Call for bikes to be registered vehicles

Barry Williams
Barry Williams
Cyclists' ''ignorance and arrogance'' has prompted Strath Taieri Community Board chairman Barry Williams to call for cycles to be registered.

Mr Williams said the proposed identification scheme was supported by the board at its meeting last week.

A proposal for the Dunedin City Council to create a bicycle registration bylaw would be on the agenda for the board's next meeting, he said.

It was difficult for motorists to identify offending cyclists so a complaint could be made to the police.

''If you see a whole lot of cyclists all over the road like lunatics, how do you ring up and report them?''

The ''ignorance and arrogance'' of cyclists angered him.

Dunedin road policing manager Senior Sergeant Phil McDouall said although motorists had difficulties identifying cyclists when complaining to police, a registration scheme would be a ''logistical nightmare''.

''All bikes would have to be registered, including bikes that children ride.''

However, police would consider a proposal for a national policy rather than a local bylaw, he said.

Cycling advocacy group Brake chief executive Mary Williams said Mr William's comments were misguided and unhelpful.

''We should be enabling more people to cycle and [be] working to protect vulnerable road users through measures that have been proven as effective.''

The most effective methods were separating cyclists from traffic, through cycleways and footpaths, and implementing lower speed limits, she said.

Automobile Association (AA) Otago chairman Jeff Donaldson said AA would review a proposal for a bicycle registration scheme.

''We would certainly want to look at it, but it would have to come as a direction from central Government.''

A Ministry of Transport spokeswoman said there were no plans to introduce a registration system for bicycles and the ministry had not considered the feasibility of such a system.

The New Zealand Transport Agency was establishing a panel to look at cycle safety, she said.

''We would expect this panel to consider national and international research and experience, and provide advice on possible rules changes that could make cycling safer.''

The introduction of a registration system for bicycles would require a change to the Land Transport Act. The change could not be implemented by a rule or bylaw.

Dunedin City Council corporate services manager Sandy Graham said anyone could ask for a new bylaw to be made.

However, a local authority had to determine, as per the Local Government Act, whether a bylaw was the most appropriate way of addressing the perceived problem.



Education and respect

None of us are perfect in respect of our driving behaviour - stand at any main intersection for an hour and observe motorists, pedestrians and cyclists exhibiting the most absurd behaviour. And not to forget the occasional Police vehicle who either breaks a road rule or two or who completely ignore others breaching the road rules.

The worst I have experienced in the last few days was a cyclist whom I had passed and was well behind me when I stopped at the lights in the left/straight through lane at a Princes Street intersection, my indicator going as soon as I went past the cyclist.When the lights went green I accelerated and was just about to make my left turn when I thought "where's the cyclist" and straightened and slowed. Sure as eggs they rode straight through on my left, turned their head and smiled. Might have been a different story if I had collided with her.

And the next day a woman driver changed lanes into the front of my car without indicating and despite the rather loud 'bang' continued for quite some distance until she reached her destination. When I got out of my car to politely ask her if she was aware of what happened she finally got of her cell phone and said she hadn't felt or heard anything. So I pointed out all the damage to the left rear of her car. Her response? "No problem".

We can't provide a safer road environment for all users until all users co-operate and the Police are more active in enforcing poor road user behaviour.

Cyclist hit and run

I assisted a cyclist last evening who was knocked off his bike by what he described as a dark coloured Nissan Primera possibly vintage 96-97. The accident took place on the corner of Melboune and King Edward streets. The Primera lost its right hand wing mirror and it sustained damage to one of its headlights.  If you live in the South Dunedin or see this vehicle anywhere in the Dunedin don't approach the driver, just report your sighting to the Police.


Have same issues in Brisbane Barry but good luck.



The earth is warming

Te Jackle, you are wrong. Actually, since 1998, our planet has been building up heat at a rate of more than 4 Hiroshima A-bombs per second. When scientists account for global ocean oscillations (where most heat is stored) and sparse data from the polar regions warming the fastest, there is no doubt the planet continues to warm in close accordance with expectations of the greenhouse gas effect. 2013 was demonstrably the second-hottest year without an El Niño this century. How does that fit with your false claim of decadal cooling?

Cherry picking dates and refusal to confront reality and listen to actual scientists does nothing to reduce global warming; only reducing carbon emissions will. The lack of scientific rigor and intellectual curiosity displayed by your tired canned assertions (if it stopped as you falsely claim, what made it stop?) is staggering. Borrowing a famous movie line: "You are awarded no points and may God have mercy on your soul".


Our cars or our planet.

Hi Te jackle,  Thanks for your comments. Granted, we all contribute to C02 emissions in some way.  I drive cars too and acknowledge my role in the problem. My hope is simply that people will work togther to reduce mans role in global warming. Our significant contribution to climate change through fossil fuel (and other forms) is very well researched now and well beyond the scope of this forum.  You are free to explore the topic and make your own mind up. I simply go by my own philosophy which leans strongly towards caution when it comes to the safety of our planet.     

