps as part of their ticket revenue gathering quota, cops should target cyclists who can then justify the expense of providing special lanes etc.

    I’ve been pulled over and given a ticket for cycling without a helmet. I was on my way to buy a new one, and got sick of walking the bike, jumped on, went round the corner and BINGO – $50 fine.

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  23. Nigel Kearney (1,049 comments) says:

    I also agree with going through red lights as long as you are careful. There is too much obsession with rules and numerous cases where it is 100% safe to ignore them or it is quite dangerous to just obey the rules and do no more. Blind obedience to rules is no substitute for acting sensibly.

    The bike vs bus situation is a problem though. With a bus dropping off and picking up quite often, the bike and bus can overtake each other multiple times and end up in an interweaving dance of death, or near death. Cycle lanes don’t help much because there is a conflict with people getting on and off the bus.

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  24. RRM (10,020 comments) says:

    Pete George – that sounds like it would have been a pretty frightening crash to be involved in!

    My old Grandad’s swansong from driving happened in similar circumstances, albeit at 50m/h in town when a cyclist did something unpredictable in front of him and went into the bonnet of his old Morris 1300. Left a nasty dent – it was a mint little car before that! The cyclist limped away from court scot free, Grandad had to pay some sort of fine and never drove again.

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  25. James Stephenson (2,225 comments) says:

    Blind obedience to rules is no substitute for acting sensibly.

    This. Unfortunately, blind obedience is what is demanded of car drivers (4kph tolerance! Or else!) so I guess it’s only fair that they expect the same to be levelled at other road users.

    If you can’t think more than 5m ahead of your front wheel, and can’t deal with treating every metal-encased road user as if they’re out to kill you, then you should probably take the bus.

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  26. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Having had friends suffer some horrific injuries while cycling, I’ve been reluctant to buy a bike for use around Wellington.

    When I went for instruction for my motorcycle licence, the first thing the instructor did was tell us that we were idiots. Then he paused and told us we were idiots again. His reasoning was that no matter how good a rider we were, it was inevitable that somewhere down the line a car driver would fail to see us and cut us off, and when that happened, your life or health depended on luck.

    He was right: it doesn’t matter how much people complain or how many road safety advertisements are played, people in cars have difficulty noticing smaller vehicles such as bicycles or motorcycles.

    The same thing applies to cycling: you are a fucking idiot if you cycle in urban areas. You can complain about driver behaviour all you like, but it is never going to change, and you are needlessly putting yourself at risk. I learned this the hard way after having been cut off as a motorcycle and being swiped by a jeep as a teenager on a bicycle.

    The problem with cycling is that yuppies now do it. Back in the day it was mostly kids cycling in the suburbs, but now every second yuppie has to have an expensive bike, and everyone knows how these people moan endlessly when society isn’t set up to suit them over everyone else.

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  27. Pete George (23,683 comments) says:

    RRM – I didn’t have time to be frightened when it happening. Fortunately the kids were in the back seat, they took it pretty well. But it was a bit frightening checking out a prone bod on the side of the road.

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  28. All_on_Red (1,645 comments) says:

    I think that when ever a cycle lane is provided then it must be compulsory for cyclists to use them. If they go on the road then its a fine.
    Too often down Tamaki drive I see large groups of cyclists blocking the road when there is a perfectly good cycle lane available for them.

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  29. RRM (10,020 comments) says:

    Too often down Tamaki drive I see large groups of cyclists blocking the road when there is a perfectly good cycle lane available for them.

    Seconded…

    When I lived there, there used to be a bunch of them who would ride along Tamaki Drive early in the morning, with an Audi Q7 following along behind acting as a safety car for them, with its hazard lights flashing, but fully out in the lane, so that ALL other traffic was blocked, and you had to either be content with going 30km/h or else overtake the SUV to pass the cyclists. Arseholes.

    (Ironically, I have known cyclists complain about how pedestrians and joggers get in their way, and that’s why they don’t use the cycleway provided all along Tamaki drive… so they are hypocrites as well as arseholes…)

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  30. 2boyz (264 comments) says:

    I ride on the road occasionally, more inclined to mountain bike off road. When I ride on the road I stay as far left as possible and follow the road rules, sure it’s freaken annoying having to stop and restart a bike at multiple sets of traffic lights but follow the rules and you just have to live with it. I figure I will come off second best so ride accordingly.

