Courtesy of the NZTA comms team we have this fine photograph from the opening of Te Ara I Whiti or LightPath. I guess it’s calling out for a caption or two.

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Had a good discussion with the ministers en velo, no imminent big news; things are winding down for the year; but next year will be a biggy…!

Kudos to Nikki for riding in proper heels. Is the first time I have ever worn hi-vis on a bike, won’t happen again except with this shirt.

Very good speeches from Ernst Zollner of NZTA, Minister Bridges [pictured above], Councillor Chris Darby [also above] and Bike Auckland’s Barbara Cuthbert. A lot of love for Cycling, Auckland, and huge growth and change underway here.

It is impressive that not so long this looked like this: http://greaterakl.wpengine.com/2014/05/19/photo-of-the-day-concrete-journey/

So truly great work by all involved, especially NZTA and the contractor Hawkins.

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61 comments

    1. NZTA says “It is compulsory for all cyclists on New Zealand roads to wear cycle helmets” [unless you have an exemption on medical or religious grounds]

      However, is this legally “a road”? When its an off-road shared-cycle path only?

      If not then the above law does not apply.

      1. …ok, I’ll make a deal, the day all drivers stop texting and yabbering on their phones I’ll wear a plastic hat religiously… ok?

        Till then, I think y’all can cope with the idea that many a law, some silly, some sensible, are observed just as often in the breach as not.

        1. Which brings up a point I have been mulling over recently.

          Cycling seems to be making a comeback in the “middle” suburbs, out my way that would mean Glen Eden, Avondale, Mt Roskill. While predominantly “yoof” there are plenty of “wrinklies” as well. And what they all have in common, apart from a lack of lycra, is that none of them wear helmets.

          I suspect that the compulsory helmet law will just fade away as the law of the land never seems to win against the law of the street.

      2. > However, is this legally “a road”? When its an off-road shared-cycle path only?

        Legally, a road is “a place to which the public have access, whether as of right or not”. I would argue that, since only invited VIPs were allowed on the bridge at that stage, it was not legally a “road” and thus Patrick didn’t have to wear a helmet.

        It is definitely a road *now*, though, since it’s been opened and the public can use it.

        1. So by that definition all of Britomart Transport Centre is a road, because “the public can easily access it”?

          Yeah, Nah.

      3. There is the old urban legend about a motorcyclist “wearing” a helmet other than on the head:

        Back in he early 1960’s, I had heard a story about a motorcyclist who didn’t agree with the newly enacted helmet law, and strapped his helmet to his knee while riding. The motor cyclist was given a ticket, and went to fight it in court. His defence was that the the law stated that all motorcyclists must wear a helmet, but failed the specify that it must be worn on the head. The cyclist lost his case, and paid his fine. While driving away from the courthouse, the cyclist was involved in an accident, which resulted in an injury to the knee that he had previously strapped his helmet to.

        See:
        http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=19217

    1. My psychological antenna tell me that people who spend too much time hanging about TransportBlog making persistently negative comments, such as TRM, would seem to be prime candidates for a mid-life crisis.

  1. Every meeting with the Minister under any circumstances is a forward “pedal”. The last Minister didn’t want to speak to any one at all, if he thought there may be a whiff of discussion of public transit or cycling, so am pleased to see you ‘on yer bike’, Patrick!

  2. So… whats it like? Is it as closed in as we thought it might be. Lots of people on it this evening I saw as I went past.

    1. Nah, it’s great, I was wrong about that. Had I been allowed on it earlier that would have been plain, and I’d have retracted.

      It is truly glorious and properly subversive: The big highway machine has hacked itself! Which is so meta, so 21stC.

      It will be interesting to see it from the majority view, ie from a moving vehicle, to see if it really does put a dent in the matrix, however small- I’ll have to go for a drive!

      1. I didn’t find it ‘closed in’ as such, and if there was nothing but the existing Armco i think it would be pretty terrifying for most people.

        But i did think it was a shame the walls were so tall as it ruined the great view you would otherwise have. I found the plastic walls reflecting lots of light, and so you couldn’t really see through them unless you we’re turning your head to the side to look through at 90 degree angles. Probably varies allot depending on time of day and angle of sun etc.

      2. I guess I was expecting to see it, but even still it is certainly a sight from the motorway. The humans mainly but also the lights. In fact I was slightly surprised NZTA let them put all those lights up (not that it bothers me, quite the opposite).

  3. “We were meant to build the Bifrost, but we ran out of money due to the OSH barriers, so we are using this pinkscreen to photoshop it in at a later date.”

  4. this looks fabulous. Well done Auckland, I’m proud of you.

    And by this I mean all of Auckland: NZTA, AT/AC, civic society (i.e. the likes of Bike Auckland, and TransportBlog), and the people they represen

  5. To brazenly disregard a rule is to flout, not flaunt. Flaunting is to show something off in a needlessly obvious way, similar to “to rub one’s nose in it”.

