Kiwi drivers need to 'chill out'

Last updated 13:30 15/05/2014

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What's it like to be a cyclist on New Zealand roads? We asked Stuff Nation readers to share their views.

I've commuted on the mean streets of London, ridden the mad mini streets of Barcelona, got a leg over round NYC and checked out the alleys and open cycleways of Amsterdam, all on two wheels.

I can safely say that New Zealand is by far the most dangerous place I've ever ridden a bike.

Small towns like Havelock North, large cities like Auckland, it doesn't matter; Kiwi drivers are just crap.

The sense of entitlement on New Zealand roads is amazing. These drivers have never had to sit in real big city traffic before, and are not accustomed to waiting for anything, let alone some pesky cyclist to accelerate out of shot.

There's a sense of collective responsibility that makes drivers feel as though everyone else is responsible for making their driving experience as easy as possible. Our roads are a public good, a shared resourced, and not a right to operate on.

Personally, I don't have too much trouble. I can accelerate pretty quickly and am well accustomed to acting exactly like a car on my bike.

Things like occupying a whole lane when I'm travelling at the pace of the traffic, not breaking red lights and being assertive about signalling and positioning in general, help to reinforce my bike as a legitimate vehicle deserved of space on the road.

I know there are riders out there who don't obey the rules, and they're idiots, but I think New Zealand drivers need to just chill out a bit.

Some personal advice would be just to relax, take things slowly and think of other people.

Drive for everyone else, instead of yourself. That's what roads are for.

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