    Off road riding has it’s challenges to, there is always someone faster and stronger and they must get past you at all costs so you don’t upset their run (been abused a few times for not getting out of the way the split second a rider catches up) but some single tracks you can’t just stop in the first instance. There is a definite pecking order, doesn’t matter if you all ride a bike. Recreational walkers are an inconvenience for some.

    All riders should ride to survive and not rely on the sense of entitlement, as in it’s my right to be on this road.

    Government should outlaw 2 abreast riding, lives would be saved.

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  31. Fentex (1,038 comments) says:

    A few of my anecdotes regarding the dangers of cycling…

    The closest I’ve come to being killed was either as a kid on my way home from Intermediate at the start of a long weekend when with a strong tail wind I motored into the park I crossed to go home and discovered too late a chain had been put across the entrance.

    Swan dive, my first concussion and broken nose. Not really a story about road users, just the dangers of the unexpected in general.

    While cycling in England in a hedged country lane some lackwit overtaking traffic on a blind corner came exceptionally close to taking me head on at, I’d guess, 90 kph.

    On multiple occasions I have been knocked off my bike by drivers turning into me at corners I was cycling through having simply not noticed and/or considered my position.

    I gave up using a motorbike the day a heavy construction vehicle turned suddenly in front of me with no indication and my bike went under it’s rear four wheels and came out a pretzel – I having bailed off the back of the bike and rolled along the road.

    Once when riding behind a friend a SUV towing a boat shot past us – and a stanchion of the trailer, which was significantly wider than the towing vehicle missed me by a couple of inches and I got to see how close it was watching it whip past my friend.

    If he had needed to move outside a pothole or other obstruction it’d have taken his head off.

    From the other perspective I had bought a new car and was on the way to meet up with a friend when on one corner, just this once, where I had hundreds of meters of visibility of country side road I decided to find out how my new car handled high speed cornering and having taking particular care to check for oncoming traffic I dived into the corner and came very close to wiping out a cyclist coming the other way that I just hadn’t seen. A salutatory lesson for me.

    It’s simply dangerous for these different vehicles to be on the same road and we should put some effort into getting them apart.

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  32. James Stephenson (2,225 comments) says:

    (Ironically, I have known cyclists complain about how pedestrians and joggers get in their way, and that’s why they don’t use the cycleway provided all along Tamaki drive… so they are hypocrites as well as arseholes…)

    If I want to pootle along at <10kph dodging oncoming rollerbladers, joggers, kids and 3-abreast prams, I'll ride on the path. If I want to ride at 40kph with half a dozen mates, I'll go on the road thanks.

    There's hardly any of the day in which that's a problem, most ofthe time it's either not busy so bike won't hold you up, orit's jammed in which case I'm overtaking the cages.

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  33. J Bloggs (250 comments) says:

    On a related note: I’ve just returned from the local supermarket having nearly taken out a kid on a skateboard, who, without looking, jumped the kerb from the footpath into the carpark slot I was just pulling into.

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  34. Paulus (2,664 comments) says:

    Tauranga Bridge has a special separated clip on on both sides of the bridge for Cyclists, Walkers etc, from Mt Maunganui to the City and v.v, but do the Lycra brigade use it – no way – they are clever and try and race the heavy traffic travelling to officially 80kms.
    One day there is going to be a serious fatal casualty, if there has not been one already.

    I know it will be the vehicle’s fault, but that is why these special lanes were built.

    Sheer arrogant bloody mindedness

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  35. PhilP (163 comments) says:

    Turning left on a Red light works fine in Samoa.

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  36. Ed Snack (1,927 comments) says:

    A lot of very intolerant car drivers it seems ! I’d believe the stats on cars at fault having seen to many cases of cars simply not seeing you on a cycle, no matter what you are wearing. I’ve barely avoided two or three nasty falls because cars pull across in front of you without it seems paying any attention; a good friend had the reverse of the sort of accident PG reports, while cycling along Tamaki Drive a car pulled out past him, then, apparently spotting an open car parking spot, slammed on the brakes right in front of him. Whereupon my mate went straight into the back of him, through the rear window and finished up in the front passenger footwell head first. To put it lightly he was somewhat annoyed, and the driver utterly surprised. Luckily apart from a few grazes and a sore neck he was unhurt, the bike fared rather worse.

