Go by bike breakfast was a blast! The low point was the ignorant petrol-head speech from John Banks.
- He banged on for ages about safety and how we should all be sure to wear plenty of high visibility gear so we don’t get “maimed or dead” ....
- He also delivered the news that Auckland City Council will ‘generously’ give $455,000 to fund road safety improvements for cyclist along Tamaki Drive so that we will be safer and won’t get injured. According to AKT, “$330,000 of the funding will be used to widen lane widths along 2.3 kilometres of Tamaki Drive” ...
- He then went on about how we shouldn’t run red lights and how there was going to be a campaign to stop this dangerous behaviour – for our own sakes you understand – so we don’t get maimed or killed!
So you’re cycling along, minding your own business, and a car drives into you – this is your fault because you weren’t dressed like a road cone?!
Why is all the focus on everything but the actual problem – it’s the CARS that are dangerous! The responsibility for being safe should rest with the cars. I know it’s a bit ‘out there’ in New Zealand ... but maybe they could go slower, be driven carefully, and be banned from certain areas of the city.
Mikael from Copenhagenize likens this to a bull in a china shop:
“So someone let a bull into society's china shop. We all realise that and it doesn't look like the bull is going anywhere. All the fragile fine china on the shelves is getting knocked about and smashed on a regular basis. [An estimated 1.2 million people are killed in motor vehicle accidents every year around the world].
It seems quite ridiculous that nobody is talking about the bull. Instead there is constant talk of wrapping up all the pieces of porcelain in thin bubble wrap and tsk-tsking about how dangerous it is to even CONSIDER placing fine china on the shelves of a china shop now that there's a bull stampeding about.
Meanwhile the bull just shit on the floor in aisle 9 and tipped another shelf over. Crash bang boom.”
David from A view from the cycle path explains that:
"motor vehicles have killed more people in the last hundred years than wars have. Yes, motor vehicles have been far more lethal than such things as nuclear weapons, machine guns and napalm. In fact, you can add up all of the damage done by those things, and all the results of terrorism right across the world, and still come up short of the death toll due to motor vehicles."
That's quite a bull that is being ignored!
Is it just me but this sounds like they are improving the road for the cars? (and pretending that it is for cyclists) – Wider roads means that the cars will go faster – where is the bit about creating segregated bicycle lanes to really improve cyclist safety.
This amount of money is pitiful, and yet we’re supposed to fall at their feet in gratitude? For what?
In the majority of accidents, it is the car driver that is at fault – why isn’t there going to be a campaign about drivers looking out for cyclists? Pedestrians cross the road on red lights all the time – but no campaign about that! Many junctions have sensors for cars but don’t register that a cyclist is waiting – no commitment to change the sensitivity of these sensors! Often cyclists check to make sure the way is clear and then go through the red light to get ahead of the traffic so that they don’t get squashed by a bus – in many cycle-friendly cities they formalise this situation by installing bicycle priority lights at junctions – no sign of those I suppose? No thought not!
Mark over at I Bike London makes the point that pedestrians also don’t look out for cyclists in car-centric cities “they assume that their passage is safe because they don’t hear the approach of an engine… How many ‘I was nearly hit by a cyclist!’ stories have you heard in comparison to ‘I stepped into the path of an oncoming cyclist without looking’?”
So it’s in print, this truly amazing transport ‘achievement’, otherwise known as a major stuff up! Doesn’t it make you feel proud to live in this clean green country of ours – NOT! And it was very evident from John Bank’s speech that things won’t change under his leadership, no matter how many last minute vote-enhancing u-turn promises he makes to solving our transport problems.
John Banks is a dinosaur from the 70’s. When I arrived in New Zealand, I was told fondly that NZ is about 10 years behind the rest of the world ... but surely 40 years is going a bit far! That’s embarrassingly out of date! When many other major cities around the world are investing in cycling infrastructure and strongly encouraging people to get on their bicycles for transport, there appears to be not the merest glimmer of consciousness of this in Auckland.