Crackdown on dodgy Dunedin drivers

Mel Aitken.
Mel Aitken.
Dunedin police are cracking down on dodgy driving, after a double-digit increase in central-city crashes.

Police slapped more than a dozen motorists and cyclists with infringement notices in just an hour at the intersection of Anzac Ave and Castle St yesterday afternoon.

Those infringements included motorists using cellphones while driving, failing to stop at a stop sign, failing to comply with amber lights and cyclists not wearing helmets.

Police were concerned about the ''rising crash rate in the central city'', so launched a campaign targeting road-rule breakers, Dunedin Clutha Waitaki area prevention manager Inspector Mel Aitken said.

Police were concerned by preliminary figures showing reported crashes in the central city rose about 11% over the past year, compared with 2012-13.

And police had a simple message to those road users who flouted the rules.

''If you breach a simple road rule, expect to be stopped,'' Insp Aitken said.

''We make no apologies for trying to keep the roads safe.''

Insp Aitken noted the site of yesterday's operation was the scene of a fatal crash involving a cyclist in 2011 and said, despite road improvements, motorists continued to ignore traffic signs and basic driving rules.

''Police want to stop people dying and being injured on our city roads."

In the latest city crash, a 72-year-old Dunedin man drove the wrong way along a one-way section of State Highway 1 and collided head-on with another vehicle on Sunday.

Insp Aitken said all road users had a responsibility and ''by simply obeying the road rules and being considerate of others and driving to the conditions, we can all play a part in ensuring our roads are as safe as possible, for not only ourselves but also our families, friends and other road users''.

''Let's all do our bit.''

Motorists could expect to encounter more operations over the next month, she said.

Dunedin drivers are just awful

I can't believe that we don't have any red light cameras in Dunedin given the high number of drivers who run red lights on a regular basis. If one was installed at the Pitt/London/Frederick/George Sts intersection it would pay for itself withinin a week or two. Anyone who regularly commutes down Pitt St in the mornings knows not to pull away from the intersection as soon as the light turns green or else they run the risk of being T-boned by some numpty running a red from London St.  

It's my morning entertainment counting how many drivers come through the intersection from London St after the lights at Pitt St have turned green.  The norm is 2 to 3 but I have counted up to 5.

And while I'm on the subject of idiotic drivers - how long ago did the give way rule change?  You would think people would have heard about it by now.  In the last week or so I've almost been hit twice while turning left (by cars turning right who should have given way to me) and last Sunday, while I was indicating and waiting to turn right from the centre carriageway of the Octagon some stupid woman who was turning left sat there waiting for me to go first.  I had to put my hand out the window and gesture for her to go and she acted like I was doing her some big favour (ah, no I'm just folllowing the road rules *rolls eyes*).

Priceless indeed

Sadly BMC, I was stuck at home for the day awaiting an urgent courier that required my signature. The boy was away with his mother and the dog had already been walked.

Yeah, I'm impatient when running late, as most of us are. But having said that, I'm happy to leave a gap and let others in any other time. Unless your a stinking bus of course - they can get in behind. [Abridged]



Albert: I believe there is a place for both. By all means try and make eye contact before stepping in front of one of Dunedin's oblivious drivers, hand signals are for afterwards when they've purposefully ignored your existence.

The eye thing causes unrest

Daily reader, that must be an ancient brochure. Eye contact is out. Hand signals are in. We cant go round staring with impunity, people go whakama, or think you are from Cairo giving them 'The Evil'. Many windows are black. Being waved on is fine.

What does give way mean?

And why when you have done so do you wait for the pedestrian to get off the road? Just interested as you often refer to this 'issue' when it does not say you have to wait for them to get back on the path and there is no safety benefit to them of doing so. Give way, let them pass, move on.

Making me cross

If anyone can get hold of a brochure put out by the DCC about 2 years ago, it explains how to use the various forms of crossings around the city.  The interesting thing is that the brochure advises that pedestrian and driver make eye contact to ensure that it is safe for the pedestrian to proceed.  Pedestrians can not just step out on a zebra crossing and expect not to get hit.  Just like with amber and red lights, the driver cannot stop on a sixpence and it does take care by both parties.

Dunedin drivers

Opinion999, you are right. When a pedestrian is crossing a pedestrian crossing (on any part of it)  - or even waiting to cross a pedestrian crossing - drivers must stop and give way to them until they have finished crossing.  The law changed quite some time ago, meaning even if you are just waiting to cross, traffic is supposed to stop.

The scary thing is, commenters before now have come on here and referred to people like myself who follow the law as being "one of those idiots who holds me up giving way to pedestrians" - which would explain on average about one a month is hit in Dunedin.

