Dunedin riders sick of anti-cyclist vitriol

Critical Mass Dunedin participants Kitty Cresswell Riol and Geoff Wigley ride on Dundas St. PHOTO...
Critical Mass Dunedin participants Kitty Cresswell Riol and Geoff Wigley ride on Dundas St. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Dunedin cycling advocates are calling for mutual respect between drivers and cyclists after a torrent of abuse was directed at local riders on social media.

The comments, from Critical Mass Dunedin participants, came after a video was screened showing a group riding on Portobello Rd on the road, not the adjacent cycleway, spurring hundreds of comments on a local social media page, many castigating cyclists as a whole.

Critical Mass is an international movement started in San Francisco to "reclaim public space and increase the visibility of cyclists''.

Organiser Kitty Cresswell Riol said she was recently riding south on Cumberland St near the University of Otago when she was accosted by a "really threatening'' driver as she moved between the left- and right-hand sides of the separated cycleway.

The driver had apparently failed to understand cyclists had to cross the highway at this point to transfer between cycleway sections, she said.

"He was shouting at me, saying `we paid for the cycleways, why aren't you using the cycleways'?''

Ms Cresswell Riol said while many drivers were considerate, anti-cyclist sentiment could be vitriolic and threatening, especially on social media.

"We're slower than cars, but we're allowed to be on the road.''

The University of Otago PHD student said Dunedin's one-way cycleways were far from ideal, citing the small window afforded to cyclists by traffic-light phasing to cross intersections and their "disjointed'' nature.

"Good infrastructure should allow cyclists to get from A to B, and this isn't enabling cyclists to do that.''

Ms Cresswell Riol also suggested Dunedin should follow Auckland's lead, where the council's transport agency will soon begin consultation on lowering the speed limit from 50kmh to 30kmh in central city roads.

Another Critical Mass Dunedin participant, structural engineer Geoff Wigley, called for mutual respect on the roads.

"Have more patience ... even if you see a group of cyclists doing something wrong it doesn't mean they should be put in physical danger, or even subject to verbal abuse.''

NZ Transport Agency senior project manager Simon Underwood said the agency was completing "post-construction audits'' on the one-way system's separated cycle lanes to identify any issues.

george.block@odt.co.nz


 

Comments

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The mantra according to cyclists is that it's always motorists who need to "have more patience", never that cyclists should show more consideration.

No, you read that wrong. The mantra is actually "motorists cause more patients". And Amen to that brother. You can read about it in the paper. Every single day.

Pay for the cycleways then complain, but before you do learn the rules. The photo defines the sense of entitlement, riding down the middle of the road and breaking the law (no helmet). They wonder why they get no respect?

Don't lump everyone in the same basket. SOME of us do stop at stop signs, ride as far left as possible, wear helmets and generally ride the way we're supposed to. We also drive cars...

I agree with the fact the cycleway is far from ideal.
For a start what sort of idiot decides to put a dedicated cycle pathway on the heavy traffic bypass through town? Then they make the cyclists cross the state highway rather than just staying on the same side of the road.
It almost seems like they are trying to make travelling to town more difficult for _everyone_ to make more people take buses.
They speed limited the main street to make it safer for people, why not direct cyclists to use the main street as well?

yep even though NZTA paid for some of the cycle lanes it just goes to show the idiots running Dunedin, they have no clues as well, DCC should have been the designers and sign off of the final draft of these cycle lanes, or were they? It looks like the company creating them doesn't have internal comms or the company just wants them finished for the most amount of profit.

I had the terrible misfortune of having to travel from Mornington to Pine Hill one wet evening recently. The way the lanes have been changed has resulted in drivers having no idea in the dark where the lanes actually are.
To make matters worse, when heading south and you get to the S bend just past the University of Otago, the cats eyes are actually in the middle of the right hand lane currently.
I have no problem with sharing the road, as long as those who might impede others will stay out of the way of those capable of doing the speed limit. I have to do it when towing a trailer, camper vans (road maggots) are supposed to do it as well.
Why are cyclists not being fined for impeding the flow of traffic as well?

