There are some glimmers of light coming from Auckland Transport, even on the extremely frustrating topic of delivering the cycleway network the city needs (one of their most hobbled programmes in recent years). One of the more hopeful signs is a project announced last year to quickly add physical protection to 60km of existing painted cycleways across the region.
60km of cycling facilities across Auckland will soon be made safer – as the Auckland Transport (AT) Board has approved a proposal to separate existing on-road cycle lanes.
This work, part of AT’s Minor Cycling Programme, will now be delivered over three years and not the original five years stated in the Regional Land Transport Plan 2021-2031 (RLTP). The five-year budget was $30 million.
The programme will improve safety for people on bikes and aims to grow active mode use in Auckland – as part of AT’s commitment to low-carbon transport options.
Protected cycle lanes are dedicated paths for people using bikes. They are physically separated from people driving and people walking, using various forms of separation including planter boxes, concrete kerbs, flex-posts, or berm space.
This is a particularly useful programme, as it will hopefully help AT learn how to deliver safer cycleways cheaper and faster, by using existing street space.
However, lately we’ve also been seeing a rash of articles, primarily from the Herald’s Bernard Orsman, trying to create a beat-up about cycleway investment or adjacent policy changes, such as the parking strategy.
Last week, the first cycleway upgraded as part of the programme to protect existing painted bike lanes came under some fire, including from the police. The cycleway is along Upper Harbour Drive. It’s a route that’s quite important to me personally, as I regularly use it to commute to work – though ironically I haven’t used it since the protection was installed, as I’ve been working from home.
It’s easy to understand why Auckland Transport chose this project to start with. The painted cycleway was installed in 2015, by tweaking the road layout on this former state highway. It is the longest cycleway on the list for protection, and compared to most painted cycleways, it already had a painted buffer between the cycleway and traffic lanes. This makes it easier to place the protection without having to make any additional changes to the road layout.
From a safety perspective, this project is extremely important, as the road currently has a 70km/h speed limit – and I know from personal observation and experience that many drivers are often doing much more than that. It’s not uncommon for some to cut corners and drive right over the cycleway.
Of note, in their latest round of proposed speed limit changes, AT has proposed dropping the speed limit to 60km/h. That will be an improvement, but 60km/h is not a speed that will support its Vision Zero goal of “no deaths or serious injuries”. State Highway 18 nearby serves long distance journeys; this Upper Harbour Drive route should now be providing safe access for people using all modes. Unless AT are going to redesign the road for shared space type speeds, additional protection for people on bikes is needed.
Here’s some parts of Orsman’s article.
A roading police officer has serious concerns about the safety of one of Auckland Transport’s latest cycleway projects.
His concerns have been backed up by a competitive road cyclist who had a nasty accident on the cycleway and broke a collarbone.
AT is under fire after installing concrete barriers on an existing cycleway at Upper Harbour Drive to separate cyclists from motorists, leading to a petition signed by nearly 1500 local Greenhithe residents.
The roading policing supervisor for the North Shore, Senior Sergeant Warwick Stainton, said the barriers do not appear “conducive to road safety when taking into consideration motorists’ safety and cyclists’ safety”.
He has listed a number of concerns in a report obtained by the Herald:
- The barriers are a driving hazard, low and difficult to see and the slightest driving error can result in vehicles hitting them.
- The barriers narrow the road making them vulnerable to driver error or emergency stopping.
- The barriers have removed an emergency stopping shoulder for motorists.
- Plant material builds up, making the road surface undesirable for cyclists.
- The barriers prevent cyclists riding two abreast, so they use the road instead.
- The barriers prevent vehicles from easily and safely getting in and out of driveways.
“From a policing perspective, we are also not in favour of the barriers as it makes carrying out enforcement on the road very difficult.
“We no longer have the ability to execute U-turns or manoeuvres to stop speeding drivers and there is nowhere to stop motorists without blocking the road.
“Furthermore, running speed traps or checkpoints is impossible as once again there is nowhere to pull vehicles over without blocking the road,” said Stainton.
The article also notes that several vehicles have had tyres blow out after hitting the barriers – inadvertently highlighting exactly why the barriers are needed. You can’t win with Orsman, cycleways are either “too expensive and slow” or “too cheap and fast”.
But it’s the police comments that are the most concerning. They show that this senior officer, at least, doesn’t understand road safety or how road design influences road safety outcomes. I also wonder why he’s targeted a cycleway and not the myriad of other situations, such as on-street parking, that cause the same or worse situations for police.