Sustainably made bikes

So optimaorca you obviously own a wooden bicycle made wholly from sustainable resourses. Tell me what are car
emissions doing to the survivability of our planet, C02 has been occuring since life began and no correlation has been made between C02 and the last 17 years of climate cooling, I am still waiting for someone to explain this.

Cyclist shoes

I suggest Barry Willams (or any of the Community Board) try riding a bike around the Taieri and then tell us how vulnerable they feel when motorists pass without considering their safety. Or perhaps consider that when cyclists are being "ignorant or arrogant" it may be because they are avoiding obstacles on the roads themselves (glass, car doors, etc) or are just protecting their own safety by trying to force cars to slow down and take care when they pass.


So the police are going to spend time pulling those people over who are riding a bicycle that isn't registered or licensed, mean while there is a mad man running around shooting at houses that the police don't want to know about and houses being robbed that are not high enough on the "important list" to have a police officer attend.

Education is the best tool, not draconian enforcement of legislation.

Our cars or our planet?

Barry if you think cyclists are dangerous, think what car emissions are doing to the survivability of our grandchildren and their planet! We need to grow cycling and to celebrate the riders who sense the madness of fossil fuel mentality.  Discouraging (taxing) cycling is like pulling away one final ladder of hope from under our children.   

Peter Williamson 

More detail please

I think Williams needs to provide more detail and precision if anything useful is to come of his observations. 

The vast majority of cyclists also drive, so cyclists certainly aren't any more ignorant of the law than are drivers. Furthermore, cyclists are legally allowed to 'take the lane' if they deem it unsafe to do otherwise (i.e. if turning, if the road is too narrow for a safe overtake, if there's an obstruction, or if passing parked cars). In this situation, motorists behind just have to wait - it rarely takes more than a few seconds. It's certainly not arrogrant to cycle in a self-preserving manner. Cycling side-by-side isn't against the law either, so long as you're not holding anyone up. 

In my experience (having driven and cycled all over Europe), the best way to ease the occasional friction between motorists and cyclists is to a) provide education to both cyclists and motorists on the best and safest ways of sharing the road (including subsidised cycle training for children and adults, an increased emphasis on cycle awareness during driver training (including professional driver training)) and b) design roads and other infrastructure with the needs of cyclists in mind (no more 'painted on' cycle paths on unsuitable roads please).

In London it's common to see police giving on-the-spot fines to cyclists for traffic offences. This seems a much more sensible and practicable solution than registration.

Interestingly, if you care to google it, a recent study in London showed that the vast majority of bicycle-motorist accidents were wholly the fault of the motorist - food for thought.  

not correct

OUR taxes are put into the consolidated fund.   

OUR taxes are paying for schools, hospitals, welfare, roads, defence, etc etc etc.

Until the roads of national significance, and the chch rebuild, the road taxes, fees, and fines collected were more than the expenditure on the same, and was actually subsidising the government other expenditure.  

I would have thought that you would have supported any ideas that may improve safety on the road for cyclist - and yes this may include having to register bikes, or create an income source from them.


What they should do make cyclist wear cameras so we can report all the bad driving.  1.5m clearance between a car and a cyclist anyone?  Never happens! 

Or how about undercover cops on bikes to do a sting on all the bad drivers. 

Ridiculous waste of time

I seriously doubt this would work, and if it works, it wouldn't be highly supported, or it would put people off riding their bikes. Dunedin still has lots to work on supporting cyclists, and that support is a priority.

There are bigger risks Mr. Williams, like getting drunk drivers off the roads and other irresponsible drivers that are dangerous even sober. Why don't you invest your time on fighting those instead?


I'll do it!

Personally I'd be perpared to do it if all traffic (cycles, cars, trucks) were then monitored and the "ignorant and arrogant" of all shapes and forms held to account. The guys I saw driving up and down Warrington beach between the surf life-saving flags and the dunes yesterday would be the first 'lunatics' I'd report.


User pays


1. the numbers of cyclists vs motorist

2. that most cyclists are also motorist,

3. and that most motorist aren't cyclists,

then how do you claim that bicyclists are subsidising cars??

Pay for it myself?

So Happyatwork, my taxes pay for your roads, but if I want a cycle lane I have to pay for it myself?

No bike rego in China

Manual bicycles had to be registered in China for about 50 years but registration was abolished in 2004. And bicycle helmets are not mandatory in China.

Excellent Idea

I'm an arrogant motorist too and I like Mr. Williams' idea. In fact there are many pedestrians that step out of line and misbehave - let's register them too. A hi-vis tunic with a reflective number plate should do the trick.

Users pay but don't get much

About 50% of the cost of local roads comes from rates. Both motorists and people on bicycles pay rates either directly or indirectly via rent.

Here are some ballpark figures to think about. Considering a 2 tonne car does about 10,000 times the damage to the road, compared to a 100kg person on a bike. A car also requires a much wider lane, i.e. more expensive land.

