Editorial: Separating cars, cyclists

Last updated 05:00 23/02/2013

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OPINION: See what happens when you start talking about things.

Ideas start to flow. Some may even be worth listening to.

Cycle safety has been an issue of late, with cyclists loud in their criticism of motorists.

But it's a two-way street, and cyclists are by no means blameless. One of my pet hates is cyclists who insist on cycling in the cycle lane, often two abreast, when there are no parked cars. Do these people have a death wish or something?

At a Timaru District Council meeting this week cycling advocate group Squeaky Wheel came up with another suggestion. To keep cars and cyclists further apart, put the cycle lane next to the gutter, and park cars a metre or so into the roadway.

Which the council thinks is worth trialling, and is looking at with Otipua Rd and Church St as candidates.

Great idea methinks, even if a few cringe-worthy thoughts occur.

Like, when the car stops and parks and the passenger opens their door without thinking of cyclists on the inside. Like, Timaru drivers getting used to parking out on the roadway on a couple of streets, and not all others. Like, the added danger to cyclists should some cars park the old way and some the new on the trial streets.

We're talking Timaru motorists here.

But the idea is still worth a go.

The Squeaky Wheel group is right that more people would be inclined to bike if they thought they were safe. Or safer anyway.

We're well serviced in Timaru with recreational cycle tracks, but getting to and from work and school is another matter. Best of all would be purpose-built cycleways on all of the main routes in and around town. But that's expensive, so unlikely.

Squeaky Wheel's proposal is the next best thing.

Should it proceed, the first week will be mighty interesting.

You might want to take the bus.

Another thing: How welcome the new penguin signs on Marine Parade are. Put up by the council following the first official count of blue penguins there in December, the signs will hopefully do more than alert people to the presence of the birds among the rocks bordering the adjacent beach; they'll also encourage safer driving. The speed of some drivers along that road, especially late at night, is nothing short of reckless.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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