I've written to @NZPCommissioner Andrew Coster seeking immediate clarity around @nzpolice's position with regards to providing protected cycleways, even if it impacts on police operations. I'll update if/when I receive a response. https://t.co/kDzublo6Du pic.twitter.com/AuXmgtlY5f
— Critical_Mass (@CriticalMassAKL) June 22, 2022
Those police comments in particular have given extra vigour to local politicians who regularly oppose measures like cycleways, and are using this to demand other roads in their area remain unsafe.
All of this isn’t to say that AT’s process has been perfect here. Perhaps more could have been done to inform locals and road users that the changes were coming; in practical terms, it appears that key improvements to visibility of the new materials, such as reflective paint, are yet to be installed. While this isn’t ideal, these are implementation issues and the lesson has been learned.
This does’t mean AT should never do this kind of project again – if anything, the opposite is true; we need to do this more often, so good delivery practice becomes embedded across Auckland Transport. This will help as they roll out the thousand of kilometres of new cycleways that we need.
AT probably also needs to change how it maintains the cycleway to ensure it doesn’t get clogged with leaves and other debris, an issue for not just this route but many other cycleways too.
They could also do some more communicating of the research on how protected cycle lanes make roads safer for everyone using them – a message that political leaders and police could also help share with the public.
One of the next painted lanes to get protection is Carrington Road – which, coincidentally, is the first of Auckland’s modern painted bike lanes. (AT says it “anticipates the changes will be constructed in mid-late June 2022”, which gives them exactly two days to get started.)
While there will be some gaps in the physical protection to accommodate parking outside the primary school (this will be addressed via a separate process), this route provides great stories to tell. It connects a town centre and train station to the Northwestern cycleway, runs past a school and tertiary institution, and is in a Local Board area that’s progressive on cycling. Hopefully the communications around this project will be better, and help everyone learn why this is happening.
Finally, it’s also worth highlighting a splendid piece on the topic by Simon Wilson. It’s paywalled, but here’s a selection:
…while it’s not perfect, the [Upper Harbour Drive] design is very good. All the parking is off-road. A painted median separates the traffic lanes. There are reflective cats’ eyes on the left-hand edge of the traffic lane, on both sides, all the way along.
All road users – pedestrians, cyclists and drivers – are catered for and safe from each other. The vehicle lanes are no narrower than many others all over town. With sticks and a lower speed limit, this design would be an excellent model for Auckland’s busy suburban streets.
So what are people complaining about?
The main issue is that concrete barriers are unforgiving. Hit one with your car and you could blow out a tyre. But this is also true for gutters.
Some residents would prefer AT to use low moulded plastic dividers, because you can drive right over them without damaging your car.
Of course, that does mean cyclists in the cycleway are not safe. So that’s a drawback.
But there’s another problem with the moulded plastic option, which AT discovered a few years ago on St Lukes Rd.
The cycleways it installed there were divided from cars by moulded plastic barriers and high-vis sticks. What happened? Motorists used to mount the barriers and drive along in the cycleway, knocking down the sticks. This happened repeatedly. AT removed the sticks.
The sad fact is, some motorists think it’s okay to threaten cyclists’ safety and okay to vandalise cycleways. So cycling infrastructure must be able to withstand that.
The whole point of cycleways is to make cycling safe. The way to think about it is this: would you let your kids ride on that cycleway? If cars can and do drift into it, then it’s not safe. Low concrete barriers are used on cycleways precisely because cars can’t drive over them.
As for the “grim warnings” from the police, that turns out to be a complaint by a senior sergeant, Warwick Stainton, a “roading police supervisor”. He says officers can’t park in the cycleways or do U-turns on the road.
But patrol cars are not supposed to park in cycleways. And if they can’t do a U-turn, how about using an intersection? There are many, all along that road.
In his defence, Stainton has perhaps been too busy to attend a single road-safety training session in the last 30 years. If he had, he’d know what the police are supposed to say. Drivers should slow down. Drive to the conditions. The roads are for all users and should be safely shared.
At least the Upper Harbour Drive cycleway is relatively cheap, so the usual complaint about “huge costs” doesn’t apply. This is because, as in Nelson St, they just repurposed some of the existing roadway and added the barriers. They didn’t have to build a whole new piece of infrastructure.
This should be the norm. But complainants can’t have it both ways. If you’re going to object to expensive off-road cycleways (like Meola Rd), don’t you have to accept cheaper on-road options?
