Lights putting spoke in wheels

Break the law or wait while traffic flows right past you — that is the choice many cyclists face when using the new one-way cycle lanes.

Cyclists are now forced to wait through two phases of traffic lights at various intersections on the state highways if they miss a small window of opportunity.

At at least five intersections along the path, recently installed lights give cyclists the right of way for about 10 seconds before turning motorists are given the right of way. It means cyclists who miss the green light have to sit through almost two entire light phases before they can ride through the intersection.

Rather than waiting, some cyclists choose to ignore the red light and cycle through when there are no turning vehicles.

Spokes Dunedin chairman Jon Deans said the phasing was ridiculous and  not useful for cyclists, particularly those who used the route for commuting.

"We are well aware of the problem — it’s one of those things which gets brought up every single day," Mr Deans said.

Cyclists using the new one-way cycle paths are sometimes having to  wait for almost two full...
Cyclists using the new one-way cycle paths are sometimes having to wait for almost two full light phases at some intersections, leading some to break the law. Photo: Gregor Richardson
As the lights frustrated both cyclists and motorists it was something the NZ Transport Agency needed to look at, he said.

It seemed some of the phasing was not fully operational yet, which might be the cause, but large parts of the southbound lane were.

"It’s basically completed except for some work around Queens Gardens, so you would think the phasing would be in sync also."

Mr Deans said he understood what the NZTA was trying to achieve but it was a major issue at the moment.

Legally, cyclists could just move on to the road to avoid the lights but that defeated the purpose of the cycle lanes, he said.

"It’s not just about the signalling; it’s more about under what circumstances you go through the lights."

An NZTA spokeswoman said the phasing of lights was something which would require more adjustments as the cycle lanes were completed and all the traffic signals were integrated.

tim.miller@odt.co.nz

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