I like to ride my....Not brave enough to bike
I am a 23-year-old female and I don't drive. It's not due to rising costs at the petrol pump, I just never got around to getting my licence. So as a result I walk everywhere or get the bus.
After the September 2010 and February 2011 quakes here in Christchurch it was generally assumed that with some major roads being out of action a lot more people would turn to cycling as their mode of transport. Christchurch is remarkably flat if you don't include the Port Hills, so what's not to love from a cyclist's point of view?
Well, as it seems, the city's drivers are keeping a lot of people off their bikes.
My partner, who is a triathlete and has spent the majority of his life on a bike, has developed a pet hate for cycling on Christchurch roads due to the number of drivers who either don't care or don't see cyclists.
In July he was knocked off his bike on his way to a coaching session early in the morning. Luckily, his injuries were fairly minor and nothing was broken. We both accepted that both the driver and him were at fault so weren't too upset about it and got on with things.
A few weeks later, when he was allowed back on his bike, he was cycling along Riccarton Rd towards Hagley Park and again was nearly hit by a driver who simply didn't see him, despite wearing a high-vis vest. As a result he has taken to driving and taking the bus for fear of being knocked off again and it causing disruption to his work, studies and his own training.
It is these accidents which has kept me off my own bike and not wanting to brave cycling to work. I am sure I'm not the only one who has this view and I certainly give those who do cycle around our beautiful city regularly a big salute.
Until this changes, I don't think that we will see any change in our statistics relating to road use, but I certainly hope that something can be done to encourage more people to get outdoors. It's certainly a good excuse to do a bit of exercise before and after work.
I lived in Sydney for seven years and after conquering the public transport there I find the Christchurch buses to be a total breeze. They are generally on time, clean, tidy and for only $2.60 get you from A to B. I might experience the same traffic problems during peak hour as a driver, but for much less.
With the traffic in certain parts of the city increasing after the quakes it does take a lot longer to get around the city and I think that adding a few more bus-only lanes here and there during peak hour would make the world of difference and potentially get more people onto them.
Let's face it, they cover the majority of the city and you would be hard-pressed to find you have a considerable walk to your nearest stop. To be honest, I would probably continue to use the buses if I did have the option of driving as I am conscious of the cost of petrol and it's a cost I can live without, especially since rent has taken such a rise.
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