Design, signage crucial to safety

GLENN CONWAY
Last updated 05:00 31/03/2014

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Transport

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Consistent cycleway design and signage is crucial for making cyclists feel safer on Christchurch roads, an international transport expert says.

Leo de Jong, of the Netherlands, has been helping the Christchurch City Council develop its city-wide plan and although that five-year project has been extended to eight years, he said it was important to do the background planning well first.

The council wants to build 13 major cycleways criss-crossing Christchurch by 2021 at a cost of about $69 million.

When he first visited Christchurch in November last year, de Jong, an avid cyclist, said he was often confused about where to go and where riders fitted into the roading system.

He submitted his thoughts in what officials called an "honest" report.

That document said the council should take time to look at the best way to serve cyclists while taking the needs of other roads users into consideration.

Consistent signage and design was crucial, de Jong said. Combining those into a safe environment would encourage more cyclists.

Two cycleways - Grassmere-Papanui to the city and another route connecting Canterbury University and the city's College of Education with the central business district - will roll out in the coming financial year.

Council network planning transport team leader Richard Holland said the first part of the project was getting all the details down on paper and deciding how the programme would be rolled out across the city.

"We are spending a lot of time this year on plans, designs and getting the principles right," he said.

In some instances, the council might have to buy land, consult with property owners and add extras like kerbing to some pockets of land.

Programme manager John Hannah said the cycleways project would include new ways to encourage non-cyclists to get on their bikes as well as making cyclists feel safer and like they "belong" on the city's roads.

"We're not just painting white lines on a road. That doesn't improve safety at all."

Cycleways physically divided from the rest of a roadway would feature clear and informative signage, and other safety features would also be introduced.

Officials estimated only about 6 per cent of the public cycled regularly.

They hoped that figure would jump to 20 per cent once the cycleways were rolled out.

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- The Press

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