    I don’t ride as often or as competitively as I used to, but there is a certain cadre of arrogant cyclists who are a right pain, but the mob I cycled with always used to emphasize road manners, two abreast is fine if it’s clear or wide enough, but go into single file for passing traffic; plus lots of signalling and general awareness. Just because a car driver looked straight at you doesn’t mean they saw you; an awful lot of accidents I’ve seen or heard of seem to be related to that, drivers simply not registering cyclists. So if you see them enough for them to irritate you, that’s probably a good thing !

    Just for interest, there used to be, as I recall, a left turn arrow at the intersection at the bottom of Parnell Rise. Does anyone know if it is still there ? The lights have changed as the intersection changed a few years ago and it may have gone.

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  37. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    A lot of very intolerant car drivers it seems ! I’d believe the stats on cars at fault having seen to many cases of cars simply not seeing you on a cycle, no matter what you are wearing. I’ve barely avoided two or three nasty falls because cars pull across in front of you without it seems paying any attention.

    And yet you still cycle…

    Some people just can’t take a hint.

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  38. virtualmark (1,537 comments) says:

    I’m a recreational cyclist, and do about 4,000-5,000km a year on the road.

    I will, occasionally, go through a red light, but only where the road layout is a “left turn” or a “straight ahead with no traffic able to come in from the left”. And only after slowing almost to a full halt and looking carefully for traffic. The difficulty on a bike is that your feet are clipped into the pedals with a ski-type binding. The most routinely dangerous part of a ride is the first 10 meters after an intersection once the lights go green. The cars are accelerating, you’re trying to build up speed and re-clip into your pedals … if someone isn’t paying attention then you get hit. So if the layout of the intersection is suitable then it’s actually safer to carefully ride through and avoid the possible competition with the cars.

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  39. Raphael (88 comments) says:

    virtualmark (January 13th, 2014 at 1:55 pm) says:
    “The difficulty on a bike is that your feet are clipped into the pedals with a ski-type binding. The most routinely dangerous part of a ride is the first 10 meters after an intersection once the lights go green. The cars are accelerating, you’re trying to build up speed and re-clip into your pedals”

    That makes a strong case for using the spd-style clipless pedals us mountain bikers use, rather than the ski-type ones. You can get you feet out and back in very fast making it much safer if you’re doing lots of stop start riding in traffic (especially if commuting).

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  40. virtualmark (1,537 comments) says:

    Raphael,

    The road clips aren’t any more difficult than the mountain bike ones, my reference to “ski type bindings” was more for the non-cyclists who perhaps don’t realise that cyclists’ shoes are clipped into their pedals and it’s a pain to unclip/re-clip at every intersection.

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  41. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    I’ve lived and ridden pushbikes in UK (including London), Holland and here. Auckland is by far the most dangerous (and bloody awful to get around in on a bike because of all the hills) and I stopped after a few months, mainly because of the danger. I should have realised that in hindsight as I had to completely change my (car) driving style to an utterly defensive one when I came to NZ. (At last count I have driven in 30 odd countries and Kiwi drivers are pretty poor though improving.)

    You are a fool if you ride a bike in Auckland until the city undergoes remedial driving lessons.

    Many cyclists seem to take the driving attitudes to cycling and have a death wish, no reflectors, lights, helmet, signalling, poor stability, wrong side of the road etc etc

    FYI it’s not all roses biking in Holland with all the bike lanes. It is a lot safer (mind you dutch drivers are better drivers) but there are a lot of bike accidents especially involving pedestrians. One is just less likely to die in a bike accident there.

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  42. Harriet (5,131 comments) says:

    When did cyclists start thinking that arriving somewhere as fast as cars is the meaning of transport? :cool:

    Pushbikes are not designed that way.

    Poor traffic flow may allow a cyclist to arrive quicker than a car in some cases, but that in itself is not the point of an efficent transport system. It’s the realities of an inefficent one.

    So argueing that roads should be ‘safer for cyclists’ is not relevant, as cycling is no longer ‘relevant’ in transportion – the advances in car, bus – and for that matter train, boat and plane design – tell us so.

    Cars, trucks, buses and roads[design] WILL always have presedence over cyclists in a true ‘modern economy’.

    You cyclists should fuck off out of town on the donkeys and asses that you rode in on ! :cool:

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  43. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    MH said:

    After midnight all road intersections controlled by traffic lights should be made to blink orange and normal give way rights should apply as done in the US of A.

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Have you ever watched anyone at an uncontrolled intersection try and figure out who has to give way? It would create more hassles than it’s worth.

    gump said:

    Riding like a twat guarantees that you’ll be seen, and being seen will keep you alive. That’s the only road rule that cyclists need to know.

