Cyclist knocked off road by bus

Dunedin cyclist Carl Haddon, who was knocked off his bicycle by a bus at The Cove on Sunday, steers clear of certain routes in and around the city. Gerard O'Brien.
Dunedin cyclist Carl Haddon, who was knocked off his bicycle by a bus at The Cove on Sunday, steers clear of certain routes in and around the city. Gerard O'Brien.
Dunedin's low level of traffic congestion actually makes the city more dangerous for cyclists, because it means drivers tend to travel faster, a Cycling Otago member says.

Carl Haddon, of Helensburgh, was knocked off his bicycle by a bus at The Cove on Sunday, while competing in a time trial.

Police were investigating the incident, the latest in which a cyclist was hit by a vehicle in the city.

Last November, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull sought urgent action to improve cycle safety on the one-way state highway systems through Dunedin, following the death of a cyclist in Cumberland St near Dunedin Hospital.

Dunedin City councillors unanimously supported an approach by the council's chief executive, Paul Orders, to the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) for a safety review, which was initiated.

Yesterday, acting Otago-Southland state highways manager Simon Underwood said the NZTA expected to provide the council with an initial report in four to six weeks.

He said the review would lead to a longer-term view of what a safer central cycling network would look like, as well as more immediate ''quick wins'' which could be achieved in the short term.

Mr Haddon (40) cycled daily and avoided certain routes which he said were too dangerous.

State Highway 88 between Dunedin and Port Chalmers was a ''death trap'' and Portobello Rd was not worth the risk, he said.

It was near the intersection of Portobello Rd and Irvine Rd where Mr Haddon was hit by a passing passenger bus about 9.15am on Sunday.

Mr Haddon said he was cycling along the far left of the road when the bus veered around him to pass.

The driver pulled back to the left before completely passing Mr Haddon, who was hit by the rear of the bus and pushed over on to the footpath.

The bus did not stop and Mr Haddon was not sure whether the driver was aware he had been hit.

His clothing was torn beyond repair and parts of his bicycle would need replacing.

Mr Haddon was scratched and bruised but managed to avoid serious injury.

''I was really lucky, actually. It could have been much worse.''

He contacted police and was treated at the site by St John staff.

Mr Haddon was hit by a car while cycling in Auckland years ago but said in some ways Dunedin posed a greater risk to cyclists.

''The traffic moves quite quickly here, because it's not congested and there is a general lack of care for cyclists on the roads. Occasionally, you get people that are really aggressive on purpose,'' he said.

Mr Haddon was comfortable cycling along the one-way systems in Dunedin, as long as he did not have to cross lanes to turn right.

He said the more separation there was between cycle and traffic lanes the better.


Unfortunately for Speedfreak43, regardless of his opinion in relation to ACC levies the law, as it stands, is quite clear. Cyclists have the same right to use, and the same rights on the road as he does.  End of story.

The DCC funds all road maintenance except for the State highway system.  This means that if a cyclist has paid rates to the DCC then they have also paid to use the road.

I suspect (although can not confirm) that cyclists may have been exempted under s38(2)(b), where the costs of compliance are likely to be disproportionate to the amount of road use of the vehicle.

Speedfreak43 resorts to ACC levies as justification for his stance and suggests that because a cyclist has less protection than a motorcycist, they are more likely to be injured than a motorcyclist, and should pay accordingly, however, according to the Ministry of Transport, motorcyclists have 200 accidents per million hours spent travelling, where cyclists have more like 30.

Additionally, ACC levies exacted from fuel purchases and vehicle licensing are kept in a separate account that pays for people who are injured in motor-vehicle accidents. If that $12 that effectively goes towards covering those free-loader cyclists is really that much of an issue for you speedfreak43, then can I suggest you come up with a viable solution that is fair, equitible, and cost effective, then present it to your local MP.

Meanwhile, the cyclists in Dunedin are merely enjoying their legally protected right to be on the roads that they have helped pay for through their rates.  This, incidentally, is the same right you have sought to protect for boy racers at JWOD.


