Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Staying Alive

347 Responses

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  • Roger, in reply to elsketcho,

    Perhaps if cyclists were to contribute some form of license fee

    Most roads in New Zealand are originally built and 100% paid for by land developers and therefore the cost of roads is factored into land prices. So it is the purchasers of land that pay for road construction NOT road users. However having said that the very expensive motorway projects around NZ do get paid for from the Transport Fund, however those projects make up a small percentage of the network and are really of no relevance to pedestrians and cyclists so it seems fair that drivers pay the whole cost.

    When it comes to road maintenance (for non-State Highways, or in other words, most roads), in Auckland around 40% of the funds come from road users with 60% coming out of our property rates. So it is land owners (and indirectly renters) that pay for the lions share of road maintenance NOT road users.

    The sooner we get away from this complete nonsense that car and truck drivers pay for roads and that they somehow subsidize other users, the better. The converse is true.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2007 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    It is true that if the driver had taken more care exiting his car the death would not have occurred.

    Hasn't the judge decided in this case that the driver did take reasonable care?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16608 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Roger,

    Most roads in New Zealand are originally built and 100% paid for by land developers

    Most roads were built and paid for by government and local bodies, with large inter-generational loans. Developers and users paid back some of that investment, as did the increased tax/rates take from the economic activity that the improved infrastructure allowed.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16608 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Roger,

    The converse is true

    totally.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16608 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Isaac Freeman,

    Over the years I’ve got increasingly relaxed about occupying the lane while cycling whenever I judge that there’s no room for anybody to safely pass me. I used Tamaki Drive only a couple of times during my time in Auckland, but at that bottleneck I’d make sure I was far enough out to be clear that passing me wasn’t an option.

    The problem is that the rush-hour traffic was proceeding at walking pace. She could easily have held the lane but she’d have found it hard to even stay upright at that pace. A witness told the court:

    "I realised the cyclist was going roughly 20km an hour. She was too close to the curb and the car doors… I was telling my mates that perhaps she is going to get hit by a car door. I said there would be an accident and there was.’’

    The driver of the truck she went under never saw her either. Which does not mean the crash was “her fault”. There were simply no good, safe options on that stretch of road.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18824 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Isaac Freeman,

    On the other hand, Auckland drivers were – in my anecdotal experience –remarkably relaxed about sharing the lane when I demonstrated an intention to occupy it.

    This. Several times a day, I move fully into a lane either a) to discourage people from passing me in a narrow bit or b) because I want to eventually turn right. I can count on one hand the number of times anyone's taken exception to that - a nice low dick ratio IMHO.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to James Butler,

    I can count on one hand the number of times anyone's taken exception to that

    Good to hear. And thank goodness Shane Warne doesn't live here (for so many reasons).

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16608 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to James Butler,

    Interestingly, I believe the safety recommendation for cyclists turning right is to perform a hook turn rather than move fully into a lane as you suggest. Not sure if it's a road rule as such or just a safety recommendation for cyclists.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 345 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    when you get so damn hostile

    boggle

    Yes I'm angry another person was killed. I personally believe there was no way a legal case could have been made against the driver. I said that in the first post to which you replied so calmly and collectedly.

    I also believe it is unlikely the driver took the care he could have or should have when he exited his car. I accept there is a chance that I am wrong but I believe the probability is that I'm right. I am also well aware that he feels like shit now.

    I am aware that the multiple parties could have acted to make the death less likely.

    I personally believe nobody, not the council, not the drivers in Auckland, not the ratepayers, not the voters will ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING TO CHANGE THE FUTURE. Sorry but apparently shouting is acceptable.

    That makes me cry.

    So you can have your rational discussion about a needless deaths that will be repeated. Personally I'm comfortable about not being rational about such things.

    Sorry Russell, I took a deep breath and still went nuclear.

    I'll go watch cricket now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3320 posts Report Reply

  • Isaac Freeman, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The problem is that the rush-hour traffic was proceeding at walking pace.

    Fair enough. I don't believe I've ever been through there in rush hour, and I wouldn't advocate occupying the lane in absolutely every situation.