    And it’s people like you who motorists hate. You deserve to be knocked off your bike.

    Raphael/virtualmark

    the non-cyclists who perhaps don’t realise that cyclists’ shoes are clipped into their pedals and it’s a pain to unclip/re-clip at every intersection.

    I have never had an issue with clips at intersections since I don’t use them. Normal people don’t wear lycra and have pedals and conventional shoes, and don’t need to clip in again. We also stay well off to the left when starting off after a red light, since that is well out of the way. Or dismount and use the pedestrian crossing for a big intersection.

    Paulus:

    Tauranga Bridge has a special separated clip on on both sides of the bridge for Cyclists, Walkers etc, from Mt Maunganui to the City and v.v, but do the Lycra brigade use it – no way – they are clever and try and race the heavy traffic travelling to officially 80kms.

    Amen. The dickheads should be using the seperated path. I would be.

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  44. artemisia (254 comments) says:

    People who think cyclists should be allowed to turn left on a red should stand at the intersection of Willis and Boulcott Streets in Welly CBD for a few minutes. Cyclists coming down the hill often turn left into Willis Street on a red, ignoring the unprotected pedestrians legitimately stepping off the kerb. So it isn’t just the motorists and cyclists at risk.

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  45. Akaroa (586 comments) says:

    (Tom Jackson at 1258 posted: “…..The same thing applies to cycling: you are a fucking idiot if you cycle in urban areas……”)

    That’s the most sensible thing that’s been said so far.

    I used to cycle. For fitness. Ho yes! I was a real gun pedlar, I can tell you! This was when I lived in Maupuia in Wellington. Fit? You’ve no idea!! Expensive road bike, expensive gear, complex training plan – the works.

    BUT!! (And there’s always a but, eh?) I used to cycle mainly before dawn when the roads were relatively free of other traffic. Some great routes there are in Wgtn too, I can tell you. And in traffic density/danger terms that’s the safest time of day to ride. Need lights though!!

    Why did I quit? Successively over a period of two plus years, i came off and broke both hips, and both elbows (not all at the same time fortunately!!) Why? Because of lousy road surfaces, half-arsed road repairs and generally appalling street engineering designed for four wheeled motorised vehicles – NOT pedal cycles.

    No wonder some cyclists are arrogant pigs – they’re the forgotten people of the roads safety and convenience-wise.

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  46. wrightingright (145 comments) says:

    I will drive as close as possible to them

    gazzmaniac has just admitted to willfully putting cyclists’ lives at risk, I hope I don’t ever see you being put on a charge of murder. Even if it looks like one day you might actually deserve it, but I hope that never happens :-/

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  47. Steve (North Shore) (4,589 comments) says:

    Here is a question for the Road Lice:
    “What does a Red Light mean?”

    If you answered “Stop” you are correct.
    If you have any other answer, then get off the fucking road and get rid of your bike.
    Red means STOP, Red means STOP, Red means STOP.
    Try it, you may keep yourself alive

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  48. wrightingright (145 comments) says:

    MOT reports that cyclists had fault in just 37% of crashes and primary fault in just 23%.

    MOT tells lies!

    Big lies!

    What the MOT/pigs in fact do is start with the position that the poor bloody motorist is at fault then demand the motorist prove otherwise.

    For most motorists this is simply not worth the bother, allowing the totally corrupt system to gather more revenue off the already suffering motorist and of course, to compile totally incorrect statistics for the slime to publicise.

    Not true at all! But that is how it should be however! As they’ve successfully done in other countries, such as Netherlands, where the bigger and much more lethal vehicle bears the responsibility.

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  49. Steve (North Shore) (4,589 comments) says:

    One downvote already! Must be Road Lice

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  50. wrightingright (145 comments) says:

    I think that when ever a cycle lane is provided then it must be compulsory for cyclists to use them. If they go on the road then its a fine.

    My experience with cycle lanes is the majority of the time they’re useless, whoever made them out to be fined, they’re lethal.

    I just simply want roads to be slightly wider so I’ve got space to not be run over, not have another waste of space cycle lane that is only there to make those who built it feel good, and for the car drivers to whine about! Tamaki Drive that you mentioned is a fine example of a very poorly designed cycle lane.

    The only half way good cycle lanes are the ones done with the bus lanes, but even they’re only half good, as then you have to dance the dance of death and busses leap frog past you then slow down, and back again, over and over.