I have virtually begged the police before now to regularly monitor crossings outside schools, particulally the ones on Highgate Rd - I am still waiting to see them do this after two years of asking.  


Orange light

Menounderstand is right with one thing - he/she does not understand when it comes to the rules around orange lights.

Talk about dangerous thinking; he/she states the exact opposite of what the road rule is.  An orange light means "Stop unless it is unsafe to do so" not stop if it is safe to do so. [Abridged]


What about pedestrian safety?

I regularly take my dogs for a walk and when trying to cross at a pedestian crossing it feels like I take my life at risk. The amount of times I am nearly hit because someone can't be bothered giving way to a pedestrian is ridiculous! It may add a few minutes onto their trip. 

Maybe I am wrong, but I thought that pedestrians would have the right of way at a pedestrian crossing. Especially outside a school. 

Amber does not mean stop

Amber does not mean stop, it means stop if it's safe to do so. Red means stop. A basic road rule you might want to check out before requesting flashing lights which will only confuse even more people - you know, the ones who start braking when they approach a green signal.

Useful discussion

Some useful discussion going on in this section.

i tend to roam the CBD on a daily basis and am constantly stunned at those who go through amber and red lights. Doesnt the road code say 'slow down and get ready to stop' for an amber light, not  'speed up and get through if you can[and so help anyone in the motorists way]'.

Unfortunately, most of these behaviours are ingrained, and a ticket from the officer will just tell the person "they got busted"; they'll be hacked off for a while but then the habits will return just as they were before.

Motorists that cant be bothered indicating are another hassle - as if it requires effort to move that lever on the of the steering column. If the motorist isnt thinking about that sort of thing then where is their grey matter? [Abridged]


Am I colour blind? Everywhere I look, there is no Amber. The closest are sodium street lamps, not phased traffic lights. Amber is like clear backlit honey. There is a third 'get ready, Jimmy Dean' light. It's orange.

Amber lights

Amber lights don't mean stop immediately - they mean stop if it's safe to do so. You don't have to slam your brakes on if you're 1m out and it suddenly goes orange, you can pass through if you can't stop safely. You won't get a ticket for that, but you will if you just blow through an orange willy nilly. [Abridged]


A large part of the light running is I feel the phase from amber to red. One second it's green, then amber and within a very short time red. There should be a solid amber followed by a flashing one letting drivers know within 5 seconds the lights will turn red. This would take away the total guess work you have when driving towards a green light not knowing when it will go amber then almost immidiatly red. 5 seconds gives driver plenty of time to prepare to slow down and stop, and if flashing then you know stopping is what you should be starting to do, unlike now when the phase from green to amber to red is so short. Add to that the zero tolerance for cyclists running red lights and incidents should go down. And amber means stop, not speed up which many do.

Too much spare time

Said by the person who has posted three times on just this one article already today! Priceless.

On topic, I'm pretty saddened that my tax dollars are being wasted on traffic management, instead of going into real crime. But I guess it goes to show how just how bad many Dunedin drivers are. It all comes down to impatiences and total lack of manners. My wife has just arrived home from Southland. She was overtaking a heavy vehicle on a passing lane on a bend when the car behind her decided to overtake her at the same time, three abreast. Fortunately nothing came towards them; unfortunately she was unable to get the rego of the idiot.

Reflective beads?

How about having some reflective beads (or a better bead if there are some in there already) in the white lines, especially in the city centre? Given the weather we have in Dunedin, I find the road markings terrible. 

Too much spare time

MrWrong, That 10-15 min was a figure I plucked from thin air when penning my comment. Obviously, you have too much spare time to bother to work out the numbers.

Sadly, for most, every day is hectic with kids, pets, work, appointments, business meetings, sports, feeding the family and many other pressures of life, and days are usually timed to within a few minutes.

Nek Minit, Here's the clown that's just making matters worse. No pressure though, only everyone else's expectations. 

Speeds or no speeds

Speedfreak: some quick calculations: 

6km at 50kph = 7.2 min

6km at 38kph = 9.5 min

20km at 50 kph = 24 min

20km at 38 kph = 31.6 min

40km at 50 kph = 48 min
 40km at 38 kph = 63.2 min

Am I to believe that you commute 40km each way in 50kmh zones daily? If so, yes, I would suggest leaving 10-15 minutes earlier, if it will prevent you having a coronary episode whenever you find yourself behind someone doing less than the posted maximum permitted speed. The thing some of us seem to forget when we're driving (myself included) is that the speed limit is not intended as a general guideline or even the mandatory minimum, but in fact the maximum legal speed at which one may travel. If we can't handle a few minutes' delay in our commute, it's no wonder so few of us obey the traffic lights or give way at those pesky triangular signs...

