Statistics reveal urgent need for cycle lanes
A Christchurch City councillor says he is too afraid to bike to work and that it will take a change in attitudes as well as new cycle lanes to make city roads safe.
The comments, from Cr Glenn Livingstone, come after figures show, on average, a cyclist is injured on Christchurch roads every week.
The provisional New Zealand Transport Agency figures reveal 16 cyclists have been injured in a road crash so far this year.
This equates to more than one a week.
The figure includes student nurse Sharla Phyllis Haerewa, 22, who was the first cyclist to be killed this year.
She was struck by a turning truck while cycling, with lights and a bag reflector, on Lincoln Rd about 6.40am on Wednesday.
Six other cyclists were seriously injured in crashes this year, while nine sustained minor injuries.
Her death sparked calls to urgently make city streets safer for cyclists.
The Christchurch City Council wants to build 13 major city cycleways by 2021 - a proposed extension to the original deadline of 2018.
Council staff said it would be impossible to complete the $69 million project in the original timeframe, even if all the money was available.
Construction of two of the cycleways will begin later this year.
They are the University of Canterbury and College of Education to the central city route, called the Uni-Cycle, and the Grassmere Route, connecting Papanui to the central city.
Livingstone said he cycled only on Sundays and early in the morning to avoid traffic.
"I want to cycle to the council but it's too dangerous," he said. "I'd love to take up cycling but I feel safer doing the Coast to Coast [adventure race]."
The solution to making the roads safer was a combination of "practical and social steps", he said.
This meant cycleways and road user education.
"We're known as a city of bad drivers and I think we need to change that," Livingstone said.
Cr Pauline Cotter, who is also on the council's environmental committee, said the new time frame was based on advice from staff, who said it would be impossible to complete all 13 cycleways in five years.
"It is a realistic timeframe for completing a massive project," Cotter said. "If there is any way we can speed that up, we will."