Southerly by David Haywood

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Southerly: One Hundred and Thirty-one Million Reasons to Copenhagenize Christchurch

389 Responses

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  • Geoff Lealand,

    @ David. You continue to astound. You can cycle and post comments on PAS at the same time?

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rob S,

    Separated cycleways are excellent, of course, but bike lanes that are only painted on are still good to have. They do stop drivers from cutting too close. Essentially, they resolve the whole stupid thing a lot of drivers have in their minds that cyclists shouldn't be blocking "their" road.

    For Chch, I have to ask: Were bikes handy immediately after the quakes? They're not going to get bogged down, or stuck in a crack, and you can walk them through any ruined areas. Also, not needing gas is surely handy when rationing begins.

    More integration with public transport would be good to have - bike racks on buses, for instance, or good secure racks at train stations and major bus nexuses. By secure I mean under the standard video surveillance.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8015 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Lisa Black,

    I can't use the staple-shaped bike racks there because, unlike a car, there's no handbrake on my bike, but I can hook my handlebars in front of the Bikerakk 'handlebar' and my bike stays in place very well.

    Have you tried locking the back wheel by rotating the pedal backward so that it jams against the side stand? Works for me. Also, if you're chaining your bike up, doesn't that stop it rolling?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8015 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder, in reply to BenWilson,

    Separated cycleways are excellent, of course, but bike lanes that are only painted on are still good to have. They do stop drivers from cutting too close. Essentially, they resolve the whole stupid thing a lot of drivers have in their minds that cyclists shouldn’t be blocking “their” road.

    Yup. Painted on cyclepaths are better than nothing; an example would be along the Old Hutt Road/Thorndon Quay area in Wellington. This is a high-volume cycle commuter route, but it also goes past a lot of businesses. The council has strategically painted cycle lanes wherever the shared path passes a driveway. It looks a little disconnected, but seems to work well to remind the drivers to look out for cyclists: I've seen a lower incidence of drivers pulling out without looking since they went in. It's psychological cycling infrastructure, and it works reasonably well. Certainly, it's easier to put green paint on an existing road or path than to retrofit a 2m wide cyclepath. But if you're going to have to redo the whole road anyway, why not shoot for the ideal solution?

    Also, if you’re chaining your bike up, doesn’t that stop it rolling?

    I was wondering that. Maybe it's rolling back so far that it's protruding out into the footpath / road?

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 707 posts Report Reply

  • uroskin,

    Consider too that buying/owning/running a car in Denmark is considerably more expensive than in NZ (no cheap Jap imports, eye-watering road and petrol taxes, etc). Plus you have to be 18 (as in every civilised country) to drive. This alone would encourage cycling too (and cut the child/teen obesity rate)

    Waiheke Island • Since Feb 2007 • 178 posts Report Reply

  • Hayden East,

    The least Christchurch deserves is sensible, positive outcomes like this. I've passed this article on to my Dad who is doing some work with the council on temporary and long term public transport plans/solutions.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2010 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to BenWilson,

    For Chch, I have to ask: Were bikes handy immediately after the quakes? They’re not going to get bogged down, or stuck in a crack, and you can walk them through any ruined areas.

    Yes, bikes could get around some obstacles more easily (and clogged up the roads less, which was important given the number of emergency service and repair vehicles trying to get around). But I found that biking was almost too exciting, given the sheer number of hazards, many of which were hard to see, like dips and bumps in the road. Plus navigating around incredibly slippery silt and puddles of raw sewerage. The roads here in the East are still fairly challenging on a bike. The council’s done a huge amount of work, but the road surfaces are far from smooth.

    An absolutely brilliant time to redo the roads with dedicated cycle paths and crossings! Crossings are an important part of the cycling infrastructure. If you have to get off your bike and be a pedestrian to cross roads, it’s really offputting.

    And shower facilities which someone meintioned upthread are vital, too. Anyone with a job where they need to be well-presented will need to have a wash and change. I have a nephew in London who cycles to a train station which has a bike lock-up with shower facilities, has his morning shower and shave, gets into his office clothes, and has breakfast on the train en route to work.

    Waterproof gear makes life much easier in the rain (or if it's very cold), but it does make one perspire more. Also proper mudguards are a must, if you don't want your face and bottom drenched!

    I splashed out and bought some proper panniers last year and it was some of the best money I ever spent. It makes SUCH a difference not to have to carry a backpack. So much more comfortable.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3300 posts Report Reply

  • Alice Ronald,

    I'd be all for it too - more cycle paths like the one along Matai St West, between the railway line & Chch Boys would be excellent.

    I currently commute about 7km each way in around 25-30 minutes, which is only about 5 minutes longer than driving the same route. Since the quake we've moved to a different building where we don't have access to showers, so I bike a little slower (around 17-18km/hr as opposed to the 23-25 I used to do) & find I don't need to shower when I get to work.

    Biking was definitely the way to get around after the quake - my commuting bike wasn't great with the cracks/slumps, but I definitely won in terms of getting from A to B faster - my normal 20 min drive from work to home took over an hour the one day I tried it! I've noticed a lot more cyclists out & about compared to last year - particularly ones who appear to have just found an old bike in the shed & started using it again.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 42 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Norwayed Brilliant. Wellington Wellington Wellington. All over it!!

    Upright "joy riding" is a lot better around the city. Especially when you add the basket to the front!!

