Call for cycleway in Canterbury town after riders hit by vehicles

A Lincoln University student is backing calls for a cycleway to be given urgency on the township's busy Gerald St.

Ye Yuan was lucky to escape serious injuries when she was knocked off her bike by a motorist who failed to stop for her as he was turning right into Challenge Lincoln.

Now Lincoln University ecologist Mike Bowie has suffered the same fate as he biked to work.

He was left with a cracked helmet and suspected broken rib.

Lincoln University ecologist Mike Bowie. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Lincoln University ecologist Mike Bowie. Photo: Geoff Sloan
But work on a dedicated cycleway won't start until the 2027/28 financial year, which Bowie and Yuan say is "totally absurd".

Bowie was knocked off his bike on his way to work at Lincoln University on July 19.

He is now calling on Selwyn District Council to reprioritise its time line for a planned cycleway along Gerald St.

The cycleway won’t start until the 2027-28 financial year after the district council decided to make roading projects in Rolleston more urgent.

Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency crash data shows since the early 2000s, there has been one serious injury and 10 minor injury crashes involving bicycles on Gerald St.

"It is totally absurd that it should take so long to adopt this cycleway that is badly needed," Bowie said.

"I challenge the councillors to bike down to the university from the township in peak time and see how many close calls they have over a week.

"I am very disappointed the council has decided to prioritise Rolleston yet again, particularly when the need for this cycle lane was identified so long ago.”

Ye Yuan.
Ye Yuan.
His crash followed Yuan being knocked off her bike in the same area of Gerald St in 2019, sustaining injuries which forced her to put her studies on hold.

She is backing Bowie’s calls for the cycleway project to be brought forward.

Bowie was wearing hi-vis but the driver did not see him as they came out of Vernon Drive. The impact took the bike out from underneath him.

“I can recall my head hitting the ground,” he said.

Yuan was struck by a ute turning right into Challenge Lincoln as she cycled to university.

She hit the bonnet of the car and fell hard onto the ground.

She sustained a knee sprain, knee ligament injury, haematoma of the lower limb, abrasion of the abdominal wall and open wound of the tongue.

Yuan has not cycled since, believing it is too dangerous.

She obtained CCTV footage of the crash from Challenge Lincoln and reported the incident to police at Lincoln.

CCTV footage from Challenge Lincoln shows the driver of the vehicle that hit Ye Yuan rushing to...
CCTV footage from Challenge Lincoln shows the driver of the vehicle that hit Ye Yuan rushing to her aide. Image: Supplied
A police spokesperson said the driver pleaded guilty to careless driving causing injury.

He was convicted and sentenced to six months disqualification from driving, and ordered to pay a fine of $400, and reparation to Yuan of $440.

However, Yuan said she had not received the reparation.

Yuan said she had to abandon her studies for six months following the accident.

"I was riding on the same route for six years before my accident. There are many times that I was nearly hit by cars,” Yuan said.

"I think it is necessary for the council to take action to stop people being killed on the same route.”

Bowie said he is among many cyclists who daily "run the gauntlet" of Gerald St.

"I was lucky on this occasion, but I fear someone will die with increasing traffic and congestion in Lincoln,” Bowie said.

"Not a week goes by without at least one incident or close call,” he said.

District council group manager infrastructure Murray Washington said the Gerald St upgrade, which includes dedicated cycle lanes from the township to the university, would begin in 2027/28.

This upgrade is part of the Lincoln Town Centre plan to begin 2025/26. The plan was adopted by the district council in 2016.

Washington said funding for the town centre plan was signalled in the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan.

However, for the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan, the district council agreed to prioritise major roading projects in the Rolleston town centre.