Southerly by David Haywood

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

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  • Lisa Black, in reply to Islander,

    Well he's right about our bad manners and aggression anyway. Most of the unpleasant riding events I see would have been avoided with either good manners, making the effort to notice what's around one, or just chilling the hell out.

    @ both Jameses, thank you for those references.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2010 • 65 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Lisa Black,

    I rather think there is a great divide between rural people (I live in a remote area) and city people, but I'd maintain that, quintessentially, the majority of ANZers are both polite and non-aggressive - your "unpleasant riding events I see''do not take into account the - frankly insane - biking acts I see/swerve around/try to make my van levitate to avoid - everytime I'm in CHCH/DN -geez, even Oamaru...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • nzMM,

    I cycle just about every day. Cycling is awesome.

    Cycling in cities that care about cyclists is even better.

    +10 for this idea!

    I was in Hungary recently, I wasn't a cyclist but rather a pedestrian, and i was astounded at cars stopping for you when you approached the curb. Even when there was no zebra crossing! People, that is courtesy. NZ needs to learn some manners...

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to nzMM,

    I dont think that is courtesy – that is (I suspect) state-enforced heavy penalities if you squish someone…

    Maybe we should blame ACC for everything? (Rolls eyeballs.)

    I must admit I find wankers suggesting we should “learn some manners” really dont know what our manners are… we’re the people who go help, immediately, when there’s an accident. We’re the people who stay, for long hours, with injured people, until the official help comes. And we are the people who – unassumingly, quietly, effectively- did -and do- our stuff at all known disasters. Including the CHCH earthquakes.

    Shits who suggest we need “to learn some manners” dont know a blind bloody thing about our society.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Lisa Black,

    Most of the unpleasant riding events I see would have been avoided with either good manners, making the effort to notice what’s around one, or just chilling the hell out.

    My experience with nearly getting hit has often been not that someone didn't see me, but that they grossly underestimated how fast I was going or overestimated how fast I could stop (especially in slippery conditions.) I wouldn't call it aggression so much as overconfidence.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • James Green, in reply to Lilith __,

    Isn't Cochrane the authority?

    That would usually be the case yes. However, the latest meta-analysis includes newer studies with null findings, which may have some bearing.
    A little more controversially, in the full text of the article they discuss some concerns with the Cochrane review. Firstly, the authors that conducted the Cochrane review were also authors of almost half of the papers included in the same review, which isn't ideal practice. Relatedly, when you are doing a meta-analysis it is usual to set inclusion and exclusion criteria, often based on the quality of studies. The excluding meant that more of the authors paper got included, relative to other studies with weaker findings (and their included and excluded papers don't line up with the attempts of others to do the sam). And possibly some other things (I'm writing this from memory rather than the paper).

    Epidemiology is a much darker art than even I would countenance. Binary outcomes lead to weaker statistics so you need much larger sample sizes, or as is more usually the case, a much greater degree of uncertainty.

    FWIW, I skimmed all the post-2000 papers before my first post, and rapidly came to the conclusion from the lack of consensus that it would take a great deal of effort to come to an opinion on the research. I'd literally have to read very carefully all the papers, think critically about them, and then re-read the meta-analyses in the light of what I could deduce from the source papers. And even then I don't really know that I'd have a good answer (or that I'd really know enough to make an informed judgement).

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 691 posts Report Reply

  • James Green, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    My experience with nearly getting hit

    I almost smashed a pedestrian yesterday, about a block south of where I got hit by a car a decade ago. She'd seen there were no cars coming, and was absolutely not paying any attention. I don't even think she realised how close I came (locked both wheels and just flicked around her).

    Also, on the upthread discussion of workwear and cycling, I realised this morning that cycling in a suit jacket is much easier on a more upright style of bike.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 691 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Islander wrote:

    we are not – emphatically – bad-mannered… We’d say you were fullashit. Mate.

    Heck, that’s a bit harsh! I certainly don’t read Jeffrey Paparoa Holman’s contribution as an attack on Maoridom; my take is that he was merely commenting on the driving culture in this country.

    Jeffrey Paparoa Holman wrote:

    Everyone in Japan is used to sharing space and you see the most amazing configurations of cars, pedestrians and bikers.

    Ah! I suspect a traffic engineer would see this merely as a function of the (unavoidable) traffic density in Japan; rather than any inherent politeness of the Japanese character!

    To explain: at the low extreme of traffic density (e.g. rural NZ) you can drive very ‘selfishly’ because there is hardly anyone to inflict your selfishness upon, and any selfishness directed towards you is a similarly rare occurrence.

    But at the high extreme of traffic density (e.g. urban Japan) the same amount of ‘selfish’ driving by each person would manifest itself in (almost) constant incidents, and the traffic would quickly become snarled. The only way that traffic can flow in a reasonable manner is for all participants to have an unspoken agreement to act (apparently) ‘unselfishly’.

