Businessman targets 'arrogant' cyclists

A Wellington businessman who has declared "open season" on cyclists has outraged cycling advocates who say his comments are frightening and dangerous.

David Ware, managing director of publicly listed mobile radio company TeamTalk, wrote an editorial in the latest company newsletter railing against cyclists.

He calls them "sodding road vermin", "roadkill", "weasels in Lycra", and said "it's time to declare open season".

"More than anything it's their unbridled arrogance that gets up my nose.

"Unlike the rest of us they don't pay road user charges or extra ACC premiums. But in spite of being guests on our roads they think they have some god given right to ride wherever they bloody-well please, whenever they please."

However, Mr Ware said he had just bought a bike and would let readers know how he went.

The editor of Tim Pawson said the article was "distressing and appalling".

He said it was frightening to see such anger in the editorial.

"I would think that if someone out there of a similar mindset to him took that on board and decided to be a smart alec when passing a cyclist by passing too close or speeding up when one is turning and the inevitable happens and someone gets killed, well, he should be made responsible for prompting the activity.

"He's actually calling on people to use their motor vehicles as weapons."

The editor of the Road Cycling NZ magazine Glenn Te Raki said the editorial was "almost a joke".

"Bike riders pay their road taxes in various forms, and it's people with this low mentality that scare us vulnerable bike riders."

He said Mr Ware was declaring "war" on cyclists.

Mr Ware was unavailable for comment today.

Last week Wellington Coroner Ian Smith made a number of recommendations for cyclist safety in his inquest into the death of top police officer Superintendent Stephen Fitzgerald.

Mr Fitzgerald was killed while he was biking to his Eastbourne home and a truck clipped him on the Petone overbridge.

Among his recommendations, Coroner Smith urged the Minister of Transport to make it compulsory for cyclists to wear high-visibility gear and for the road rules to change so cars would need to be a metre from bikes when passing them.


Horrid lycra™

Invented by Du Pont, from rayon. The chemical giant that gave the world defoliant.

Speedy's dirt transition

Speedfreak: go for one of the LC4 powered KTMs, or a newer 525, you won't regret it. Maximum enjoyment.

No longer cheated

@Trippy:  The last of my 6 vehicles registrations went on hold today. There will be no more funding from me.

Wanted: Large capacity dirt bike. Must have lights and road tyres. No rego plate necessary 

Cyclists as pedestrians

A couple of people now have complained about cyclists suddenly becoming pedestrians at intersections.  As a driver, I don't have a problem with this.  It's not illegal, it prevents the cyclists from breaking the law and it stops the cyclists from holding up the flow of traffic when the lights change (which would be less of a problem if some of the phasing in this town wasn't so absurd).

There is one proviso that I would add to this, however.  If you're going to do this, dismount from your bicycle and walk it across. It is, after all, what is required by the Cycling Road Code here:

From the section on Sharing with Pedestrians (See the PDF): "If you want to use a pedestrian crossing to cross the road you must get off your cycle and walk. The exception is at crossings with special traffic signals for cyclists – here you may cycle across the crossing when the signal shows a green cycle symbol."

I think some drivers could benefit from reading the cyclists roadcode as well.


Zuzbud: If you are going to drive with cars then do it safely. But when cyclists change from being riders to a pedestrians I see that they do not all stop and wait for the lights to go green - some go immediately into pedestrian mode in an unsafe manner. Perhaps the one way system during rush hour is not the best option for cyclists.
I, as a car driver, am very conscious of cyclists and slow down whenever I'm behind the cycles and wait until the curves allow me to pass in a safe manner.
Cyclists - whether they are motor or manual - should not weave in and out of cars to get where they are going faster! You are just as culpable as motor vehicles.
All cyclists should obey the road code. End of story. [Abridged]


I don't wear Lycra . . .

. . . while cycling - ever! I also would prefer not to use the roads, but I have no choice some days. The days I cycle from St Leonards to the University are the most pleasant of days. The shared harbourside path is beautiful, the air fresh and clean, and you can hear nature due to the fact I'm well separated from trucks, cars and buses on the Port road.

As for cyclists suddenly becoming pedestrians at the lights, sometimes that's the only way to cross. While cycling along the one way system during the morning and evening rush hours, I'm confined to the cycle lane on the left, it's often impossible to move to the right lane in order to turn at the lights, so crossing with pedestrians is the safest option. I suspect motorists don't like this because it's an option denied to them.