    Christchurch • Since Feb 2007 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • stever@cs.waikato.ac.nz, in reply to Roger,

    Absolutely! It's bizarre. I cycled to work(and elsewhere) in London (and still when I go back) for about 15 years and rarely saw glass. These days in Hamilton there's at least one patch somewhere on the way to work (8kms) every day!

    And, though the Rode Code tells people after a crash to remove glass, sharp bits of plastic etc. from the road surface, even the Police at a crash site (I've mentioned this once to an officer--never again--to much hate there...) don't clear the road surface (where I'm making the mad definition that the space for cyclists in the gutter is part of the road surface).

    And the road signs temporarily put in the cycle lane (even *over* the painted-on cyclist diagram!!!) is maddening. The Council's reply to all these is "we know, we think it's wrong, we'll let them (Police, road firms etc.) know"---and nothing changes.

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2006 • 55 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Lisa Black,

    Well, the drafters of the legislation obviously felt people would quibble so in the "1.6 Interpretation" section they wrote:

    driver means a person driving a vehicle; and includes the rider of an all terrain vehicle, a motorcycle, a moped, a cycle, a mobility device, or a wheeled recreational device

    Pretty clear, eh

    Incidentally the road rules are not an expression of some sort of moral code.

    They exist (partly) so that each road user can have an expectation of how others will act. So a person going along a road can expect people not to pull out in front of them, a person turning left can (until later this year) expect right turning traffic to give way, etc.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4444 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I'll go watch cricket now

    I'n not sure that will help, in this case :) #battingcollapse

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16608 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    Interestingly, I believe the safety recommendation for cyclists turning right is to perform a hook turn rather than move fully into a lane as you suggest. Not sure if it’s a road rule as such or just a safety recommendation for cyclists.

    It's just a recommendation I believe. And I'm happy to do a hook turn if I can't safely change lanes; happens maybe 10-20% of the time.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    We could force our drivers to take care of the cyclists. In California if a driver hits a pedestrian it is assumed the driver is at fault. How about similar laws here. How about police ticketing drivers who put cyclists at risk - instant 50 demerit points. How about legally defended cycleways on the roads where any car (or bus!) entering them gets instant fines. A legally enforced change in driver attitude - because our police don't have much else to do and would love to spend their time writing traffic tickets.

    I don't think California law is quite like that - what they do have is notional (virtual) zebra crossings at each and every intersection (unless there are lights) and pedestrians have right of way on all crosswalks whether they are marked in place or not - the downside? enforced jaywalking laws - it's a trade off is that pedestrians only get to legally cross at intersections

    Of course crossing the street in Berkeley where I used to live you take your life in your hands, not because cars wont stop, they do, it's the cyclists who somehow expect that they don't have to stop for pedestrians - or stop signs, or red lights.

    Really the rule should be simple - the slower and more vulnerable get the right of way - and while some drive cars and some bikes EVERYONE is a pedestrian.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2125 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah, in reply to James Butler,

    There’s one intersection on my way home where if I can’t get across the two lanes of through traffic to the turn right lane, I just go straight ahead, get off my bike, and walk it across the intersection with the pedestrians. Much safer and much less stressful, and I lose maybe a a minute at the most. But, it’s the only point on my way home where I sometimes need to do that. I imagine that cyclists in bigger places face many more obstacles, and doing this every time would become very frustrating.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1303 posts Report Reply

  • stever@cs.waikato.ac.nz, in reply to James Butler,

    James, yes. Same here. Especially when passing long lines of parked cars. Almost everyone, in fact, drives past (sometimes having waited) without comment. There are, of course, a few who can't resist shouting something stupid. Giving yourself a couple of metres, in fact, usual means a car can get past either immediately or without waiting more than a few seconds.

    In the UK, where I was brought up, we had Cycling Proficiency Training and Tests at junior school. (Run with a local bobby and lots of parents. You get a badge to put on your bike and a certificate!) One thing I always remember being taught (and it came up again later when I was learning to ride a motorcycle) is : ride confidently and claim your space!!!

    It's good advice.

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2006 • 55 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to James Butler,

    It’s just a recommendation I believe. And I’m happy to do a hook turn if I can’t safely change lanes; happens maybe 10-20% of the time.

    I often find myself in potential breach of the rules simply in the interests of staying clear of traffic and thus safe. I'll always look to get myself out in front of waiting cars, and where necessary I'll ride hard to get out there when the lights change.