    If Patrick was waving a copy of the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 around, that would be flaunting the law. Or if he were commenting on blog posts about other people not wearing helmets, that would also be flaunting the law.

    (I, obviously, am flaunting my knowledge of the English language).

    1. And judging by social media, those flouting the law made up about 30% of those attending.

      But Phil has a point, especially as he has never broke any road rule. Otherwise he would be a hypocrite.

  6. Do you think we could find an MP who was willing to put a private member’s bill in the ballot that would say change the helmet law to applying only to those under 18?

  7. Helmets save lives. The argument that helmet law somehow costs lives through inactivity is a strawman argument. Most people that ride to work on bikes never elevate their heart rate to a level where their body derives benefit. If you are not sweating you are not doing a cardio workout. Also who is to say that people that gave up cycling over their One Direction hair cut did not take up walking or jogging?
    Unless you think your head is worthless, wear a lid.

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejm198905253202101

    1. So you wear a helmet when in cars, or when walking? Many more head injuries sustained by car users, pedestrians crumple very efficiently too when flattened by texting, incompetent, or angry drivers. Not sharing the same space with inadequately controlled overpowered lumps of metal is what saves lives, not little plastic hats.

      1. Did you miss the recent post on guidelines on how to use this Forum Patrick? In particular the explanation of Straw man arguments

        1. Cute Punchdrunk, but you’re as mistaken about rhetoric as you are about mandatory plastic hat laws. The device I employed there, and extended by Max, is called reductio ad absurdum, not straw man. You see all situations in life will be safer with more armour; walking, driving, and yes even showering, the question becomes at what cost. Stoopid plastic hat laws are victim blaming and a way to avoid actually addressing the problem of the unsafe environment. They are a cop-out and counter productive for society as a whole.

          BTW, not that this is relevant, I usually do wear a helmet when riding, and mostly will too once the dumb law is fixed, but clearly on a path separate from the killing machines there is no need. The state should buttout of clothing choice for grownups.

    2. It would be interesting to read that whole article, as the conclusion is somewhat at odds with most studies, which show very little evidence that helmets reduce the risk of serious brain injury, although they do clearly protect against minor head injuries such as cuts and bruises.

      They certainly state the results are statistically significant, but it doesn’t stack up for me. The numbers of people in the study are far too small. 7% of the 235 patients with head injuries wore helmets, i.e. 16 people. Of the 99 with brain injuries, 4% wore helmets, i.e. 4 people. Tiny numbers.

    3. Your comments on the value of cycling sans sweating – got a reference for that? Does that mean that in cold climates you have to exert more energy / generate more power to get the same benefit? That seems counterintuitive? I regularly ride my bike without sweating, it certainly feels good – I am surprised there is no benefit.

      1. The medical rule of thumb is 220 minus your age is your theoretical max heart rate. If you want to be an All Black you need to train at about 110% of that. If you want to get any fitness benefit you need to be 80%.
        If we assume the average age of posters on this forum to be 35 that means you would need to be cycling at a rate to maintain a heart rate of 148bpm, and for minimum 20 minutes (I stress minimum) 3 times a week. At that rate you will be sweating, even in Finland, in January. Wear a heart rate monitor next time you cycle to work and see what you record. Strava can do that for you.
        As only 3% of Aucklanders cycle to work more than twice a week, it is a gross exaggeration to claim cycling is doing anything to reduce NZ’s heart disease problem. We would all be better off eating 100 calories less a day or just standing up when blogging on the internet.
        If you do not believe me, just as your doctor or a gym instructor.

        1. The idea that there is no benefit to exercise unless you are sweating is quite contrary to Ministry of Health guidelines that state we should aim for “at least 2½ hours of moderate or 1¼ hours of vigorous physical activity spread throughout the week”

          Which can be “achieved by doing at least 30 minutes of moderate or 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity on five days each week or an equivalent combination of both”

          Sounds like light, non-sweaty cycling, 15 mins each way to work would be perfect for meeting these guidelines, and the public who have swapped cycling for driving because of the helmet law will be missing out on these health benefits for which the ministry state there is “convincing evidence for the recommendation to do at least 2½ hours of moderate or 1¼ hours of vigorous physical activity each week”.

          • Moderate-intensity activities (3–5.9 METs)
          make breathing harder than normal but
          a person should still be able to talk while
          doing them. Examples are brisk walking on
          flat ground, cycling (< 16 km/h), playing with
          children, dancing and kapa haka.

          http://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/publications/eating-activity-guidelines-for-new-zealand-adults-oct15_0.pdf

          Allot more than 3% of aucklanders cycled before the mandatory helmet law was introduced.