This road asks one thing of all its users: compromise. A willingness to share the available space.
And it asks one more thing of drivers – a thing that, as it happens, will almost guarantee they don’t hit the barriers and burst their tyres. Slow down.
More of these throughout the city, please.
If the discontinuous nature of these barriers is the problem, then surely it would be better to make it a continuous barrier, like a kerb? Then everyone will be happy, including the police, and speeding motorists.
Yes, but AT are too cheap to do a job properly. Now there are hundreds of extra island noses than were needed. There was once a time we made sure every new traffic island had adequate lighting on the nose to reduce night crashes. Clearly not any more.
This will make an interesting before and after comparison to see if solid, if not continuous, islands reduce or increase crashes.
It would help if they actually finished the job.
I ride along here regularly and it is much safer now. The main hazard for me before was cars parking in the cycle lane. There have been some accidents as people get used to the new layout but these will fade over time as people adjust and slow down.
The back lash to this (because car drivers are so bad at driving they are hitting the sides) is maddening. The sport cyclists being upset is also infuriating.
This should be the blueprint for bike infrastructure.
In summer I’d say I join the “sport cyclists” camp, but I’m a cycling commuter every day of the year. I used that road once with the new barriers and had a cyclist traveling much slower than me (10kph vs 30kph). The lane is too narrow to pass. I get it that these are not designed for “sport cyclists” but what about ebike users (32kph/42kph+). The future is ebikes. I wish they made these wide enough to pass. Drivers (some) get irate when a bike is outside the cycle lane because they need to pass.
There are gaps in the protection so you could presumably pop out through them and pass the other cyclist?
Oh yes, I just pulled out when I could see a gap and passed, not great, but easy enough for me. But it’s not about me. If things work out well and there are more people using this, or it’s done in busier areas the design isn’t wide enough. Popping in and out of the bike lane isn’t very safe.
You could ask the person going 10kph to pull over? Or, the lane is not narrower now, use space you were previously using.
This lane now is better than what it was for more people.
if your doing up to 42kph on a bike on a busy road you should have income protection insurance
IMHO traveling closer to the speed of traffic is safer because you flow with it rather than become an obstacle.
The 32/42kph reference was just giving the power cut off speed of popular eBikes sold in NZ. I don’t own one, but have ridden a few and they sure help going up hills.
“competitive road cyclist”
Stay in your lane mate, these cycle facilities aren’t for you.
But great to have a mouthpiece for Bernard “see, even cyclists don’t like cyclelanes”
Yeah I saw that sports cycling groups thing a few times. Why not just use the road? Buses only use bus lanes when needed, same principal for bikes. Easily for cars to pass in the other lane per usual.
I don’t cycle in a group, but I do ride for fitness (in summer). And I commute on my bike (almost every day).
I’m fine with using the road when the cycle path isn’t suitable (for any number of reasons, e.g. takes me to the wrong side of a junction for where I want to travel, or busy with other users, like children weaving on scooters).
But when on the road I’ve had a fair bit of abuse from drivers pointing out that I’m not in the bike lane. Many times it’s in a two lane road that isn’t busy, so easy for cars to pass. From the close pass, to the horn blast, it gets a bit demoralizing, and I’m reasonably thick skinned.
I chat to a few (when I pass them stopped at the lights), the comments are usually how AT spent gillions on the bike lane and not using it. I like to point out AT spends far more on public transport that they aren’t using.
The point that is being overlooked here is, when you have an addiction to something, anything that gets in your way of “enjoying” that addiction is wrong.
Motor vehicles for many is an addiction, and those how want to take some of there access to their addiction away are creating barriers to the enjoyment of that addiction.
The big trouble with our collective addiction to motor vehicles is that governments and local authorities are doing too much to pander to this addiction and next to nothing about helping to curtain it by building more and more roads which as we all know just simply encourages more to become addicted to the motor car.
Until authorities wake up to the fact they are simply fuelling an addiction, by building more roads, and start addressing the problem by adding more active options, with safety dividers, and stop building roads we are not going to be able to control the addiction to cars and just keep on creating more congestion and make it even more difficult for other active forms to survive.
They’re addicted too
What rubbish. A bicycle is not practical for the majority of peoples needs.
If there was safe bikeways everywhere then the majority of trips could be practically taken by bike.
e bikes are the biggest addiction
john gillon what an embarrassment
It looks really nice. I can’t understand the people who waste their energy fighting this stuff.
