Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: When "common sense" isn't

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  • Christopher Dempsey, in reply to Sacha,

    In my defence, I deliberately ride up volcanoes

    have to love Auckland

    A few of us were musing about doing a Maunga ride – spend a day visiting all the maunga in the Auckland field to celebrate them.

    A friend had the idea after I rode out to the airport with him, and coming back, seeing Mangere maunga, and I told him, you know, that’s a mighty fine maunga. Sometimes you have to cycle around to *see*.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 642 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder, in reply to BenWilson,

    Yup, time is my greatest barrier.

    For me, time is one of the reasons to cycle to work.

    I'm in Wellington. I used to live in Newlands and work in the CBD (10k trip, and I live on a big hill). Driving in peak traffic took about half an hour and cost ludicrous amounts for parking. Taking the bus took anywhere from half an hour to 45 minutes, depending on traffic, plus waiting time at the bus stop, for about $8 per day. Cycling took 25 minutes in, 3 minutes to lock up, or 40 minutes home (that hill). So cycling was, for me, faster and cheaper.

    Right now, I live in Johnsonville and work in Miramar (20k trip, still living on a big hill). It's a 50 minute ride in and just over an hour home (hill!). Which sounds like a lot, except that the alternatives aren't much better. In rush hour traffic, it can easily take over 45 minutes each way to drive. Taking the bus requires at least one change of bus, and I've never managed it in less than 80 minutes. It does make sense to drive if I know I'll be working late past rush hour, but otherwise I'm going to be spending about the same amount of time either way - and again, riding is more fun, cheaper, and good exercise.

    As the distance gets longer, the math starts to get dodgier; but in rush hour traffic, for anything up to around 10k, the bike's a clear winner in my view.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Christopher Dempsey,

    A few of us were musing about doing a Maunga ride – spend a day visiting all the maunga in the Auckland field to celebrate them.

    I keep meaning to pick a good day and see if I can do Mt Albert, Mt Roskill, Big King, One Tree Hill and Mt Eden (in that order, I figure) in one ride. It would be great to include Mangere in that, but bikes are verboten. Also, I can't ride to the actual top of Big King.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18888 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I have an 8km commute, 16 km a day. I ride at a pace that leaves me with plenty of wind and little sweat, usually in the range 18-24 kph.

    Average time to work is 18 minutes in a car and 23 minutes on a bike -- the car of course spends lots of time stuck at lights. Biking "costs" me 10 minutes extra per day, but I save $$$ every week riding as well as the physical and mental health benefits. If I was in poorer shape and it took me half an hour, or 35 mins on the bike, I think would still do it, but now it's a no-brainer.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2965 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I keep meaning to pick a good day and see if I can do Mt Albert, Mt Roskill, Big King, One Tree Hill and Mt Eden (in that order, I figure) in one ride. It would be great to include Mangere in that, but bikes are verboten. Also, I can’t ride to the actual top of Big King.

    Good idea… wasn’t really thinking about going to top of each one, more like visit the bottom of each one and climb one or two easy ones… and finding a good pub along the way. Would be interested in your ride when you do it…

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 642 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Grevers, in reply to steviant,

    Which is why I was amazed when I went to get a WOF while the head-liner was removed from our car for reupholstery and was failed because of the exposed metal. Who knew that that 4mm thick bit of carboard and fabric had such incredible protective powers.

    New Plymouth • Since Jul 2011 • 131 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to JackElder,

    As the distance gets longer, the math starts to get dodgier; but in rush hour traffic, for anything up to around 10k, the bike's a clear winner in my view.

    Yes, I'm not commuting during rush hour, and I live next to a motorway, so the car is a clear winner in terms of speed - 10 mins is my usual time to get door to door. But the parking is unacceptably expensive to me, and the petrol costs too. I would do this only on a day I had only one lecture, and didn't want to stay to use the labs. That does end up feeling extremely luxurious. I can also park-and-bus, will often do this if it's pouring with rain, or I'm not feeling well. It's an improvement on bus alone, cuts off 15 or so minutes and costs the same.

