OPINION: With the darling buds of spring bursting forth, the blaze of Lycra seems to grow in tandem with the explosion of blossom. Yes, the warmer weather brings recreational cyclists out in ever-increasing force.
Cycling advocates are stepping up their campaign for legislative protection, which would force motorists to give every cyclist 1.5 metres of breathing space.
As a very occasional cyclist, I can fully appreciate the desire for more room to roam unmolested by vehicular traffic.
But you only have to look at the tenuously narrow lane configurations on many roads to conclude that a 1.5m distance between cyclists and motorists is impractical.
Such a requirement would have the perverse result of forcing motorists to routinely cross the centre line to keep clear of cyclists.
I think there is a much easier solution to the pathological tension and territorial hostility that plays out on our roads between the two-wheelers and four-wheelers.
Abolish the two-abreast cycling rule. This rule is already a strings-attached mishmash, given the road code states that cyclists can ride two abreast, but not if they are impeding traffic from behind or passing parked cars.
Well, how many abide by that?
Cycling two abreast is a quaint 1950s anachronism. Single file is the way to go.
Insanity on Ilam
Have you been past Canterbury University lately?
Since mid-July, a chunk of Ilam Rd, from Creyke Rd to Kirkwood Ave, has been the subject of a $600,000 "cycle-friendly refurbishment".
This carve-up of the road into vehicle, parking and cycling lanes has led to the truly barking outcome that cyclists now have a bigger share of the bitumen than general road traffic.
This over-cooked, spliced-up reworking of Ilam Rd could only be the product of an over-reaching council committee that's sipped too many cups of oolong tea.
Cyclists not only have free run of the footpaths, emblazoned with bike symbols, but a dedicated roadside cycle lane, reinforced with concrete blockades.
I'm serious - they are blockades. These ugly concrete slabs are virtually impossible to see at night, as motorists and their mangled left front wheels will testify.
For vehicular traffic, Ilam Rd has now been absurdly shrunk to mimic the girth of an incidental country lane.
The city council has had the gall to hail Ilam Rd's extravagant reconfiguration as a "guinea pig" for our future.
Enhancing the roading provision for cyclists must be done cost-effectively - $600,000 for a 500m-long redesign is a dud deal and completely unsustainable.
In fact, the Ilam Rd spend-up has spooky parallels to that obscenely costly bus trial in Hills Rd a few years ago that was deemed an abject failure.
- © Fairfax NZ News