Cyclists face 'deadly' risk

People could be killed if a planned cycle lane goes across the entrance and exit of Christchurch's new bus interchange, Dame Margaret Bazley says.

The Environment Canterbury (ECan) chairwoman said up to 100 buses a day would cross the Tuam St cycleway each hour between 6am and midnight.

She told councillors at a Christchurch City Council meeting yesterday the conflict could result in serious injury or death and put additional stress on bus drivers who would be placed in a risky position.

"The likelihood and severity of this potential conflict should be avoided at all costs," she said.

Construction of the city's new $53 million, 14,000 square-metre bus interchange is under way.

The facility, situated between SOL Square, Tuam, Colombo and Lichfield streets, is expected to open by winter next year.

The interchange will have 16 bays, be capable of handling more than 100 buses an hour and by 2041 is expected to be used by 70,000 people a day.

Bazley said the previous exchange on Lichfield St was fraught with safety problems and despite being assured of its safety by technical experts, there were several accidents between pedestrians and buses, as ECan had feared.

"We must learn from these lessons and ensure the new facility is designed to the highest safety standards."

An audit from Abley Transport Consultants recommended the south side of Tuam St would be the safest, not the north side as proposed, Bazley said.

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Red Bus chief executive Paul McNoe shared her concerns.

He said there was too much risk involved in positioning the cycleway across the interchange's entrance and exit.

"At some stage, there will be a cyclist that does something wrong and there will be a serious collision.

"We don't want our drivers to be exposed to that."

The best engineering measures could be put in place but some cyclists would still circumvent them, McNoe said.

"It's just too risky. Like an unexploded hand grenade, it will go off.

"I really don't want our drivers to be in a position to kill someone."

He urged the council to move the cycleway to the other side of Tuam St, to avoid a clash.

Cr David East said the council had received advice that motorists were used to seeing cyclists on the left and putting a cycleway on the right was also a safety issue.

The council will consider the issue at its meeting today, as part of three An Accessible City traffic projects, designed to ensure buses can access the interchange on a number of new approach routes.

 - The Press


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