I see alot of abusive talk on here aimed towards car drivers and competition cyclists. People need to calm down. The new barriers on Upper Harbour drive, Greenhithe are less than ideal for 4 reasons. 1. The posted speed of the road needs to be permanently lower, 50km-60km. 70 is insane. I don’t fancy being head on hit in my lane by an incompetent driver in a larger vehicle. There is no margin of error for me now to allow for them. 2. Cyclists weaving in and out of the barriers infront of vehicles. 3. The orange road cones blow across the road in windy conditions. 4. Then can you use the road sweeper to keep the cycle lane clean for the cyclists?
Mel,does this also apply to all roads,narrowed by parked cars?
If you think thats abusive, wait till you see the comments about cyclists and cycleways.
The complaints to what is at a bare minimum the global standards, are largely pathetic. Mostly bad drivers wanting us to continue to accommodate for their inability to drive safely. Includes the police, apparently.
Oh, the irony – car drivers drive too fast and can’t stay in their lane, so the last thing we need is protected cyclelanes. Welcome to NZ.
My exact reaction. Blew out your tyre because you’re incapable of staying in a clearly marked lane, one that hasn’t even changed with the barrier installation? Cry me a fucking river.
Add to your list that the cycle way didn’t widen the road at Albany Highway so it means traffic turning left is now blocked by the right turn queue causing longer queues than are necessary. (The Honda wagon in the first photo is me). The result is higher CO2 emissions. Yes the cycle lane increased CO2. If they do this everywhere then we are totally screwed.
If so you are concerned about emissions, stop driving a car everywhere.
Miffy, the recent discovery that asphalt can be used by other forms than two tonne steel boxes,is proving to be a difficult concept to grasp. It is in it’s early stages of implementation, so is quite novel to the privileged.
I am confident over time,they will become accustomed to it.
AT won’t allow the roading budget be used for cycleway to be included so why would you expect the cycleway budget be used to be used to include the road. There has always be a queue at this point.
The bus gets stuck in the very same queue you see there making for a slow painful journey. That photo is about five years old when I was dropping my daughter at school with a pile of stuff for a project. Most of the people in that queue can’t or wont swap to cycling. None of them will be better off using PT.
Sorry you just have to accept that people need to travel. Pretending they dont or that they will change to the mode you would prefer them to use is deluded. And it will result in more emissions. So if that is your best shot at avoiding climate change then we are all stuffed. May as well work out how to deal with the worse weather and sea level rise.
This is the first comment that I’ve ever made on this page, and I’m making it just to say that this is the stupidest comment I’ve ever read. Please take one big step back and just think for a minute.
This protection on the cycle lane, though not ideal (mostly because it still caters too much for cars) will allow people who aren’t as confident biking (like myself) to get out of their cars and onto their bikes!
Please continue to read the greater Auckland articles so you don’t make a comment like this in the future
Looks great, does it run the entire length of Upper Harbour Drive?
I cycle this a bit
It’s pretty good from Hobsonville end (along Upper Harbour bridge) so nice weekend cycle for me
But the Albany is one of the worst intersection for bikes I have to deal with around Auckland
I have posted about this multiple times on here, bike action, the council, but years later still nothing has happened.
I highly recommend other cyclists try and cycle from Upper Harbour drive through the intersection and head up Albany highway towards Glenfield. Please do this and give feedback; I am pretty sure it is not just me, and a solution looks quite possible.
I am a competent and confident cyclist, and it gives me the shits, so couldn’t imagine cycling through this intersection with kids or newbies. I would just recommend traveling downhill (and trying to find a pedestrian crossing)
Somebody will need to die or have a serious injury there (and it will happen) before AT can be arsed taking a look at fixing it
I agree. Very dangerous. Need a proper pedestrian / cyclist crossing. Obviously no real traffic engineers work for AT.
New Zealand needs a proper Road Code and implement camera speed monitoring as in the UAE.
Main concern at this intersection is as a cyclist turning right from Upper Harbour Drive towards Glenfield you get stuck in the middle of the two left hand lanes. The traffic along Albany main highway is free flowing and not subject to the traffic lights. With all the concern for cyclist and pedestrians this is a simple fix by installing a signal to stop this free-flowing lane when required using a dedicated request button.
Everybody here who knows this intersection knows it is dangerous.
You just need to ride or walk through this intersection and you know that somebody will get hurt.
Myself and others have have raised it with AT. They claimed to me that an unnamed consultant was going to be looking at it.
I can’t believe any consultant would look at that intersection and sign it off as being fine (even if the slip road does give a lovely flow of high speed traffic)
What can I do?