    Otoh, I'll also sometimes take the defensive option on one stretch of Meola Road and actually pull over when I determine that it's unwise to move out around a parked car in the hope that following drivers will act sensibly. When passing lines of parked cars I look ahead for brake lights, indicators and bodies in drivers' seats. Staying alive.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18824 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder, in reply to elsketcho,

    Perhaps if cyclists were to contribute some form of license fee, and this revenue were to be channeled directly towards the creation of dedicated cycleways, the problems could be alleviated

    I'd just like to say that I was running a book inside my head on how long it would take someone to make this sort of comment; I was betting it'd be on the first page, so the fact that it took 38 comments for this to come out is a comparative victory for sanity.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Lisa Black, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    I stand corrected. I'd still be arguing the point in court though, for several reasons.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2010 • 61 posts Report Reply

  • Isaac Freeman, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    I believe the safety recommendation for cyclists turning right is to perform a hook turn rather than move fully into a lane as you suggest. Not sure if it’s a road rule as such or just a safety recommendation for cyclists.

    http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/roadcode/cyclist-code/about-cycling/cycling-through-intersections.html

    It's listed in the Road Code as a "different way" to turn right, with no particular recommendation regarding when to use it.

    Christchurch • Since Feb 2007 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • Jon Briggs, in reply to Russell Brown,

    "I’ll ride hard to get out there when the lights change"

    Does this include jumping red's when you consider it safe to do so? So many intersections in Auckland are terrifying. Three lanes at the lights on a two lane road. A bus in the left most lane. I sometimes feel safer taking the decision into my own hands and crossing an intersection against a red light, rather than relying on the decisions made by drivers. For example when the traffic moving the opposite direction down the road has a green arrow for a right turn but there are no cars wanting to turn right. By jumping the red I can get out into clear space, the cars behind know I am there and hopefully the traffic has merged back to two lanes by the time the cars catch up with me.

    I have been yelled at by drivers for doing this and have often wanted to explain my point of view but of course they blast by and there is no chance for any kind of exchange of ideas.

    Since Dec 2008 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    So you can have your rational discussion about a needless deaths that will be repeated. Personally I’m comfortable about not being rational about such things.

    Yeah, OK, Bart. I’m not particularly comfortable with you offensively misrepresenting my views and basically being called a distract troll for even suggesting that there are plenty of cyclists who could stand to be more considerate road users. It came damn close to being a lot more serious than a mild concussion and a half dozen stitches, but whatevs right?

    But, hey, you don’t care, I’ve got better things to do & others are conducting a more useful reality-based discussion.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11910 posts Report Reply

  • Isaac Freeman, in reply to elsketcho,

    Roads are designed for vehicles and vehicles are designed for roads.

    The mix of vehicles on the road has changed over time.

    Many roads in our central cities were designed for horses and carts. Should motorists be fined for driving faster than a steady trot where the roads clearly weren't designed for that speed?

    Up until relatively recently there were far more cyclists on the road than motorists. Would you have told motorists in the 1930s that they should suck it up and accept that the roads are designed for cyclists?

    and this revenue were to be channeled directly towards the creation of dedicated cycleways, the problems could be alleviated.

    “For every problem there is a solution which is simple, clean and wrong.” - Mencken

    I know dedicated cycleways everywhere seems like a solution, but it's not sufficient. Cycleways have their place, and they're very pleasant where they're available, but it's impossible to build a network that completely separates cyclists, pedestrians and motorists and still connects every part of a city with more than a handful of buildings.

    In practice, we can't avoid some interaction. Cyclists can't spend all their time on cycleways any more than motorists can travel everywhere on motorways. That doesn't mean they're not sometimes useful, they're just not a panacea.

    Christchurch • Since Feb 2007 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Thomas, in reply to Jon Briggs,

    Does this include jumping red’s when you consider it safe to do so?

    I do, particularly going along Broadway at the Ayr St intersection, where two lanes of traffic turn into one and a half lanes combined with parallel parking. It's a dangerous setup. When it would be so easy to be killed "by accident", I'd rather put my own safety first ahead of complying with road rules that were written with motor vehicles in mind.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 315 posts Report Reply

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