    Note the near complete lack of helmets!!!!! 168 (+- 2) cyclists went past and there were 7 (+-2) with helmets in 1:54 minutes.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1458 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to BenWilson,

    More integration with public transport would be good to have – bike racks on buses, for instance, or good secure racks at train stations and major bus nexuses. By secure I mean under the standard video surveillance.

    Secure racks in the central city were the biggest problem I had in Christchurch. I was really uncomfortable leaving my bike some places, and others it was just impossible to find racks anywhere near where you wanted to go. They could definitely stand to put a few more of those up (and signpost them.)

    As for racks on buses - I never used the few in Chch because the routes that had them weren't particularly relevant for me, but all the local buses over here have them and they're absolute gold. It opens up options like biking somewhere that's quite far away because you know you can hop on a bus for some or part of the way back, or managing non-intersecting bus routes.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2087 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    There was a fascinating programme on TV7 (of course) a few weeks ago about the rental bike scheme in Paris. They had thought through all the problems that had arisen in other cities and come up with innovative answers and their system seems foolproof, vandalproof and sustainable. For the few hills they had an incentive scheme to leave bikes at the top, and a floating cycle repair barge floated on the Seine. David, I think they should sent you to Paris to investigate it.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 1901 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler,

    Safe helmetless cycling requires good cycling infrastructure - I would be happy to cycle with no helmet in Copenhagen, but on my commute as it stands? No freakin' way.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Lisa Black, in reply to BenWilson,

    My bike is a mixte frame (hurrah for riding in a dress!), so the lock has to go further to loop through the frame. Plus I stick it through the front loop of my Brooks B190. That means it's hard to control the chain tension so it doesn't really help with immobility.

    Unfortunately Jack is right. The back wheel sticks out further into the road than I'm comfortable with if I jam the pedal against the upright support. And my bike tends to fall over because of the loose lock tension.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2010 • 58 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    Apologies if anyone has already linked to this, but here is David talking to Kathryn.

    (And sounding So. Freaking. Clever)

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1268 posts Report Reply

  • Alice Ronald, in reply to James Butler,

    Totally agree - improving the infrastructure to minimise the likelihood of crashes means we'd do away with the need for helmets in the first place, which would likely make cycling a more attractive option for some people. It would also remove the need for a lot of the hi-vis gear & encourage slower cyclists who would probably cycle in their regular clothes, rather than the Lycra shorts that seem to enrage car drivers.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 42 posts Report Reply

  • Lisa Black, in reply to BenWilson,

    More integration with public transport would be good to have - bike racks on buses

    I understand that current efforts to implement these are running into opposition from the bus companies in Auckland. You might like to let them (and the Council) know you'd use them.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2010 • 58 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Megan Wegan,

    David talking to Kathryn.

    (And sounding So. Freaking. Clever)

    Not AGAIN! ;-)

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3300 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I suspect that a lot of people in CHC live their precisely because they can drive everywhere with minimal (by world standards) congestion. They'd take some convincing to switch to bikes.

    But then, National have left Christhchurch more or less a dictatorship. A future lab/green government could implement a cycling city under CERA with minimal consultation. Suck that, Tories!

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4209 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    But then, National have left Christhchurch more or less led by a strong executive to facilitate the tough decisions. A future lab/green totalitarian tree-hugging communist nanny-state could implement a cycling city under CERA with minimal consultation.

    FTFY.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • DaveC,

    Painted cycle lanes do increase cyclist safety. Segregated cycleways that have road intersections are often no better from a safety point of view, and in some cases worse, than cyclists using the road. http://www.cyclecraft.co.uk/digest/research.html

    Measures like creating and enforcing no-parking zones in bike lanes on arterials, advanced stop lines at intersections, and a joined-up well-signposted cycle network would be great. Christchurch already has a good start on this - http://www.ccc.govt.nz/cityleisure/gettingaround/cycling/index.aspx - and I agree that this is an excellent opportunity to improve it. But we can't afford a gold-plated solution.

    Since Nov 2007 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    But we can't afford a gold-plated solution.

    of course, everything ever built in nz has to be done on the cheap and be reliant on no. 8 fencing wire.

    tokyo • Since Nov 2006 • 628 posts Report Reply

  • Patrick Morgan,

    Great analysis David.
    More people cycling more often = saves money, boosts health, more resilience, more fun. What’s not to like?
    Cycling Advocates Network is working hard on bringing this vision to Chch, and elsewhere. Check us out. Help us to help you.

    What do we want?
    1. Connected cycleways in cities, and shoulders on key rural roads.
    2. On-road cycle training in schools and for adults who want to cycle for transport.
    3. A new, fresh public education programme for safe road use.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2011 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Wheel low-lifes…

    Secure racks in the central city were the biggest problem I had in Christchurch

    I’ve lost a couple of bikes over the years
    to ‘people’ with bolt cutters, …sigh.


    Wheel world solutions…

    …back in the ’70s the PYM (Progressive Youth Movement) suggested a free white bike scheme for Christchurch (see page 54 of file /44 of book) based on one that originated with the Provos in Amsterdam – they had some great social ideas…

    Wikipedia has a good overview on
    bicycle sharing systems..

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4199 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to stephen walker,

    everything ever built in nz has to be done on the cheap and be reliant on no. 8 fencing wire.

    Reckon. This country’s flimsy, provisional, hesitant, half-arsed approach to so much work, public and private, makes me sad.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2906 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    no. 8 fencing wire.

    Note: discontinued 30 years ago. :)

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

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