How can AT be made to take some responsible?
Why do we have to wait for somebody to get hurt. And if somebody does get hurt, do those people who were told, but did nothing take any responsibility?
“Somebody will need to die or have a serious injury there (and it will happen) before AT can be arsed taking a look at fixing it”
I think we have plenty of recent evidence that even deaths do not spur AT into doing their job. How many organisations can act like that without consequences?
Chris Boardman has been appointed NATC for Britain, see his comments below,l would put more faith in his comments,than one of Orsman’s road cyclists.
Boardman said: “I am thrilled to be announced as permanent National Active Travel Commissioner and to be given this incredible opportunity.” To help change the travel culture of a nation is by far the most important thing I have ever, or will ever, be involved in.”
“For cycling and walking to become the natural choice for shorter journeys, people must feel safe and the options must be easy.”
Having been hit from behind along Carrington Rd painted cycle lane, (a van mirror into the shoulder, l naturally look forward to the rollout continuing.
Political opposition l get,but police opposition ?
“They show that this senior officer, at least, doesn’t understand road safety or how road design influences road safety outcomes. I also wonder why he’s targeted a cycleway and not the myriad of other situations, such as on-street parking, that cause the same or worse situations for police.”
I’m not sure why the officer needs to understand. He was explaining why the barriers are making it difficult for him to do his job, which sometimes require him to make a u-turn to catch a miscreant. If prioritising cyclists over law enforcement is OK in your eyes then I hope you never need law enforcement or other first responders to come to your aid.
Unfortunately a car isn’t like an aircraft where full right rudder would solve the problem
Because we’re specifically talking about cyclist safety and he is a traffic safety officer. To be so publicly clueless about safety for all road users is embarrassing.
Does anyone know if the police consider turning circle when they assess models for patrol cars? IF U turns are an important maneuvre you’d expect them to get cars with a tight turning circle. Some cars seem to be able to turn on a dime, maybe the Skodas arent so good?
Someone should teach the officer how to do a three point turn. Would take an extra 5 seconds.
“If prioritising cyclists over law enforcement is OK in your eyes then I hope you never need law enforcement or other first responders to come to your aid.”
Why not extend this argument to driving too?
In order to enable high speeds we put in median barriers (read waikato expressway). These median barriers prevent police U turns. Why are we prioritising driving speeds over law enforcement?
You should be making public forum arguments against the expressway limit raising, and median barriers on any motorway or highway.
We do the make similar (but worse) decisions by keeping so much on-street parking and / or timing the bus lanes, when emergency services gain hugely by being able to use these congestion free bus lanes.
The truth is that the slight delay in police having to do a 3 point turn rather than a straight U turn is worth it to have more functional and safe transport system. We make these tradeoffs all the time.
The strong defence of bad driving does seem odd in a city that recognises climate change as an emergency; when the new mayor will make public transport free; and biking / cycling are obviously excellent alternatives to the private motor vehicle. As Simon Wilson always correctly writes, would you take your kids in this bike lane? This is the philosophical baseline for this conversation, are our kids safe not in private motor vehicles? The recent vehicle attack performed on Efeso and family would tend to say perhaps our kids are safer on the bus or on safe bike facilities. Firstly I believe the police are public servants and not really entitled to a public political opinion, and secondly I wonder does he dream of how wonderful traffic policing must be in cities dominated by bikes and trams? Far more cafe time I would imagine. And I am not making a joke about the police, even cyclists love cafes! But you realise that much of this great city is cowboy country, so any safety move is considered an attack on personal freedom! Forever thankful to Rodney Hide for privatising local democracy. Thank Ōtara Efeso is listener and a doer!!!
For those that can afford it, he’s speaking at this restaurant (tonight 6pm) that normally only ever showcases National Party and quite right wing political candiates:
“The barriers are a driving hazard, low and difficult to see and the slightest driving error can result in vehicles hitting them.”
Is he trying to deliberately make himself look stupid? The barriers are inside white lines that are the standard way of marking the edge of roads. (Does he also consider them low and difficult to see?) If motorrists are striking the barriers then maybe the vehicle speed needs to be reduced?
At any speed motorists can hit barriers. I was walking on Hurstmere Road on Sunday and a motorist had managed to drive over an oblong barrier (no chamfered edges) and into the rain garden. No doubt this will invite even more calls that the new street development is unsafe – read, we want the 8 or so car parks that were sacrificed back.
