Christchurch 'the best cycling city'

Last updated 05:00 19/05/2014

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I do not wish to scuttle the good efforts of Spokes, but all things considered, Christchurch is easily the best city for cycling I've ever seen.

There are cycle lanes on all busy roads, special traffic lights and signage for bikes, a growing number of cycleways, etc (although the ubiquitous roadworks do make things a bit more interesting).

I've been commuting on busy roads for decades and I've long since found that if you live long enough you develop a sixth sense of where the traffic is and what it's going to do.

I have also taken (and taught) effective cycling courses, so I know how to ride safely and confidently in all situations.

I also take great care to communicate with drivers with eye contact and hand signals, which makes things a lot nicer for everyone.

However, I know that not everyone has my skill set, and other cyclists have a very different experience of riding on the roads.

I am one of those who dreams of Christchurch returning to its former "Cyclopolis" status, but I know that won't happen if the perception is that cycling is far too dangerous.

Since that is the case, bicycles won't be adopted as a major form of transportation until dedicated cycleways are developed, so I whole-heartedly applaud the efforts of Spokes and other groups in urging this issue forward.

In addition to developing dedicated bike paths, it is absolutely vital that people be educated in the proper way to conduct themselves in traffic.  I don't mean just make them wear a hi-vis vest, that's just an ineffectual nanny-state bandage, and won't do any good at all.

People need to know how to ride safely in traffic so they are seen, instead of hiding from cars and then shooting out in front of them.

Other techniques include anticipating drivers' actions, always watching for an escape route, and communicating effectively with drivers.

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