It all starts with the Mayor he thought it was a great idea to put the cycle lanes on the one ways aka SH1 and destroy dozens of car parks and make it harder for older people to get to the hospital, but hey who cares about them as long as half a dozen cyclists a day are catered for.

On the other side of the coin, a few days ago as I was driving along Malvern St, a cyclist suddenly turned across the road right in front of me and I had to screech to a halt. How I didn't hit him is a miracle. He then shouted abuse at me! No apology to speak of. It was a shocking incident and adds to others I have witnessed of cyclists running red lights, and nearly bowling me over on footpaths and walking tracks. I have no wish to abuse cyclists but the level of resentment is rising in light of these type of incidents and the ridiculous, expensive and impractical cycleways imposed on the one-way systems that have ruined the traffic flow and light phasing and removed countless parking spaces. People are angry for a reason.

Traffic lights slow the flow of cyclists. Maybe thats why so many of them just ignore red lights.

I hope you're not advocating that, if so, I better drive through reds to keep traffic flowing

And riding side by side--making it much harder for cars to pass, and wearing no helmet. She would have got a ticket here in Canada.

Canada decided against ticketing cyclists overseas years ago. They looked at the helmetless mayhem in Europe are were like.... nah, too hard, plus what exactly would that achieve anyway. Canadian pragmatism I s'ppose.

I'm constantly disgusted, disappointed and annoyed at the amount of anti-cyclist/cycleway posts on social media, to the point where i've all but left Facebook etc to try avoid seeing such constant negativity (that and all the anti Dunedin posts, and general e-abuse hurled at everyone with an opinion).

I got stuck behind a car about 28 times today. I can't even remember the last time I was held up by a cyclist. Reading the comments above, I'm clearly living in some sort of "parallel Dunedin".

This debate usually assumes that cyclists and motorists are two separate groups of people, when usually they are not. Cyclists own cars and vise-versa. As you are dealing with the same group of people it only seems to apply the same rules of behaviour consistently to that single group regardless of context. These rules include registration for bikes, driver licenses with a minimum age for road use and a test to demonstrate competence, and once the license has been acquired a requirement to obey the road rules that they should then know. This includes not going the wrong way up a lane or road, not running red lights, looking when turning left at a junction, not crossing pedestrian crossings when people are on them, not driving three abreast on the road or in any way on the pavement - and, above all, not barking or swearing at pedestrians (on or off the pavement), which people seem very much more prone to do when they are cycling than when they are driving a car.

Try waiting to get onto Portsmouth Drive from Midland or Orari streets and sit there going nowhere waiting for the wee green cycle sign to turn red and not a cycle to be seen.
And now lets look at making the speed limit 30 K ...What a great idea NOT.
And the barns dance crossings on the main street now has the effect of backing traffic up right down to Anzac Ave at afternoon peak times.
Muppet's running the town dont seem to care.

The waste of money cycle ways on SH 1 one ways should be ripped up and put in safe streets instead of the blatant insanity we now have,I would also like to know who will be held responsible if a Kenworth truck or even a car goes over one of those idiotic concrete blocks and kills a cyclist.

If you want to whinge about what you deem to be anti-cyclist , at least have the brains to wear a helmet for your photo op.
I hope the police follow this up with the obligatory ticket for the above offence

Should the Cyclists both be wearing helments

You all fail! Hippie girl isn't even wearing a helmet as required by new Zealand law. They are also causing a cluster headache for any on coming traffic who pay: ACC levies, insurance, warrants of fitness, road user charges, petrol tax, registration, etc, in order to use the road. Too right motorists own the road. Cyclists are nothing but crash causing fodder with no brains who DO NOT BELONG on roads

Nailed it

Thanks for providing such great illustration of the problem the people in the article are talking about.

"In order to use the road", eh? Wrong. You pay these because you operate a type of appliance that kills hundreds of people per year (in NZ alone), wears the road surface hundreds or thousands of times faster than a pedestrian or bicycle, takes up several m² of public space even when not in use, burns petrol/diesel in order to move, and is a nuisance to people who aren't even using the road at the same time (by noise and air pollution). I suggest what you are actually paying in order to fund your car habit is nowhere near enough.

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