    The parking cost may be insignificant to quite a few people, particularly if they work in a suburban location. For them, it swings more sharply in favour of car, and more sharply away from bus, in proportion to how far they live from their work.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8523 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    My 'commute' is roughly around 5-10k /day (I don't have a 'fixed' workplace), and virtually 90% of my time is spent in the central city. Bikes are much faster any time of the day in this area. I find that I am faster than cars up to a distance of about 10-12k from the city centre (i.e. heading out south and west), but after that, the car starts to have the advantage.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 642 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to JackElder,

    Also thought I should note that having gravity on your side works well in your situation, since I presume you have a much harder time limit at the start of the day than the end, and being less sweaty in the morning is better? Unfortunately for Aucklanders, the reverse is true on this in most cases, since Auckland is a town on a steep hill, surrounded by steep hills. So most likely they will have gravity on their side on the way home, unless they live above the altitude of K-Road.

    ETA: Aucklanders who work in the city, and live in the suburbs, that is. But that, for reasons given before is probably the main kind of bicycle commuter - parking doesn't cost much in suburbs, and the tyranny of rush hour is less. Unless you work in a suburb on the opposite side of the city from where you live, in which case that's a very big cycle commute.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8523 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Stewart,

    @Moz, I am afraid you are in danger of outing yourself as a self-righteous cyclist with this tirade:

    Do you disagree with me, or you don't like my tone? It sounds as though you don't like my tone. Which is unhelpful. http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Tone_argument

    I note you didn't quote the start of the message, which is what gets me angry. Cyclists breaking the law sometimes kill themselves, and almost never harm anyone else. Motorists breaking the law in ways that motorists commonly do are responsible for a great number (possibly a majority) of deaths and injuries on the roads. So, shall we look at the actual problem, or talk about how cyclists are not polite enough?

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 482 posts Report Reply

  • James,

    So on Monday, I was tailgated and honked at by one of Zap Pest Control's cars (licence number: EFR something), when free-wheeling down Pirie St, a steep-ish suburban wellington street and bus-route. When I responded with the cheery wave and call of 'good morning' that I reserve for these situations, the driver responded by accelerating out into the oncoming lane to pass me, then braking to a halt while fishtailing me into the kerb.

    Ok, I admit I wasn't wearing hi-vis. Dear Public Address: If I were, would it have helped this driver calmly cruise to the next red light at 40k instead of 50?

    New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 34 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    see if I can do Mt Albert, Mt Roskill, Big King, One Tree Hill and Mt Eden

    When my knees were younger there was a run that included Mt Albert, Mt Roskill, One Tree Hill and Mt Eden - the closest I got to it was a critical digestive system failure on the way to the last of the hills.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3392 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Felix Marwick,

    "camera footage will generally be regarded as irrelevant"
    I haven't found that to be the case at all. In fact I've used it twice successfully

    Prosecution or getting a complaint accepted?

    My experience, and that of friends in Melbun and Sydney, is that plod will often refuse to look at footage, let alone accept it as evidence. Your experience may be very different, depending on your location and the exact plod you're dealing with. I've had complaints acted on, and even in one case had a motorist pay for repairs to my bike, but never managed to get anyone ticketed or convicted. Both are rare in Sydney/Melb, and generally require a motorist who is abusive towards the police. Someone who stays calm and denies the incident will always IME get away with it.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 482 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Moz,

    plod

    See my guess is that if you refer to them that way they are going to be significantly less interested in helping you. If you think about them in those terms it will show up in your body language, even if you are verbally polite.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3392 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Stewart,

    this little rant has debased all your previous posts on this thread for me

    Nothing wrong with a little rant every now and then.

    While I agree that Moz's tone is harsh, his point is valid. Spend 15 minutes watching traffic at the Mt Albert rd Dominion rd intersection and you'll get a pretty jaded view of the quality of driver behaviour.

    It is probably true that most drivers drive pretty well. But a large percentage drive with poor skill or are so impatient that they simply break rules for their own convenience. That percentage is large enough that any given 15 minute period of watching is quite depressing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3392 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    Interesting incident this morning on the way to work. I stopped at a red light, and was promptly honked at by the motorist behind me. They wanted to jump the red to make a left turn, and did as soon as I shifted my bike out of their way. That's rare, because motorists don't often jump reds that blatantly (unless they're orange-ish).

    And I go through a few no-win choke-points, where if I take the lane I'm grinding uphill with angry motorists behind me, and if I don't I'm squeezed viciously against the curb or parked cars because the road is not quite wide enough for a bike and a car. I cop a lot less abuse if I jump the red lights on that stretch, because doing so gets me up the short hill before the motorists catch up. But the legal way is taking the lane.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 482 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    plod
    See my guess is that if you refer to them that way they are going to be significantly less interested in helping you. If you think about them in those terms it will show up in your body language, even if you are verbally polite.