Money for roads

Speedfreak43: Have a look here It explains where the money for roads comes from at the moment. Yes, some of it does come from fuel duty, road user charges and vehicle licensing. But only some. The rest comes from local authority rates and general taxes (income tax, GST etc.) - which cyclists and pedestrians also pay. From looking at that document, it's hard to be sure, but looks a lot like cyclists pay more than their "fair share" based on the damage they cause to roads.

As far as "fair shares" of ACC costs go, I agree that it would be better off paid from general taxes. If they insist on it being some kind of "user pays" though it should be based on fault in accidents, not who is receiving the treatment (it's whoever is at fault who is saving money on their insurance by having ACC pay). I suspect it would be massively unfair on cyclists, and is already unfair on motorcyclists. 


Speedfreak43 is so convinced he's being gypped by freeloader cyclists that he once again reiterates the argument that "...9 times out of ten , its not their fault but they are subjected to higher ACC than the car driver. Therefore according to your comment, cyclists should be paying more than a car driver also..."  Even though this argument has already been debunked.

As I pointed out in our previous discussion, according to NZTA bicyclists have 30 deaths/injuries per million hours spent on the road, motorcyclists have 200.  A motorcyclist is nearly seven times more likely to be injured or killed in an accident than a cyclist. Moreover, you're factually wrong on a second count.  Motorcyclists are at fault more frequently than you claim.  According to NZTA statistics, motorcyclists have "no fault identified" in only 38% of accidents (compared to 63% for cyclists), not the 90% you claim.

As for this: "If a cyclist swings out of the cycle lane, for whatever reason, and I happen to collect them, I am not at fault and therefore will not be prosecuted for anything."

You might find yourself unpleasantly surprised.[Abridged]

Pay more

Yes, I agree some cyclists do ride recklessly, but don't tar everyone with that brush. Some drivers should never be allowed on the road, such is their lack of road sense, but I am not saying all drivers are reckless and ignorant. Mr Ware and the rest of the anti-cyclist brigade won't mind paying $500 for registering their lethal vehicles - after all, they are more likely to drive the road wrecking, gas-guzzling SUVs (see, another generalisation). And I am sure they won't mind thanking cyclists for ensuring they get the greater share of dwindling gas supplies to fuel their toys.
The attitudes towards cyclists expressed here are a damning indictment in that these are the people who don't seem to realise that if they kill a cyclist, it is on their conscience for life. But then, I do question whether some have evolved sufficiently to actually have a conscience.

Cyclists paying plenty already?

@nwp: Please explain your comment that cyclists are paying plenty already. I read that here often but there are never any facts provided to back it up. The reason for this is that they pay nothing. Regardless of who is at fault in any cyclists accident, they still claim ACC and therefore should be paying in some way for their treatment and rehabilitation.

I agree ACC is a sham. It was introduced to cover work related injuries but now every Tom, Dick,  Harry, cyclist and rugby player is claiming. I suggest ACC be shut down or alternatively deleted off all bill payments, and a uniform charge be applied to every man woman and child in the country. Everyone has accidents and everyone seeks hospital treatment/rehabilitation, therefore everyone should pay.

@Trippy: When a motorcyclist has an accident, 9 times out of ten , its not their fault but they are subjected to higher ACC than the car driver. Therefore according to your comment, cyclists should be paying more than a car driver also. If a cyclist swings out of the cycle lane, for whatever reason, and I happen to collect them, I am not at fault and therefore will not be prosecuted for anything. 

Happy to share road

But cyclists do take a lot of liberties with the road.

They tend not to obey the rules of the road e.g. when they get to lights they then take on pedestrian rules!

Since they are a moving object they should be following road rules.



@speedfreak43 - cyclists hardly ever kill or seriously injure anyone on the road. Therefore they are not causing significant costs to ACC, certainly when compared to those caused by drivers. Why should they pay as if they did?

The fact that you are perhaps paying more than would be "fair" does not mean that cyclists are not paying enough - they are paying plenty already. Rather than taking it out on them, try to come up with an idea for a better system and campaign to get it changed.

In the meantime, listen to @sv3nn0.  

@Hype.O.Thermia - try reading the document I linked to earlier. It explains how road funding works and why what I said is not misleading at all: cyclists do pay their fair share. The specific road use charges that you refer to are intended to reflect the cost of repairing wear and tear caused by the vehicles they apply to. What proportion of wear and tear on roads do you think is caused by cyclists?



If that's your attitude, then you will break the law, and in all likelihood be (deservingly) prosecuted for it.