As a real human being, I do agree that it can be frustrating to get caught behind a slower vehicle. But on balance, a few seconds or even minutes seem a tiny price to pay for the convenience of being able to get anywhere in town in my trusty auto in what is still a fraction of the time it would take on foot, on a bus, or, gods forbid, on a cycle! And a tiny price to pay if it means someone's child or parent can make their trip safely too.

Most of us plan fine

MrWrong: Most of us plan fine, but I guess you are suggesting that we must incorporate another 10-15 mins in our trip to take into account those that can't drive, are not capable of driving at the speed limit (through the fault of driver or vehicle) or have no consideration for those following.

I would suggest those unable to spot an upcoming carpark while doing 50kmh should likely not be driving at all.

If my expectation that all road users know and abide by the rules and speed limits and be courteous to those following makes me intolerant, I'im happy with that label. Those that aren't capable shouldn't be on the road. Pretty simple, really.

Wrong way

Do cyclists go down 'wrong ways', as more mature motorists have recently?

Cycleways and traffic islands

Yes, roads are getting narrower - had to encroach slightly into the other lane to get around a parked car.

Anyone got a problem with concrete traffic islands popping over the place? I'm sure some don't need to be there and are more an obstacle than anything else.


Must be revenue gathering time.

St Andrew St

The police can't even police the traffic on their own block - how are they going to police traffic in the city?

I bike along St Andrew St every week day and I see trucks and buses cross the double yellow centre lines to enter Centre City New World or leave The Victoria Hotel.  And each time they do they risk pedestrians because they rush to not block off the two lanes of opposing traffic.  And this is the Central Police Station's backyard!

So no, I hvae very little faith these 'crackdowns' will have any effect until commercial drivers and the police have a change of attitude.

Very relevant after this morning's commute

As I was cycling down Castle St this morning, a car pulled out of Anzac Ave without stopping at the stop sign. The ute following then pulled out right afterwards but stopped once he saw me. He was now halfway in the cycle lane though.

Someone has died at this intersection due to people not stopping at the stop sign. Even with the recent re-design of this particular intersection, there is still a big issue of people not obeying the road rules and nearly causing accidents like this example. I am glad that this is now being policed, as it should be.

Same old same old

What a joke... nothing will change. So many of our Dunedin drivers seem utterly incompetent and/or ignorant of the road rules. We could take the shockers' licences away for safety and force them to be retrained, but we won't. We will continue to tolerate the status quo because we aren't brave enough to make driving a privilege rather than an expected right.

PS: To all our lovely frightened Dunedin dawdlers, please stop waiting at intersections for a huge gap you could fit a truck into. Learn car control and take the regular gap. People behind you are getting furious waiting for you.

Fair enough

If I'm breaking the law, by all means I hope I'm stopped and ticketed. But I do have to disagree with your opinion that somebody else is the cause of another driver's road rage. The fact that people do not plan well enough to leave home in time to arrive on time without driving like utter lunatics should not be blamed on somebody who is driving along looking for an open car park, for example. Rather, I would suggest that a hurried driver's road rage is instigated by things like unreasoning impatience and utter self-centeredness.

Dunedin not getting red light cameras?

Like one other commenter noted, the red/amber light running here is horrific!

To my shock, my recent communications with the DCC about the red light/amber light runners here revealed that apparently "Dunedin's intersections do not qualify for red light cameras".  

How on earth the LTSA can explain how the city with the highest intersection crash rate in NZ does not qualify for red light cameras is beyond me!  

This is something I implore the ODT to investigate, and we should push for the immediate introduction of red light cameras to Dunedin.  

Driving 12kph under the limit

MrWrong: Hopefully you're all stopped and ticketed. Dithering along under the limit, holding up all and sundry, is the main instigator of road rage.

Are cycleways causing more accidents?

No. Hope that helps.

Good start

I am happy that this is getting some action and not just some attention. I am very careful at intersections because I have been collected at one by a car where the driver chanced his arm and lost. What happened to the idea of red light cameras? If we had them at the worst intersections it might start making people think about their driving. I am often gob-smacked at the people who run orange/red lights. Just this morning I came off the over-bridge and it turned orange after I started, in the rearview mirror I saw another 4 cars come around! Dangerous and stupid behaviour abounds.

I agree the new cycle lanes are causing a bit of confusion and those orange sticky-uppy things catch drivers out all the time. Have you seen drivers trying to work out how to get back over into another lane when they realised they have been channeled into a lane they don't want to be in? And the orange things cause distraction because they are very eye catching...but you need to be looking at the cars in front of you not those orange things.

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