Wrong on both points

Wrong on both points Speedfreak, cyclists have far less crashes requiring medical aid, cars have resonable amount, and motorcyles have a lot (in proportion to the number of people cycleing/driving cars/riding motorbikes), and the road user costs reflect this. It would also be incredably hard to charge cyclists as there would be no way to charge per bike you own. And why would you want to, the government already hands out massive subsidies for "green" practices, why would they want to deter cyclists, who already save this county millions of dollars.

ACC don't charge you more for riding a motorbike becuase you have less protection (when is the last time you wore a crash helmet and leathers when driving your car?), they charge you more because you are more likely to have/cause a crash.

I already pay my share, simply by being on a bike instead of a car. 

Missed the point completely

@Riley: Did you not read what I wrote or did you just not understand? Every road user has to pay Acc, per vehicle, that's 4 times I pay for each car and twice more for each motorcycle. You are just as likely, as any other road user, to have an accident and require reimbursement from Acc. There for, if you wish to use the road with the rest of us, you need to pay as well or ride elsewhere.

@freshprince: I pay more Acc for my bikes than the cars due to the fact Acc deems there will be a greater amount of injury incurred to me as there is less protection provided. The same goes for cyclists. Their Acc payment needs to be the same as a motorcyclist pays or more as cyclists do not have any power to accelerate out of harms way in most cases. Its not relevant who causes the accident, rather how much you are likely to be damaged.

If you want equal rights here, you need to be prepared to pay your equal share 

Nothing like facts

"Where there is an adequate cycle path or lane, cyclists should use it" (NZTA)

Very few of the cycle lanes in Dunedin could be called adequate, even when they are free of road signs, parked buses, courier vans, cars that are not parked properly, and car doors.

Speedfreak is proud of how many cars he owns and upset that cyclists haven't paid for ACC, but conveniently ignores the facts: of all accidents involving a cyclist, cars are at fault three times out of four. Motorcycles are ten times more likely to have an accident than a car, or a cyclist (who didn't cause the accident 75% of the time).

Speedfreak, please tell me, as a fully-illuminated, reflective cyclist, why I should pay for the accident that you are more likely to cause?


@Speedfreak: So none of it goes towards road costs, as I said. It pays for people who get killed/hurt on roads, of which the costs are much higher for accidents caused by cars than those caused by cycles.

@ Hype.O.Thermia: At no point did I imply he drove all four cars at once, simply having four cars has an impact on the enviroment. The cost to the enviroment just to build a car and ship it halfway around the world to New Zealand is huge.

"A 2004 analysis by Toyota found that as much as 28 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions generated during the lifecycle of a typical gasoline-powered car can occur during its manufacture and its transportation to the dealer.'' - See here

Six impossible things before breakfast

"Cyclists save this country millions of dollars every year, and reduce congestion on roads so that you can ruin this enviroment with your four cars" writes Riley Baker, brightening an overcast day with the glorious vision of the other party driving his 4 cars simultaneously so as to cause more damage to the environment than people who drive only one at a time.

Indeed, with a person driving all his cars at once, Riley Baker is correct in deducing that he "clearly" does not care about his child's future - for one thing, when he is doing that he has 4 times the risk of having a fatal accident, and if he is splitting his attention 4 ways to avoid cyclists and other road users his risk must be about 10 times greater than that of a one-car driver.  

Motor vehicle registration

@Riley Baker: Motor vehicle registration is the cost we pay to use our vehicles on the road. Have you ever taken a look at the breakdown of that cost?. My latest account states a yearly cost of $287.54 and of this $198.46 plus gst is for ACC levy.

I'm guessing that you, Riley, have not paid your $230.00 approx ACC levy for the road usage of your cycle? [abridged]


So cyclists don't work or spend any money (bikes are free right?). The majority of money towards roads comes from taxes, which everyone pays whether they own a car, bike or nothing at all.

Cyclists save this country millions of dollars every year, and reduce congestion on roads so that you can ruin this enviroment with your four cars. You obviously don't care in the slightest about your earlier mentioned child's future.

The two cyclists you mentioned were indeed "Just blatantly flouting the law" yet you seem to think it's ok for you to do the same thing by dangerously overtaking them.


