Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Staying Alive

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  • George Darroch, in reply to James Butler,

    I’m pretty sure the sensors are inductive loops tripped by large masses of metal, but yeah, this too.

    On such a light your wait will literally be anywhere between 20 seconds and 20 minutes. When you stop, you have no idea. In peak traffic, when you know another car will be along soon, it’s worth waiting. In the late and early hours when the roads are quiet or deserted, it makes very little sense. Thus, after a short wait I usually look both ways, look behind me for cars approaching (and unsympathetic police cars) and then cross. Such delays can massively increase the amount of time required to cycle anywhere.

    Again, there’s infrastructure for this; you either phase the lights automatically, or you simply put up a pole with a buzzer or install better sensors. All of which are available to us, we simply have governments who consider that these things are not priorities: car-road spending is axiomatic, non-car-road and non-road spending is not.

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

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Sacha,

    buy Steven Joyce a plane ticket

    one way

    Not until my family has one way tickets back to NZ.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2149 posts Report Reply

  • Isaac Freeman, in reply to BenWilson,

    Tell me that “it feels awesome” isn’t at least some of the reason you ride a pushbike at all.

    I once saw a guy coasting down Queen Street at high speed in rush hour, through red lights, wearing no helmet and a full neck brace. My immediate thoughts did not run to admiring his freedom and potential as he reached into his bicycle with his ki.

    There's a time and a place for releasing your mind and embracing the euphoric thrill of speed. I would submit that that time and place is not Queen Street in rush hour.

    Christchurch • Since Feb 2007 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to George Darroch,

    Particularly in comparison to the ideologically driven nightmare that is current transport spending. This single graph says everything.

    Discussion on that at Transport Blog.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16741 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Could you Aucklanders have a wee whip round and buy Steven Joyce a plane ticket to Beijing?

    Better still, once he's over there, get him to volunteer as a crash test driver if the dummies prove innacurate. He's a petrolhead after all, isn't he?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4351 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Sacha,

    In cattle class, down the very back and sandwiched between two large and sweaty Australians.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2316 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Better still, once he’s over there, get him to volunteer as a crash test driver if the dummies prove innacurate. He’s a petrolhead after all, isn’t he?

    In cattle class, down the very back and sandwiched between two large and sweaty Australians.

    Now you're just being silly. Nobody has to go anywhere: the effects of spending entirely on roads are well known. And it's Gerry Brownlee who is now Minister for Transport.

    I'd rather our politicians looked at cities where things are done right. What we have is a failure of the imagination as much as anything, and to be fair it's easier to imagine what you've seen.

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

  • BenWilson, in reply to James Butler,

    I wouldn’t break the road code for extra awesome, but I would for extra safety.

    Rock on!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8584 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to George Darroch,

    I reckon they know exactly what they're doing - just not being called on it.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16741 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Sacha,

    I reckon they know exactly what they're doing - just not being called on it.

    I reckon they just focus on introspective experience because it's easier and takes less effort than trying to look at other people in the real world. Provision the leaders with expensive cars (or the means to buy them) and a driver half the time and this is what you get, at least in NZ. Everyone should just do what they do, right?

    My other half grew up in Taranaki, and reckoned that SH3 going south to Wellington was always an order-of-magnitude better-a-road than SH3 going north to Auckland. If an MP for Taranaki's going to Auckland, it's probably on a connecting flight.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 428 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to izogi,

    The government believes in what they are doing, and it's consistent with their ideology. No amount of 'information' will change that, only sustained and coordinated political opposition that includes helping the public see viable alternatives.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16741 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Also, isn't Beijing building one of the biggest metro systems in the entire world? According to Wikipedia they have 15 lines extant, 4 under construction, and another 7 to be completed before 2015.

    Its smog is undoubtedly among the worst anywhere, but at least they're moving in the right direction. At current rates it will be another decade before Auckland's first single connecting underground line is finished.

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

  • James Butler, in reply to BenWilson,

    Rock on!

    Sounds dangerous.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    I was actually really impressed last time I was in NZ by all the new cycling infrastructure, because I remember there being basically none, and a bike is very high on my list of necessary purchases when we move back.

    Point worth making.

    In Auckland, the greatest distance of cycleway in the last few years has been made by NZTA, which is obliged to build new cycleway alongside new motorway. They sometimes cop out – leaving the huge climb up to Hillsborough (iirc) Road on the SH20 cycleway bugger it as a commuter route – but it’s a good thing. When the Waterview extension is built, I’ll be able to ride rather quickly across New Zealand.

    Council is positive about this stuff, and there are people like Christopher Dempsey at community board level. I think someone has to bite the bullet and recognise the special character of Tamaki Drive. It’s 10km of flat, scenic road to places where people actually live. It has to be made safe for multiple uses.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18957 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to George Darroch,

    I don't know how it compares on a world scale, and I've lost track of how many lines are open, how many under construction, and how many more planned, but preparation for building a subway station is happening just outside my office, and there's stacks more within about a ten minute walk, and I remember reading some years ago that the city government plans to have no point within the 4th Ring Road (i.e. almost the entire central city) further than 1km from a subway station when the network is complete.

