Your say: Dangers of cycling on NZ roads

Last updated 00:00 01/01/2009

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Stuff readers have their say on the dangers cyclists face - and pose - on New Zealand roads.

What do you think? Send us your feedback or email and we'll publish your comments.

RE: Workmates share bike horror stories

Feedback (latest posts at top):

I cycle almost every day with my young children and consider it is vital for us all to continue to cycle to reduce emissions and encourage healthier lifestyles.  We wear reflective gear and are very courteous cyclists and I have actually found that here in Palmerston North motorists are considerate.  I think this is largely because I have either a trailer with two kids in it or a tandem attachment with a little person pedaling.  Both the novelty value and the little people I find often actually stop traffic that gives way to me.  I would like to see NZ make our roads much more cyclist friendly, I certainly choose our routes carefully and avoid taking the bike trailer down busy roads with lots of trucks because it just feels too risky.  I'd like to see city centres exclude most motor traffic and have safer access for bikes and pedestrians, making common commuter routes cyclist friendly will reduce cars and congestion too so makes good sense. 
Anna Skinner

The main reason I don't use up the whole of any cycle lane is because of the amount of glass found there. They seem to be used as places to put glass after an accident. They are also places where car drivers throw (either for fun or out of thoughtlessness) bottles from their cars. I'd use more of the cycle lane if it were safe to do so. You can't see the glass from your car, and it's hard to spot when walking, so people should take a cycle ride and see what it's like. Police, drivers and Council, please take note! 
Steve Reeves

I love to drive and I love to ride bikes. Through experience and reading other peoples comments I feel there is a dangerous mindset in the public eye that dictates that the motorist owns the roads. I have been cut off and hit on my bike then after heated conversation told that I should "get a car". Obviously I talk in general terms but can say cyclists are prepared to share the roads but have to plan that in every car hides a blind idiot doing their makeup while texting drunk, until the next one drives into the danger zone. For a cyclist every accident is a chance of severe injury or death, for a car on car accident it is a ding or a paint scrape, there needs to be a social shift
that alters a persons mind set behind the wheel of a car in New Zealand, they need to be held accountable for the repercussions of trying to "own" the roads.
Simon Courtney

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Having spent 10 years cycling every day on pavements in Japanese cities  (where the pavements are just as 'narrow' and the drivers are just as 'inconsiderate') and having never seen nor heard of an accident, I am dumbfounded by the insistence that all
cyclists in New Zealand must share the road with motor-vehicles,- while the pavements  go all but unused,  with the constant threat of being fined $200 for doing so dissuading a large section of our society who we don't usually even associate with 'cyclists' from taking up what should be the mode of choice in this, New Zealand's traditionally 'most cycle-friendly' city. The assumption that ALL cyclists must want to be riding as fast as possible to get to where they are goingis a major flaw in the approach taken by the authorities as their attention is focused on facilitating for the needs of the prevalent existing cycling culture,-which under the current conditions is (virtually)
the only cycling culture that can exist in our cities, while completely ignoring the needs of another more gentle cycling culture which should be given every encouragement to become established. Look at Kyoto in Japan, and at Copenhagen, Amsterdam-where you'll see that a much gentler culture of urban utility cyclists has been encouraged to evolve,- one which is participated in by all sectors of society. If we are ever  going to really start changing our lives to wean ourselves off our addiction to burning carbon to get around, choosing to cycle whenever practicable, is one of the easiest, most enjoyable and most effective steps we can take.
Alan Preston

In light of the article about cyclists being injured, it  prompted me to respond. Obviously the majority of bikes vs  car incidents are caused by motorists not looking and being  careless. Howeve on the flip side, my friend and I notice  that frequently cyclists will ride 2 abreast with traffic around. We have also noticed that in areas where the speeds are 80km+ cyclists will put themselves in danger by riding right on the white line on the shoulder, even when there's a meter of perfectly good road on the other side, why do  that? Riding across bridges (eg Moonshine Bridge in Upper Hutt) puts many lives at risk because if there's a bike on the bridge and traffic both ways, quite often a car has to  break suddenly or swerve to miss. On this particular bridge there is a pedestrian path, although it's not suitable for riding on with thin tyres, i know what i'd choose to be safer. Cyclists need to take care of themselves and not put  themselves in situations that will cause driver panic. No driver wants to hit a cyclist but if arrogant cyclists keep  going that way, they will get hit. I ride a motorcycle and see dangerous situations everyday, preventing them yourself  is the key to staying safe.
Hayley Beattie

Shouldn't be allowed on the roads.  They need somewhere away from traffic to cycle. I see a lot of cyclists bringing danger on themselves eg cycling two abreast in groups.  Like hell the car is going to move over to get past and put themselves in danger. Cycle lanes should be put along busy roads
Tracy Greig

I enjoy cycling to work, although I have been doing so less and less in recent months.  The risks of  riding are high. Cyclists like myself grit their teeth and pray as traffic  passes close and play "dodgems" with us cyclists and other  vehicles. Glass and debris litter the roads that cyclists use.  We  have to watch and consider everything: cars in front, cars parked  (we silently pray that doors do not fly open suddenly in front of us or vehicles pull out without  indicating), road conditions, and listening to all things  around us.  It is more than your average driver has to  consider. This is not to say that all cyclists are saints and all  drivers are sinners.  I believe it is time that more consideration is given to  cyclists.  We desperately need proper cycle lanes.  Not  footpaths with strips of paint to indicate that cyclists  are given "permission" to ride there.  Not ad campaigns for  consideration of cyclists.  Not poorly maintained cycle  byways that are like riding a mountain pass where mules are  the best means of travel.  I mean proper consideration in  road construction that sets a segment of all roads  available for cyclists. Cycling is one of the most environmentally friendly means  of transport and it is excellent exercise.  The more accessibility for cyclists means less  traffic congestion, less use of expensive petrol and an  encouragement for healthy lifestyles.  It means fewer  accidents and so lower related costs of accidents to the  New Zealand economy and society. Doing these things now will encourage more and more people  to cycle in the future.  The net benefits far outweigh the  costs involved.
Matt Johnston

I've hit the road several times after being knocked off, both cyclist and vehicle drivers are at fault, cyclist  often don't wear seeable clothes and don'tSure the road is dangerous for a cyclist but nothing pisses me off more when a cyclist thinks they own the road. You only have to live round Opawa to see that and frequent Heathcote Valley to getting bloody mad at the cyclists. I don't like having the finger flipped at me when I have a issued a warning toot. I pulled into Heathcote Valley off the road to Sumner only to slam on my brakes because the cyclists are 6 plus plus across the road and there is NO WAY I can pass them. Murry Ansley Terrace, cyclists all over the road. So just remember there are always two sides to every story.
Tess L

I give hand  signals, motorist often try to race you around corners! We need an effective (and I mean effective) TV driven cycle  awareness campaign for both parties, not just some  frilly "please be careful of cyclists" signs. Cyclists are legitimate vehicles on our roads, but riders must also act like them.

- Stuff

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