People on bicycles are actually subsidising cars on the road, yet the roads are poorly designed for bicycles. We need to improve the design of our roads for all users, including people walking, running and in wheelchairs, people on bicycles, people riding motorbikes, people driving cars and also people driving trucks. These are all valid uses of this public space.

Rarely seen...cyclist

Bp_williams has "rarely seen anything by a cyclist that I'd think worthy of reporting" which is rather a worry. Either he needs an eye check, urgently, or he doesn't drive around the North End, NE Valley part of town. There are a good many cyclists who rely on motorists' clairvoyance, or above-average eyesight combined with disproportionate attention to the possibility of cyclists being on the road, ahead of paying attention to any of the other things a motorist needs to pay attention to. Dim dark clothing, no lights or one light or 1-2 sick-glow-worm powered lights, possibly with jacket or pack obscuring the rear one, these are what bp_williams has not seen. Either where he drove there was a different breed of cyclist, or they are in more danger than he or they realise.

Dangerous behaviour

Dangerous behaviour is not the exclusive domain of any one group of road users.

I've nearly been hit by car drivers driving straight through right turn only lanes.

I've seen Cyclists riding down Forbury Road at night, no helmet, no lights, no reflectors, and weaving in and out of traffic because he was texting while he was cycling.

I've had to perform numerous emergency stops because of pedestrians crossing when or where they should not have been crossing (against lights, between the diamond and the pedestrian crossing, with lights but when they should not have been).

Seperating traffic types is only part of the solution, Dunedin's city planning needs to be seriously looked at, and all three groups of road users seriously need to re-examine their attitudes towards road usage.

Maybe, maybe not

Not saying I agree necessarily but one thing is for sure I am a motorcyclist and it needs warrant of fitness, $529 Rego/ACC and when ridden has to be lit up like a Christmas tree (headlight on). I get annoyed the Police don't seem to stop cyclists taking off at a red light from standing still and the no need for helmets or tyre and light checks or riding 5 abreast - we would just about get demerits on a motorbike for this.

I don't know - Maybe make bikes free to register and license but pin an ID plate so we can report bad behaviour the next time I nearly get wiped out.

Good Idea

A registration complete with a fee is a good idea.  

The money could improve cycleways for them - this was the idea of user pays wasn't it.

And as we are told more and more people will cycle, means less and less money coming from motorist, meaning we will have to collect some form of payment off them eventually, so sooner the better.

Grey power

Perhaps Barry can't remember back to when he were a lad, but this sounds like grumpy-old-man-itis to me. 

I have driven in this town for many years and have rarely seen anything by a cyclist that I'd think worthy of reporting. 

Nanny State anyone?

Unsafe motorist behaviour

It is particularly arrogant to suggest cyclists act like lunatics on the road.

Cyclists generally don't drink and bike.

Cyclists generally don't exceed the speed limit.

Cyclists generally don't overtake on blind corners.

Cyclists generally don't talk on their cellphones.

Cyclists generally don't tail-gate.

Mr Williams should concentrate on lowering the drink driving rate and reducing other unsafe motorist behaviour in his rural community rather than picking on little Timmy biking to the corner dairy.


Perhaps Barry, you should look at your own area, and register dairy cows and the like. Then we could take our kids out to Outram Glenn and let them swim in the Taieri again?  

Bad idea

First of all, I doubt this will work. Are there any example places where they introduced this system?

More important, in my opinion this is the wrong signal the goverment would be given. Cycling should be encouraged. I think it's the smartest way of transportation through town.

Perceived problem

Self propelled bits of metal that weigh 20kg vs fuel powered bits of metal that weigh 2 tonnes. Which one causes more damge and who has a greater responsibility when in control of one or the other?

The police are currently not able to adequately police the people driving the large fuel powered bits of metal, that cause considerable damage. They currently also police cycling, where they see someone breaking the law. How would this proposal actually make our roads safer?

The design of our roads are actually a big factor in how people in cars and people on bicycles interact. If we can improve these in certain places, we can make our roads safer and more enjoyable for all road users. This would be a much better use of our public spending. 

Bike registration?

Just wondering how Barry Williams would think registering a bike would make it easier for him to identify these "lunatics" any better? Can't imagine a bike with a number plate big enough to see. I too have seen a few cyclists breaking the law on the roads, but the best thing to do is get on your cell (yes you can legally do that) and call the police and if you need to try and follow the offender with a good description of the law breaker.

To be honest I think trying to register a bike would put a lot of people off buying or riding their bikes with the result of more cars being used and more congestion, as well as pollution. Also would the next step to register skate that would be interesting.

I personally think Barry Williams is trying to stir trouble up between cyclists and motorist which is something we do not need as from reading letters in the ODT we have enough trouble makers in that regard.

ODT/directory - Local Businesses

CompanyLocationBusiness Type
Ski ConnectWanakaSporting Goods
Southern WingsInvercargillHelicopter & Aeroplane Flights
Viblock LimitedAlexandraSpecialist Trades
Gymeez SportsDunedinSporting Goods