        2. Punchthedrunkape, 150bpm/ 80% of max is quite intense. I have never heard this before. It certainly isnt consistent with all the marathon training advice I have read over the years – I guess LSD training is bunkum?

          1. PDA and others, the world has moved on from 220-yr age*85% as the aerobic training zone. Google Dr Phil Maffetone and try his method for a while. Yes you will require a heart rate monitor to enable you to focus on keeping your heart rate down. Commuting is ideal ‘training’ under this regime. And it works! Enjoy

  8. I would really like to ride with a more upright stance, notice how those in the front are all leaning forward. It makes it harder for me to look over my shoulder and the handle bars from my old 28″ bike won’t fit the head of the new geared one I’ve been riding for the last 10 years. For a while I had the bars off an old lo-line 20 and they were good but got buckled when I was knocked off so if anyone has something like that which is only good for their scrap collection I would make good use of them.

  9. People, the rude sniping doesn’t add anything to this blog. There are plenty of other places on the internet for people to be rude to each other, but none of them are improved by it. Be nice, be constructive.

    My vote is with ‘Sailor Boy’ above. It got a laugh out of me.

  10. Has anyone else seen mike Hosking just trash the path twice in the last 12 hours?? He’s already ranting the waste of money and ‘where are the cyclists’ whinge. Can I ask that all of you who took lovely pictures of you and the 100s of others at the official opening, and the hoon to please send him your pics on Twitter and Facebook? This is why we got them for!

  11. Hey, mike Hosking has already trash talked the path twice in the last 12 hours. He predictably says it’s a waste of money, and he’s been looking but no one is using it. He’s even made a special picture of him on the path saying ‘where is everyone’. anyway the point is, this is why we had the hoon, so when someone says this we can fill Twitter and fb with images saying ‘here we are’. I wonder if he is actually pro cycling?! Surely he’s asking for this, it’s like quaxing.

  12. I was trying to figure out who was the Minister here in the picture – thought it as the guy in the suit at first, but then realised it must be the young man in the T-shirt. To me, that is the best thing about this pic – not a bunch of old fats in suits who never cycle, just posing on bikes and pretending they ride, but believable cyclists – and Bridges looking completely at home: at home on a bike, and at home (not) in a suit.

    The whole helmet thing is a red herring – I’m always amazed how excited people get over it. The true point here is that you don’t need a helmet if you’re not sharing the road with cars. This is a cycleway. No cars allowed. No helmet needed. End of story.

    1. A few weeks ago a cyclist about 10 meters ahead of my car just fell off. Something must have hit the wheel but he went straight up into the air and fell and skidded all over the road. Fortunately nothing was coming the other way. Lucky too he was wearing his helmet because he hit his head hard as he landed. We stopped to help him but he was badly shaken and his front wheel was buckled. Took him about ten minutes to recover. The point is even cycling alone it is a good idea to wear a helmet.

      1. It may or may not be a good idea, we can agree to disagree on that, but the point is, it shouldn’t be mandated by law, it should be up to everyone to choose whether to wear one depending on the situation. Pootling along at low speed on a off road shared path … clearly not needed.

  13. I think this project is awesome and kudos to whoever was involved. A great flagship project that will hopefully spur speedier change.

    However, whose bright ideas was it to COAT THE SURFACE OF THE WHOLE DAMN THING WITH THE EQUIVALENT OF 20-GRIT SANDPAPER!?

    1. Well the people to thank for the pink and the lighting and the artworks are the Council, who tipped in 2m of targeted rate for the prettinesses, and the Design Office who worked with people like Henry Crothers of LandLAB and the architects Monk MacKenzie who with engineers Novare designed the sinuous bridge and pushed for the artwork and colour…

      I have no idea what you plan to do on the surface but I don’t have any problem riding or walking on it…I thought the level of grip was good, and will probably be extra handy in the wet?…. perhaps try not to rub yourself along it?

      1. I’d be concerned if you thought you needed more grip! Time will tell but if it’s as rough on tyres as it feels to the touch then I reckon we’re going to see frequent users/commuters ripping through tyres like there’s no tomorrow. Coating roading/cycling/walking surfaces with sandpaper-like grip is very much overkill. Also, while I don’t plan to fall off I’m sure it’ll hurt more than usual.

  14. Based on the information disseminated by NZTA, you might be forgiven for thinking that the acclaimed Canada Street Bridge had been entirely conceived, designed and built by themselves. No credit was given to the designer Novare Design, architect Monk Mackenzie and steel fabricator PFS Engineering in the opening speeches. Neither was there any mention of consultants GHD for the design of the cycle way on the Nelson Street off-ramp. In addition, the Minister of Transport in his speech attributed the design of the bridge to the wrong consultancy and the wrong steel fabricator.
    A very poor show indeed NZTA!

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