    In other words, it’s in each individual’s own selfish self-interest to act ‘unselfishly’.

    Interestingly, there is a middle ground where people can act ‘selfishly’, but the incidence threshold is just low enough not to cause major traffic chaos. In many ways this is the worst of both worlds, and I’ve certainly heard traffic engineers argue that this is an exact description of our current traffic state in Christchurch. Having recently driven in (much busier) Auckland, I was quite amazed at how (comparatively) polite the driving was up there.

    Mind you, it just occurred to me that perhaps you could use the traffic engineering analysis to explain the (apparent?) politeness of the Japanese culture as a whole…

    Matthew Reid wrote:

    Another reason for the wider lanes in Denmark is the trike, which is a pretty common sight on the streets of Copenhagen. We’ve got one from these guys. It’s considerably wider than your average bike, but hopefully safer for the three kids who are often sitting in the front than if they were in a trailer.

    At 84 cm it’s not *much* wider than my existing handlebars and would certainly fit on the skinny CHCH bike lanes – and it looks oh so useful for carting round the little ‘uns. Beautiful! Er, would I have to sell my kidneys to be able to afford one?

    Keep the bike ’porn’ coming people…

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 993 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to David Haywood,

    Kia ora David H – yes/but

    the Jeffrey Holman comments didnt have anything to do with MaoriAnzers/maoritaka, but everything to do with us all – the ‘driving culture’ (which I think is extremely variant throughout the motu) ISNT an established thing – it’s how we react in very different areas, in very different circumstances.

    I drive carefully, considerately, cognisant of the road conditions BUT

    I come round a tight corner and there’s 4 fuckin cyclists in front of me (and one right over on the wrong side of the road) – it’s only my brakes & well-maintained vehicle that save THEM from dying.

    It doesnt help my heart condition. It doesnt acrue any kind of respect for cyclists.
    It makes me incline to the idea that foreign cyclists in ANZ should really go for the rail-trails- NOT state highways that simply dont have the room for them.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Islander,

    Islander wrote:

    I come round a tight corner and there’s 4 fuckin cyclists in front of me (and one right over on the wrong side of the road) – it’s only my brakes & well-maintained vehicle that save THEM from dying.

    Yes, well you won't find any argument from me that there are some extremely silly cyclists (as well as some extremely silly motorists); I experienced the same thing in Coromandel recently. I do always try to remember that it's the extreme behaviour that one notices and that most people are basically good sorts. Mind you, it sometimes takes a bit of mental effort to do this.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 993 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    averse to the driving reign...
    Very soon both Jeffrey Paparoa Holman
    & Islander will be put up against a wall,
    and shot
    – by tourists and locals alike!

    <nudge, nudge>
    Look out for them from the 17th of June...
    </wink, wink>

    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5169 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    In Auckland, I think drivers' awareness of cyclists has actually improved since last year's cycling deaths made safety an issue. It's a grim reason for it to happen, but I do feel like drivers see me better now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19116 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason, in reply to Islander,

    I think that THESE is what the "bad mannered" road users are akin to.

    AKA: "The General NZ Driving Arsehole". And you can't tell me you don't see them everyday!!

    "General" here does not mean population general, rather, the person(s) generally characterised by Goofy, possessed, and influencing many more of the "general population".

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1510 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason, in reply to David Haywood,

    Heck, that’s a bit harsh! I certainly don’t read Jeffrey Paparoa Holman’s contribution as an attack on Maoridom;

    Heh. Check out Dilbert in today's dom post. Those who can't read it have to wait until tomorrow for it to appear here on Dilbert.com

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1510 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    The number of times I've been hit by motorists, who then burst out, "ooh, I didn't see you" (while I was wearing flouro orange and three flashing lights) is staggering.

    That said, most of the times I've been hit in a car they've said the same thing. It's so much less shameful and damning than "I didn't even look". Or worse "I actually have very poor vision".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8737 posts Report Reply

  • Lisa Black, in reply to Islander,

    I don't know where my last post went, but it basically said I include everyone - yes, cyclists too - in my assessment. It's not drivers who have the problem, it's people. Oddly enough, I don't consider myself a wanker or a shit for thinking this, and I didn't come here to be called names or see that done to others. Nor do I think that being dumb on the road prevents us from being lovely people as well. We are not one or the other, we're more multi-textured than that.

    But - and this is important - our driving skills baseline is low. Our road statistics show that pretty comprehensively. Compare our road training to other countries. In Germany, for instance, getting your licence is really bloody difficult because the skill level requirement - including how you behave to others - is set so high. Here we don't have much standing between a 15th birthday and a drivers licence.

    @Lucy - yes. Good manners etc presupposes knowledge of what constitutes them, e.g. stopping distances etc. Also see my second paragraph above.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2010 • 65 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Ross Mason,

    AKA: "The General NZ Driving Arsehole". And you can't tell me you don't see them everyday!!