Check out my name

@AJP:  Does this suggest any patience? I own 4 cars and 2 motorcycles and pay handsomely to use the road, whereas you cyclists who think you own the road, pay nothing. I have to pay for each and every vehicle I use on the road and until you cyclists pay your share, my view will not change and i will expect you to treat the motorists with respect, and not the disregard, a great deal of you show.

The Lycra clad pair I mentioned were not in the cycle lane at any time of my observance and were not overtaking anyone. Just blatently flouting the law and expecting other road users to cross the centre line to get past. I did toot at them only to receive abusive gestures in return. A great P.R. excercise on behalf of the cyclists. 


Road safety is everyone's responsibilty

I agree with Trippy : “ if you wouldn't do it to another car, you shouldn't do it to a cyclist “ Driving at the same sort of speeds in my Land Rover as I do cycling results in far fewer crazy overtakes , etc. Doing 35kph on the posted corner down Stone Street : fine if I'm driving my old Rover , but a hazard (so I've been told ) if I'm riding. Slowing to crawl coming up to a red light. Again , fine in the Rover, but likely to result in a rapid overtake / rapid braking / angry look if I'm cycling.

Speedfreak obviously thinks roads are only for cars. Though technically illegal , I do take to the footpaths on the bigger hills such as Stuart St , but only going up where my speed is near that of a walker or runner ( 5-15kph).

As for overtaking - On the cycling side,  to overtake on the cycle lanes on North road often means swinging out on to the 'car' lane. The 'Lycra clad brigade' – road-cyclists I assume - travel much faster than most commuters so will obviously have to ride outside 'their' lane more often. But even two abreast they will still be much narrower that a car or bus. I also like to mention that saying “...that's not a threat, just some friendly advice.” does not remove the threat.

Another reader mentioned rear view mirrors. They may be of some aid , especially for recumbents who can't look behind as easily . Cyclist are much more open to the environment than a driver or most motorcyclists. My peripheral vision is better and I can hear approaching traffic much more easily when I'm riding.

A little patience would do wonders all round. 


Re cyclists

@Joukahainen: If you had been on the footpath where you belong, 1) you wouldn't have slowed the bus service down (can't believe I just said that, they can't get much slower) which most likely resulted in him having to pull out in front of another road user to make up for lost time; and 2) said child was most likely in a hurry to get home and on the playstation and you were wasting his time.

Just to clarify, said child was not mine. While my son would most likely have given you the bird, he, like myself, would not be seen dead on a bus.


I guess we all at least agree that the only way to make cycling safer in NZ is to stop cycling? Make it illegal I say, at least everywhere else than dedicated well-secured areas.

When I drive, I'm more than happy to avoid collisions even if the other party is an idiot cyclist/driver. It appears that there's a lot of Kiwis that aren't willing to do that, if they are right and the other party is wrong (usually is).

I'm trying to understand what makes the cyclist/cycling  so irritating to so many people here? One time I was riding my bike up Signal Hill Rd and a school bus overtook me. The driver slowed down and waited until it was safe to do it and gave a plenty of space too. A pupil then gave me a finger from the back window, maybe he/she was in a big hurry to somewhere? Or had been educated to that? Another kiwi-car driver to come. . .

Cyclists have their lane

@Joukahainen: And the drivers have their lane. If the expectation is for the driver to ensure that he/she stays in their lane, it is only fair that we expect the cyclists to stay in theirs.

It is, after all, the cyclists' lives mainly at stake here. 

Not representative cyclists

I get the impression that those bike riders who write comments and letters to the print ODT belong to a very different culture from the ones who engender the anti-cyclist views of some outspoken motorists.  "And all this on North Road?!?!?!" says Joukahainen.  North Road is the habitat of some of the dopiest cyclists you could ever hope not to meet - no point in hoping not to see them, you probably won't unless it's perfect weather and light conditions.  