Your objection is ridiculous.  A cyclist is less likely to have an accident, and does less damage to the road than you.  When a cyclist is involved in an accident, two times out of every three, the cyclist has no responsibility for causing the accident.

The only thing you're paying for is those accidents on the road that involve motor vehicles and bicycles.  Everything else is funded by rates and taxes, not fuel levies.

Maybe you're right, maybe the police should start taking complaints against cyclists more seriously.  But then again, maybe they should start taking complaints about slow drivers, vehicles not pullling over to the left to turn left, turning without indicating, speeding, stopping on a pedestrian crossing, and using the right hand lane when the left hand lane is clear more seriously as well.

Lycra wearers

Most motorists don't have a problem with the individual cyclist biking to or from work, it's more the complete disregard for other road users by the large groups of middle aged, overweight, lycra wearing road vermin that chug along chatting and admiring each others flash new bike and protruding stomachs, while usually four, five or six abreast. Travelling at the open road speed limit here of 110km/h on a windy peice of road I have suddenly rounded a bend and been greated with this bunch travelling at 30-40 km/h. 


Fair contribution

Hi SpeedFreak. I also pay ACC levies for multiple vehicles - I just choose to commute by bike. Can I still share your road, or are you a "special case"?

I can't believe this level of hatred

I can't believe this level of hatred against cyclists. Did you ride a bike when you were a child? Did you ride it on the road to school? Do you have children of your own? How would you feel knowing that there are motorists driving our streets that are so angry and threatening?

Thank goodness I'm lucky enough to be riding home via the west harbourside shared path this evening, well separated from smelly noisy vehicles and their aggro. Angry motorists would benefit greatly from a bit of fresh air and exercise alongside our beautiful harbour.  Seriously, chill out. No one has a greater right to use the road than anyone else.

And speedfreak, if you don't like paying disproportinately for regos and vehicle taxes, sell some cars or don't drive them. Better yet, lobby to change the system to something fairer. Cyclists aren't responsible for an unfair tax system. [Abridged]


That's right, I didn't

Trippy: Until cyclists pay an equal amount to use the road as all other road users have to, my vehicle shall command right of way. End of story.  My opinion will only change if the government decides to allow me to pay one lot of ACC instead of six lots. (That's in excess of $1200 per annum) Why should I be subjected to this obscene amount of ACC when you freeloaders pay zip? Pay like the rest of us or get on the footpath.

Stopping in the length of clear lane visible

Lily213: I'm alarmed to hear that you were forced onto the wrong side of the road entering a blind corner. Did you have time to apply the brakes?

The NZTA Road Code might help: "You can drive at any speed under or equal to the limit, provided:

  • you can stop in half the length of clear road you can see in front
    of you on a road with no centre line or lanes (for example, a narrow
    country road where vehicles may meet head-on)
  • you can stop in the length of clear lane you can see in front of you on a road with a centre line or lanes."

Without knowing the full details, the above may well apply to the truck forced off bridge incident also.

Rather than apply blanket generalisations to "cyclists" or "motorists" it may be better to think of them as Mums or Dads, colleagues or daughters who happen to be on a bike (or in a car) at the time. Cheers and get home safe!

Share the road

All these comments on both sides are missing the bigger picture. We have to share the road because neither cars тor cyclists are going anywhere anytime soon.

Drivers need to accept that a minority of cyclists are dangerous idiots - such as the ones that ride six abreast - and cyclists need to accept that a minority of drivers are also dangerous and have aggressive tendancies. It's all about defensive driving or riding - expect the unexpected and drive/ride accordingly and don't let the actions of a few riders/drivers taint your view of the overall group, especially as most people responsibly do both riding and driving anyway! Aggression is dangerous on the road and comments like those on both sides of this debate just worsen the bad attitudes.

Apart from the obvious loser when cyclists are killed, there are other people who lose out too. 

Of course cyclists pay...

...the same as those who neither drive nor cycle, and those who are bedridden.  Their repeated assertions that they pay for the use of roads is therefore true, but a little misleading if they think it is a fair comparison with the specific road use charges that motorists pay on top of their IRD and GST taxes and council rates.

'Learning curve'

Apparently Speedfreak43 didn't take onboard points that were made to him the last time he tried to argue that "We are not stupid, Glenn, Cyclists pay nothing and expect everything."

He's already had the facts of the matter pointed out to him. See here for an example. 