    It's kind of weird, but I've noticed that the manners of NZ drivers actually go up and down quite mysteriously. When I first went to Australia, I was amazed at how careful/lawful they were. Not so the last time I went, it seemed the other way around, that NZ was much more considerate. Paying close attention to things like giving up right of way, I noticed that NZers (well, OK, Aucklanders) do this quite a lot now, particularly in high traffic situations. There's a lot more stopping and letting a stream of stuck traffic flow through than there used to be, and when people do that they don't get angry honking behind them as they used to. Ozzie, on the other hand, seems to have developed a case of the "fuck 'em, they chose the wrong way" with hundreds of cars in a row stubbornly refusing to help because it might cost them a few seconds.

    I don't know what could/would be driving this kind of dynamic. My own theory is that it's not something that changes slowly, but can actually switch around on public mood, and certain ideas that make traffic better or worse can spread virally in feedback loops. It only takes a few people being rude to you, and you're much more likely to be rude to someone else. Similarly, if a few people let you in here or there, you feel more inclined to give back. A small amount of constant pressure in the right direction can make a massive difference, turns a vicious cycle into a virtuous one.

    When the signs came in here on motorway on-ramps, that said "Merge like a zip", I felt that the improvement in merging was quite drastic. It used to be something that was all about getting advantage, holding right of way, etc, and highly stressful and dangerous. But almost immediately people saw that "merge like a zip" was far more sensible, that the whole idea is to make traffic flow evenly and fairly. Cars on the motorway pulled back to let one car in, and the merging cars stopped trying to speed ahead to gaps. It was a powerful idea.

    "Let buses go first" is another good one. Once you get it into your mind that a bus carries as many people as 60-100 cars, you feel a whole lot less bitter at "some motorist trying to take cheap advantage, bullying you with a huge vehicle".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8737 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    To briefly drag the topic back to cycleways... two other things that occurred to me as requirements for a proposed Christchurch cycle network. Lighting and littering.

    Lighting is vital if you're running cyclepaths away from the main roading network, especially through parks. In winter, you can reasonably expect to be cycling home in the dark. Decent lighting on the cyclepaths is important for safety.

    Littering: there's a certain impulse that arises in the mind of a passenger holding an empty bottle of Tui who sees a cyclepath. Broken glass is a fact of life; the cycle network is going to need a dedicated effort to keep it clear of debris and well maintained. Like any civic infrastructure, there's going to have to be a maintenance cost factored in.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Alice Ronald, in reply to JackElder,

    The maintenance is a good point - especially since the CCC's current stance is "we clean gutters, not roads". Yes, that was the response when I asked why the street sweepers didn't clear the broken glass & other detritus off the roads/cycle lanes.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 48 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    “we clean gutters, not roads”. Yes, that was the response when I asked why the street sweepers didn’t clear the broken glass & other detritus off the roads/cycle lanes.

    Well, clogged gutters mean clogged pipes, which is a cost to them. Glass on the road is only a cost to the general public. You can see what they're thinking...

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2136 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Russell Brown,

    In Auckland, I think drivers’ awareness of cyclists has actually improved since last year’s cycling deaths made safety an issue.

    I hope so. One cyclist killed and another seriously injured within Hamilton city in the past two days.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2342 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to George Darroch,

    Well, clogged gutters mean clogged pipes, which is a cost to them. Glass on the road is only a cost to the general public. You can see what they’re thinking…

    And the cost of the aftermath when a cyclist swerves to avoid glass and the car behind them doesn't realise they're about to do this...?

    (Which, yes, not the greatest idea on the cyclist's part, but these things can be pretty instinctive.)

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to BenWilson,

    My own theory is that it’s not something that changes slowly, but can actually switch around on public mood, and certain ideas that make traffic better or worse can spread virally in feedback loops. It only takes a few people being rude to you, and you’re much more likely to be rude to someone else. Similarly, if a few people let you in here or there, you feel more inclined to give back. A small amount of constant pressure in the right direction can make a massive difference, turns a vicious cycle into a virtuous one.

    This is exactly my hypothesis on the subject! (You may or may not be pleased to hear this).

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 993 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to David Haywood,

    turns a vicious cycle into a virtuous one.

    I for one want those vicious cycles off the roads, now! ;-)

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3492 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Alice Ronald,

    The maintenance is a good point - especially since the CCC's current stance is "we clean gutters, not roads"

    You'd be amazed how conventional road engineering culture prioritises stuff. Those barriers around bridge supports for instance? It's not you they're protecting. Similarly kerbs are to protect the subsurface layers from water infiltration. Etc, etc.

    And this government has cut funding for local road maintenance so not only cleaning services but basic pothole and surface repair will continue to deteriorate unless voters wise up or ratepayers pick up the slack in your area.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16996 posts Report Reply

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