    It's an earned (lack of) respect. After the 10th complaint about a police officer is "lost" or "upheld with no action" I started to lose confidence in the farce. We won't talk about how many complaints about egregiously illegal and dangerous behaviour by motorists were treated similarly, and in turn prompted the complaint about the police.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 482 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And very, very few people cycle-commute 20km daily. Most actual NZ cycle commutes are a fraction of that, if only because riding 10km on city streets at commuter hour takes a fair bit of time.

    Interesting. I guess being a recreational cyclist my concepts of what's a "normal" distance are a bit out of whack. I don't even consider 10km to be much of a ride.
    When I was a cycle commuter I was doing 5km in 10-11 minutes, too, so expanding it out to a 10km ride would've still given me a commute time a fraction of what many people endure which I guess also throws out my perspective.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3908 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Moz,

    Most of us in here aren't in Australia, we're in NZ. The attitudes of the police here are different, the rules of acceptable evidence are different.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3908 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    I got abused by a motorist this morning for having the temerity to go straight ahead through an intersection where the signals were in my favour while he was wanting to take advantage of a Give Way (not even "free"!) left turn. Bairds/GSR intersection for the curious; I was heading south.

    Was quite bizarre. I was utterly in the right, but he still honked and gave me a rude hand gesture when he got around the corner and passed me. Would've been in his 60s, too. Maybe he took offence at my hi-viz shirt?

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3908 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Ranting per se is fine, but tarring 99% of motorists with a broad brush is just crap, especially when you consider that the majority of cyclists posting here are also motorists/drivers on some occasions.

    I readily admit that many drivers are poor at adhering to the road rules, but perhaps a bit of enforcement of the rules rather than just revenue-gathering by the police might help to improve standards?

    Te Ika A Maui - Waitakere… • Since Oct 2008 • 572 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Moz,

    where if I take the lane I'm grinding uphill with angry motorists behind me, and if I don't I'm squeezed viciously against the curb or parked cars because the road is not quite wide enough for a bike and a car.

    If that's the situation, I'll very often consider taking the footpath. Going uphill slowly, the chances of an accident with cars or pedestrians is much less.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8523 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Moz,

    I took a trip to get some milk last night, no hi-viz or helmet in this case, the shop is only 100m down the road. It was shut. I went a little further on to the next shop, also closed. Realized the next one was 2km down the road, but didn't really feel inclined to add 600m to that by going home to get my vest and helmet, so I just rode it. It was a servo, and a car that had passed me was filling up. The guy looked at me smilingly and said "Nice night for a ride!". I decided to ask if he had seen me, despite not wearing hi-viz. He laughed and said, "Yes, from about a kilometer away. Well, I saw your light anyway". Flashing red, FTW.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8523 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Moz,

    Do you disagree with me, or you don’t like my tone? It sounds as though you don’t like my tone. Which is unhelpful. http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Tone_argument

    What’s unhelpful in my view as moderator is you invoking “tone argument” as a response to criticism of the content of your speech. I had no problem with your comment as part of a robust discussion, but please don’t do that. It adds precisely nothing to the debate.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18888 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Stewart,

    I readily admit that many drivers are poor at adhering to the road rules, but perhaps a bit of enforcement of the rules rather than just revenue-gathering by the police might help to improve standards?

    I disagree with the normal meaning attributed to that phrase. It's a purely voluntary payment made in exchange for rule-breaking. You could campaign for the law to be changed, you could obey the law, or you could pay the fine. All are acceptable, and to suggest that enforcement is purely about raising revenue is IMO misleading.

    To me, it's one of those tricky situations where it's very hard to make a law that covers all roads and all road users well. There are times when the posted speed is inappropriate which the law tries to cover with "dangerous driving" and similar catch-all clauses, but when the limit is lower than most drivers could safely travel there's no equivalent, so we just have to suck up "drive slowly".

    FWIW, there are an awful lot of similarly silly situations for bicycle riders. The discussion above about passing on the left is one example. The challenge is to first think up a better rule, then try to get it made law. And it's not about us all being safer if you personally were bound by it, but if every other muppet on the road was also affected by it.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 482 posts Report Reply

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