Cyclists do pay

Further to NWP’s excellent post, see also  this link  for a rebuttal of the old "cyclists don't pay" claim.
An interesting idea in the article is the imposition of a $20 surcharge on new bikes to fund infrastructure (as opposed to RUC or rego tax).
I also see plenty of poor etiquette, both from people on bikes and in motor vehicles, but don’t believe this justifies declaring “open season” on all of them (us)

What you're forgetting is the ACC levy

@nwp:  Every road user has to pay an ACC levy for every vehicle they use on the road. While cyclists may already pay one levy, (if they also own a car) all other users have to pay per vehicle. I own 4 cars and two motorcycles and therefore pay an ACC levy of over $200 per vehicle. I don't get away with only paying once even though i can only use one at a time.

Stump up like every other road user or get back on the footpath where you belong. The road users are sick of looking out for your welfare. Time has come for the responsibility to be put on the cyclists to look out for pedestrians, unless of course you intend to pay to use the road like all other users do.

Not stupid?

Oh, the irony.

Cyclists pay tax just like drivers. And cyclists pay local authority rates just like drivers. Both of which contribute to the cost of road building and maintenance.

One of the goals when Road User Charges were introduced was "Ensuring that each type of vehicle is taxed according to the costs it imposes on the roading system, thus making the user-pays principle more evident in the financing of road construction and road maintenance."

So the intent is that vehicle ownership and use is taxed roughly proportionately to the cost of repairing the damage their use does to roads. How long do you think it would take a bike to wear out a sealed road, compared to a car? How much less would the cost of building a road be if it only had to be big enough and solid enough for bikes to travel on it?

Given the contribution that cyclists are making via tax and rates, and how little damage they do, they're probably being overcharged.

Fuel duty, vehicle registration etc. are a contribution to road costs, not the full monty.

See this link for a bit more information. Might help you reduce your blind spot...

Common sentiment

Whilst I want everyone to be safe, I am also often very angry with cyclists. They regularly ride several people abreast even though this is illegal - we were once forced to cross the centreline on a State Highway coming into a blind corner because some cyclists refused to move into single file.
I know of another time a truck had to actually drive off the side of a one-lane bridge because of oncoming cyclists. I regularly see cyclists running red lights. One occurance that particularly annoyed me was one of my university lecturers bragging about getting up to 70kph on his bike going down a busy innercity hill road (with a 50kph limit). He was one of the most arrogant cyclists ever. In all these cases, if a cyclist had been injured or killed in an incident with a car, the car would have been instantly blamed.

A lot of cars and trucks put cyclists in danger, and this is one reason I don't cycle - I am too scared - but cyclists also put themselves in danger on a daily basis, then spend all their time whingeing about cars. I am sick of it and nearly everyone I know is too!

Weasels in lycra

What an excellent descriptive statement. Just about fell of my chair when I read that. Lol. I'm with David Ware and Te Jackle on this one.  

And to Glenn Te Raki, Please explain  to me just how Bike riders pay their road taxes. We are not stupid, Glenn, Cyclists pay nothing and expect everything. What they sometimes get is not what they expect though. Couldn't see it coming as their attitude got in the way perhaps

Breaker<>Big Dave

The company supplies MR for Big Rigs. Long distance drivers are responsible road users. Is Mr Ware?

And while we're at it...

Compulsory hi-vis is a stupid idea, for what it's worth. Car drivers need to be trained to expect and look for hazards that aren't easy to see, not given excuses for hitting anything that isn't wearing hi-vis.

A presumption of liability for drivers who hit cyclists would be a far better starting point. 

Oh, someone else who thinks they own the road...

If it's safe to pass a single cyclist, it'll usually also be safe to pass however many cyclists as can fit in a single lane. Hint: don't pass a cyclist when there's oncoming traffic, it's dangerous.

As for becoming pedestrians at will, well get over it - there's nothing wrong with that. Contrary to what appear to be your expectations, there's no rule against cyclists getting though jams of traffic faster than those in cars. If it winds you up, ask yourself why - and if you're that desperate to gain a few seconds, get on a bike yourself.

Drivers don't own the roads any more than cyclists do. The reason cyclists get abusive is because there are so many arrogant idiots in cars out there who think, and act like, they have more right to be on the road than cyclists, and are willing to risk killing them to try to knock a few seconds of their journey.

Being "challenged" by someone like that does tend to wind you up a bit, surprisingly enough. 

Challenged cyclists?

Te Jackle: It is not your place to 'challenge' cyclists or any other road user (ask the police for clarification). Anyone who is 'challenged' by a private citizen with no authority other than that they have constructed in their own head is not going to respond positively ... in any situation. What did you expect?

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