    Oh shit, visions going funny. I hope I'm not getting a migraine on top of the gut trouble I just went to see the doctor about. This is not the best day.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2149 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And before the threatening migraine arrives and turns my day completely to shit, and excuse any typos, I'm in the funny vision stage of threatening migraine, I'm really happy to see cycling activists getting so much positive coverage in the likes of the Herald and Stuff. I'm hoping this momentum continues to build and translates into more cycling infrastructure and a road culture change, because like I said, I want to get a bike when we get back. And we're aiming for Auckland, so I hope Tamaki Drive gets sorted as the infrastructure is built, cos it sounds like a nice ride.

    I hope that came out coherently.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2149 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to John Armstrong,

    In the context of this discussion can I suggest that you take a deep breath before posting stuff like this too? Are you really surprised when others respond with a bit of heat?

    In the context of Bart accusing me of saying Bishop was responsible for her own death and thinking it’s OK for drivers to engage in dangerous behaviour – both of which would be astoundingly callous, ignorant and "bitch, please"-worthy things to say. I didn't. Thought I was pretty damn calm, especially when Bart doubled down and then went on to seriously misrepresent what Russell said as well.

    It would have been really nice if you and Ian were here getting your Miss Manners on when Bart was throwing that around.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12031 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I thought your comment was fine in the context of the robust exchange of views you describe. Let us move on now :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18957 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Recover! May all be well-

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

  • Richard Wain,

    Can I just point out, in the context of running red lights on a bike, that traffic lights actually don't pay attention to cyclists. Try it sometime - if there's no other traffic (and it's not that particular kind of light system that just switches automatically on cue) then the cyclist could sit there forever without ever getting a green light.

    Which is one reason why I run lights all day, every day on my bike. The main one though is, it's a lot safer - as previously discussed. Ditto taking up the whole lane on every two-laner, such as P-Road here in Auckland. There isn't room for a bike and a car in most lanes, so being all passive and sitting on the left is just inviting trouble.

    Since Nov 2006 • 141 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Indeed. Hey one grain of good to come out of the sad horrible perfect shit storm is that it might just prompt the Council to get into “less hui, more do-ee” mode. Bart’s totally right that nobody wants to be back here in a year doing the same WTF? barn dance, with only the names being different.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12031 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Richard Wain,

    Can I just point out, in the context of running red lights on a bike, that traffic lights actually don’t pay attention to cyclists. Try it sometime – if there’s no other traffic (and it’s not that particular kind of light system that just switches automatically on cue) then the cyclist could sit there forever without ever getting a green light.

    Here's a tip (originally from Cycling in Auckland): the lines cut in the road surface at intersections are where the metal sensors are. If you align your tyres along one of those lines, it should be enough to trip the sensor.

    Works for me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18957 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Islander,

    Thank you. I'll be alright.

    Would've been nice to get some sleep earlier, though, that's the best fix for a migraine. But as I was lying there wishing I could get to sleep, I thought about your comment earlier about turning the cellphone off, and remembered a strange ad I saw on TV when I was last in New Zealand. A husband and wife are driving their cars in different parts of the city. She wants to phone him, so whips our her phone and calls him. He suddenly finds himself in a quandary over whether to answer or not, and eventually picks up the phone. Cops catch both of them. And I thought, how bizarre? How hard would it have been for her to find a safe place to stop, pull over and call? And for him to find a safe place to stop, pull over and answer? After all, when you're talking to somebody you can't see, your mind brings up an image of them, and so your mind is quite literally elsewhere. And on the way to the doctor this afternoon I got stuck behind a police car whose left tail lights had fallen off and whose driver was too busy blabbing away on his phone to go any faster than 20 km/h.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2149 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Grevers, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Chris, you forgot to mention that the Chinese tend to cycle at a sedate pace (still 3-4 x walking speed). According to the Vales' Time to Eat the Dog, "Chinese Cycling" is the most energy-efficient mode of transport in existence - and you don't overheat.

    On my route home when biking from town, there's a corner with a protected right-turn on demand, and yes, bikes will not trigger the sensor. If there isn't a car also wanting to turn, I find myself having to turn on the red arrow, because the opposing left-turning traffic (unaware that I have a left arrow) is giving way to me anyway.

    New Plymouth • Since Jul 2011 • 134 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Richard Grevers,

    Chris, you forgot to mention that the Chinese tend to cycle at a sedate pace

    Well, true. They also tend to walk sedately. And also that many Chinese cities are fairly flat. I've never been there myself, but I hear cycling is unusually rare in Chongqing because the city is so mountainous. But I disagree on the 'not overheating' considering how hot and humid summers are through most of China. In the warmer months my students arrive in class looking quite the worse for wear, and most of them have only had to walk a few hundred metres and climb at most 6 flights of stairs.

    Of course, electric scooters help a lot with the summer heat - I wonder if they're making an appearance in at least some of NZ's flatter cities? Although their batteries are so heavy that if you take it inside to charge, you'll certainly overheat. One of my neighbours solves that problem by simply dangling an extension cord out her window. Of course, she hauls the extension cord back in again when her scooter is charged so nobody steals her power.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2149 posts Report Reply

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