Dunedin city councillor Lee Vandervis has been accused of
misrepresenting former Olympian Kashi Leuchs' views on
cycleways to ''push forward his own agenda'' at a recent
Dunedin City Council meeting.
However, Cr Vandervis hit back yesterday, denying the claim
and saying any suggestion he did so deliberately was
The claim came after Cr Vandervis, speaking during a full
council meeting on September 23, questioned whether separated
cycle lanes on the city's main one-way streets would improve
Cr Vandervis told the meeting he had visited Bike Otago and
had discussed cycle lanes with those in the store, including
''the bloke that runs it''.
Those he spoke to had ''suggested cycle lanes actually give
cyclists a false sense of security'', and that intersections
- where most accidents occurred - could not accommodate
separated cycleways, Cr Vandervis told the meeting.
For that reason ''the cyclists - and these are seriously
heavy duty cyclists - didn't support cycle lanes'', he told
Bike Otago owner Kashi Leuchs, a former Olympic mountain
biker, took issue with the comments on his blog yesterday,
saying the suggestion was ''completely untrue''.
Mr Leuchs said it was true he, like other cyclists, did not
support cycle lanes that were no more than painted white
lines on roads.
However, he was a ''strong'' advocate for separated cycle
lanes and ''passionately'' supported plans to add them to the
That support was something Cr Vandervis ''has forgotten to
mention'' as he ''misquoted us in order to push forward his
own agenda'', Mr Leuchs wrote.
Mr Leuchs said he initially ''just laughed'' when alerted to
Cr Vandervis' comments, because it was ''so far from anything
I would ever say''.
''But later I started thinking that it was kind of a serious
Bike Otago workshop manager Joel Anderson, who also talked to
Cr Vandervis during his visit, said there had been discussion
of problems associated with cycle lanes between parked cars
However, he was ''all for'' separated cycleways, and his
comments had been misconstrued.
''It was kind of a bit gutting because I know what I had said
... to have it taken the wrong way - it almost kind of turned
However, Cr Vandervis told the ODT he had ''accurately
described'' the reservations about existing cycle lanes
expressed during his in-store visit, and the words ''painted
on'' had never been mentioned.
''Bike Otago's own comments ... confirms that they are
opposed to current cycle lanes, and shows that I did not
His only ''agenda'' was to prevent an ''enormous waste'' of
ratepayers' and New Zealand Transport Agency funds on
separated cycleways that were ''yet to be designed [and] that
does not address the statistically-most-dangerous
He also worried about the loss of more than 200 car parks if
the proposal went ahead.
Spokes Dunedin secretary Dr Robert Thompson said the
separated cycleways would have saved lives if built earlier,
and it was ''unfortunate'' Mr Leuchs' views had been
''Saying that separated cycle lanes are unsafe because they
make people overconfident is like saying seat belts and air
bags are unsafe for the same reason.''