For every one with a light on each end of the bike, not obscured by pack or coat, bright enough to look like more than the reflection off a moth's wings, there are 2 or 3 dark-clad figures in the dusk or dark-as-a-coal-cellar night, average less than 1 functioning light each, no functioning survival instinct. Hitting one of them would be one's worst nightmare even if they are incredibly silly, yet seeing them only when really close especially in wet conditions when there are reflections all over the road.  Following on fear comes anger at them for putting us (motorists) in this position.  Before we know it we're feeling annoyed with cyclists as a group - yes, very unfair.  So is cyclists' anger at motorists as a whole because of those who do not even try to use the roads considerately.

How can we improve safety for cyclists?

Let's not turn this into the eternal debate, of idiot cyclist, versus idiot driver, and rather assume that everyone is gifted with common sense and decency. Let us rather ask, what can be done to improve the situation and safety for cyclists?



@ Riley B: I think the general feeling is that if cyclists are going to ride two abreast under SR 2004 s11.10, then they should also give due consideration to other road users under SR 2004 s2.1 (2) which states: "If a driver's speed, when driving, is such as to impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic, that driver must, as soon as is reasonably practicable, move the vehicle as far as practicable to the left side of the roadway when this is necessary to allow following traffic to pass."

Given that s1.6 includes cyclists in its definition of a Driver: "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."

Ready to kill before easing up the speed?

It's chilling to read the comments of some of the car driver here and else where in NZ www forums. If it's either head on collision or driving over the cyclist, of course it would be out of the question to slow down and wait for a proper moment to pass?!? And all this on North Road?!?!?!

The whole disgussion just underlines the bigger issue that is in the attitudes of Kiwis towards the weaker parties in life.

Cycling in NZ will be safe when the oil runs out. 

As a cyclist my road safety

As a cyclist my road safety is not totally in my hands as you imply. I have a responsibility to ride safely and be considerate to other road users but you also have the same responsibility to show consideration to cyclist as your actions impact on our saftey as well. 

I sympathise with your frustration at the inconsiderate cyclist riding 2 or 3 abreast, riding through red lights and generally not giving a stuff about other road users. Their behaviour reflects badly on all cyclists but I doubt review mirrors would change their arrogant behaviour.

I always try and acknowlege the considerate drivers who don't try and pass me on a blind corner or give me plenty of space when passing. They haven't lost anything by doing this but they have my gratitude as I am much safer because of it. 

I am not sure why you call cyclists "you people"? We are ordinary people just like you with mothers and families. Perhaps if you rode a bike as well would know what it is like from our perspective. 

Let's all be safe out there.



Organising a cycling time trial on a notoriously dangerous road always seemed a brave option. We gave it a miss for that reason.

Also hit by a car on this same stretch of road this year

I was hit and injured Jan 04 this year on a training ride, just past Irvine road on Portobello rd, after a car failed to complete a safe passing manoeuvre on myself. I make every attempt to keep left as not to impede the flow of traffic and acknowledge considerate drivers. I know the road rules as applied to cyclists very well and am aware of inconsiderate cyclists and motorists, both of which I am sure don't know cyclist road rules either. But regardless, we don't have protective shells around us like motorists do ... yes please pass us by all means, but ensure it is safe to do so and keep an eye on your left before pulling back it. A cycle lane through the Cove would be fantastic.

Cyclist or head on with another car?

Tough decision really! Not.  I have been in this situation on North Road and having to cross the centre line to avoid 2 of the lycra clad brigade riding 2 abreast and both outside the cycle lane. If you lot continue to flaunt the regulations, I will not endanger myself to ensure your safety on the next occaision.

And while I have your attention, Holding yourself up by placing your hand on my car at the traffic lights because you are too tired to put your foot down or get off the saddle has to stop.

How's that old saying go again, oh that's right, here it is.

You toucha my car, I breaka your face.

And that's not a threat, just some friendly advice.

@ Fergustus:

@ Fergustus:

Yes there plenty of bad cyclists, just as there a bad drivers. Unfortunately, and I don't agree with it, riding two abreast is legal in New Zealand, and it is the over taking vehicles responsibility to make sure it is safe to pass, if you have to swerve over the centre line then clearly you should not be passing. 

I think there a lot of other laws that could make cycling safer, review mirrors could be a good one, but also a regulation for the minium standards of brightness of lights at night would be a big one. 