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  51. gump (1,661 comments) says:

    @gazzmaniac

    “And it’s people like you who motorists hate. You deserve to be knocked off your bike.”

    ——————-

    I deserve to be knocked off my bike? Why on earth would you say that? Did your mum drop you on the head as a baby?

    A cyclist’s absolute priority is to make them-self safe. This means they should run red lights as a matter of routine – so they can quickly clear the “death zone” that intersections create when traffic restarts its movement from a standstill.

    We wouldn’t have death zones at intersections if NZ drivers actually knew how to drive, and our intersections had sufficient width. But neither of these things is true.

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  52. Crusader (322 comments) says:

    Yes, cyclists, like car drivers, must obey the law. No debate.
    But it is not the job of car drivers to enforce this. And it is stupid for car drivers to get angry at cyclists (or other car drivers) who do break the law. Such people need anger management courses (or just to get a brain and calm down). Any car driver who imagines that they can teach the cyclist they saw running a red light a lesson by cutting off the next cyclist needs to be committed to a mental institution.

    It is stupid to label people “drivers” or “cyclists”. Us and Them. Cue Pink Floyd. We are all human beings, trying to get along, man. Have a thought for your fellow road travellers.

    The only way to get us to see each other’s point of view, is to walk a mile in the other’s shoes. Since most cyclists also drive cars, that much is pretty much done. We cyclists have driven cars and we know it can be annoying to have cyclists weaving through traffic. What is needed now is for more car drivers to get onto cycles and ride through the city. They will then know how terrifying it is to have a car pass within a metre of your right side. How your life can flash before your eyes multiple times on the journey to work. And they would then make it their policy to give a decent space.

    The only motivator for city councils to actually give a damn about cycle safety would be to enforce a policy of each councillor to cycle to work at least one day a week. Then and only then would we see some action.

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  53. Harriet (5,131 comments) says:

    “…..The only motivator for city councils to actually give a damn about cycle safety would be to enforce a policy of each councillor to cycle to work at least one day a week. Then and only then would we see some action….”

    Then you won’t mind one little bit if they go as a passenger in a car or truck that is work related?

    What happens if the councils are then made aware of the obvious TRUTH that ‘road users’ are not all alike – infact, not a like at all:

    Bikes are not designed to travel at the speeds of trucks, buses, or cars, nor be of any productive use like them, nor as safe as them, and roads should therefor be designed to accomodate cars and trucks before cyclists. Anything less is selfish. A modern economy operates on being MORE productive – not less.

    Poor traffic flow may allow a cyclist to arrive quicker than a car in some cases, but that in itself is not the point of an efficent transport system. It’s the realities of an inefficent one.

    So argueing that roads should be ‘safer for cyclists’ is not relevant, as cycling is no longer ‘relevant’ in transportion – the advances in car, bus – and for that matter train, boat and plane design – tell us so.

    Cars, trucks, buses and roads[design] WILL always have presedence over cyclists in a true ‘modern economy’.

    Cycling is no longer relevent in this day and age. Donkeys and asses really! :cool:

    It’s simply a fucken loudmouth minority that uses dead people as mascots to push a selfish agenda. Sick! :cool:

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  54. gump (1,661 comments) says:

    @Harriet

    “Bikes are not designed to travel at the speeds of trucks, buses, or cars, nor be of any productive use like them, nor as safe as them, and roads should therefor be designed to accomodate cars and trucks before cyclists. Anything less is selfish. A modern economy operates on being MORE productive – not less”

    ———————-

    I love how you use words with no regard to what they actually mean.

    Bicycles in urban areas increase economic productivity. They reduce congestion, don’t produce any pollution, and they don’t need to be parked in giant multi-level warehouses like cars do.

    The world’s most advanced and economically productive cities are almost all friendly towards bicycles and cyclists. The economic benefits are fairly obvious.

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  55. hane (69 comments) says:

    Sad how so many posters here have fallen victim to the anti-cycling propaganda pushed by successive NZ governments over the past 30 years. Brainwashed by the nanny state!

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  56. hubbers (142 comments) says:

    10 million bike rides were taken in Portland last year and no one died.
    http://bikeportland.org/2013/12/31/the-4-biggest-portland-bike-stories-nobody-wrote-in-2013-99291

    As for all the cycle haters and loathers, you should go for a ride one time and get some perspective as well as some fat off your angry arses, Some cyclists could take the same medicine and drive along popular cycle routes. There are lessons for all the haters.

    https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/1558549_274406369376816_2089494099_n.jpg

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