Even worse is that it's perfectly legal to skate down the road with zero protection, no brakes, reflectors, lights or proper steering with wheels so small that the smallest bump in the road can flip a board.  


I know...

It wasn't that long ago that I saw a cyclist, at dusk, weaving in and out of traffic, no lights, no reflective gear, no saftey gear, and texting while cycling.

When did texting someone become so earth shatteringly important that people feel compelled to text while driving or cycling, rather than pulling over or waiting until they got where they're going?

Cyclists, you'rer not a protected species

But you are endangered. Your road safety is in your hands. As a full time employed driver, I regularly notice cyclists roaming outside the cycle lanes, I very often see them riding two and three abreast, with no consideration to the approaching vehicles. I have seen near head-on accidents as a car has had to veer accross the center line to avoid clipping the outside cyclist.

I am considering starting a petition to make all cyclists fit rear view mirrors to their bikes. Imagine if you could see the vehicles approaching? You may show some consideration and either stop or at least, move as far to the left a safely possible.

Why should you people be allowed to have no rear vision on your cycles, I need them on my truck, my car and my motorcycle. It really does improve road safety.

Bad cyclists too

Unfortunately Trippy, there are just as many bad cyclists out there as well. Too many cyclists seem to think road rules don't apply to them.

Just last week I saw a cyclist go the wrong way down one of the oneway cycle tracks, just to avoid the inconvienance of going one extra block to the one way going the right way. 


Cycling in Dunedin a nightmare

Dunedin is a nightmare to commute in on a cycle.

Idiotic cycle lanes right out in the middle of traffic, no well marked cycle lanes on most roads, parked cars pushing you out further into traffic and NZ drivers generally have no idea how to drive with cyclists on the road.

Not to mention in the central city there is almost nowhere to lock your bike. For a university town, with a very small central city, biking should be far easier and safer.


I almost feel compelled to apologize to Mr Baker. 

I drive because my personal circumstances leave me with no other choice.  Before I took up driving I was a regular cyclist and pedestrian.

As a driver I have lost count of how many times I have been thanked by cyclists for exercising a little common sense - staying behind them without applying pressure when it is unsafe to pass, giving way to them and allowing them to pass me on the left instead of turning in front of them and cutting them off, and generally keeping an eye out for them when turning or entering and exiting the vehicle, to name a few things.

I'm sorry that cyclists continually have life threatening experiences caused by inattentive, ignorant, or impatient drivers.

I'd suggest that if you wouldn't do it to another car, you shouldn't do it to a cyclist, but, judging by my experiences driving on Dunedin roads, I doubt that would improve matters.

Me too

The sooner they are relegated to the footpath, where they belong, the better.

Lots of close calls

As a regular rider on Portobello Rd I have had a number of very close calls with the back end of buses. I dont think this is intentional as many of the drivers do try to leave room when passing but I dont think they realise how close the back of the bus actually gets to the cyclist when they pull in. 

I agree the seemingly common practice of placing temporary road signs in the cycle lanes meaning cyclist have to suddening vear into the main traffic stream is irresponsible and dangerous. This shouldn't happen and I fear someone will die as a result of this practice.

DCC hates cyclists?

Close calls with cars/trucks/drunk pedestrains, are an every day event when cycling in Dunedin, partly caused as what I can only describe as a hate of cyclists by the DCC.

The DCC continuously goes out of its way to make cycling more dangerous, from some the thinnest biking lanes I have seen in New Zealand, to traffic lights that only activate when a car is stopped, forcing cyclists to either run red lights, or wait in a hope that a car will come to the rescue and set the traffic light sensors buried in the road off. Now it seems it's accepted practice to use the biking lanes for placement of tempory traffic signs, meaning cyclists have to swerve out of the bike lane and onto the road.

Just a couple nights ago on my commute to work  I had four close calls, two with pedestrians deciding to cross the road without looking, one with a car deciding to would swerve infront of me to pull into the countdown carpark, and the last with a car that went past a parking spot, then reversed 30-40m down the cycle lane to get back to the park.

This is while wearing a fluro vest, 250 lumen rear light and a 800 luman front light (An average car headlight on full beam is about 1500 lumans).

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