As a footnote, at some times the $30 million Toka Puia car park does not have a single car in it. So a similar amount spent on cycle ways seems money well spent.
I also thought that if he can’t hook a U turn on one of the widest roads in Auckland the issue might lay within…
Auckland’s pathetic traffic enforcement has produced a culture where drivers expect to be doing at least 50 km/h on any road regardless of corners, so when they’re suddenly penalised for drifting into someone else’s lane by hitting a separator of course they are the ones being victimised.
While it’s great to have these the intersection with Albany Highway (turning right) is still very dangerous…!
My pet rant, which I have posted about plenty of times.
Why spend millions to have many kilometers of cycleway, then terminate it with a cycle/pedestrian hostile intersection that you have to navigate to get back to the shore?
Spending not much on km of safe cycleway and justifying Spending many times as much on a really difficult intersection sooner than it ever would otherwise. Steep, unstable slope one side, huge water tank the other, heaps of traffic and a big drop between southbound and right turn lane. And Miffy wanting to drive through. Keep requesting!
Would like to see what other people think about a solution.
Ideally a massive project with connections down as far as Rook place, and cycleway along Albany highway
I am not a civil engineer, but a more modest tactical change might be to take the ~1m strip to the left of the Albany highway which might not need a substantial retaining wall, and just put a painted path in there so people are not dumped in this bit of narrow high-speed road when heading uphill.
Could be combined with a bit of painted path & signs, to guide people wanting to go right (uphill) to instead head downhill from Upper Harbour highway to the pedestrian crossing down towards Constellation.
Not ideal (having to cycle in the wrong direction), but safer to get people to cycle the wrong way for 100m then cross and head back uphill on whatever width path it is possible to make on the left hand side of Albany highway
The new tim tams are great.
But the bigger issue that they need to resolve is turning right from Upper Harbour Dr onto Albany Highway where the two lanes merge, at speed most of the time.
Trying to pedal uphill holding an ‘I want to turn left’ arm out to get through the traffic coming through from Albany and crossing into that left lane is a nightmare.
It’s right up there with Royal Oak roundabout as far as a death trap goes imo.
Agree and raised it several years ago, in short the answer was ‘not enough people have died there’.
Glad I mostly used it weekday mornings when the gridlocked traffic meant weaving through a ‘carpark’. In the weekend or off peak agree it is lethal.
Annoying when it could be fixed with one traffic light, synced to the existing light controlling the right turn from Albany highway into Upper Harbour Drive and a bit of paint.
Hopefully the people of Kaipatiki will now realise what a knuckle dragger is and vote him out at the local body elections.
As for that cop – all I can say is hopefully Orsman had to hunt down a rent-a-quote copper and the views expressed are not widely held within the Police.
A peek on Streetview shows there’s plenty of room to expand the lane width for riders to double up or pass, just take it out of the 2 metre median strip.
That should help physically enforce a lower speed limit, too.
Copy and paste across the city, please.
Shame on that police statement, local politician & the beat up article. The reflective paint or whatever should of been done quicker though, pity as it’s helped create confusion over what would be a cheap and fast improvement to safety.
Pop-up cycle lane was proposed, developed and delivered after the Speed Limit change from 70 to 60 was proposed. It may be that a further change to 50 is worthwhile.
Most of the complaints and comments were made before the project was finished. There are lessons to be learned and those will be used by AT on other projects.
This is one of those roads which managed to be too wide and too narrow at the same time for an easy, low-cost answer to work, but it doesn’t seem to be doing too badly.
It’s really working if the genuine issues are ‘what next?’ – Upper Harbour Drive/Albany Hwy intersection.
A nice balance of ‘it’s too expensive’ and ‘it’s too cheap’ comments!
The Herald performed a useful service with the police statement. It shows either the official has an important point to make or- as some have suggested -he does not know what he is doing,
If an experienced cop can’t pull a mean-as handbrake turn like he’s on The Fast And The Furious, what pleasure can be possibly have in his job? Might be time to hang up his spurs if the joy is gone.
Maybe he did pull a handbrake turn and he is one of those to hit the barrier? Not surprised he is pissed if he had to explain that to the boss.
I own a car and house in Auckland (paying rates, ruc and rego). Almost every day my car is parked in the driveway and I cycle. I’m a cyclists who payed for it.
I don’t use public health, social services, education, public transport, but I still pay for it.
“Firstly I believe the police are public servants and not really entitled to a public political opinion”
What he said was his professional opinion, not a political one.
Whilst we don’t have the First Amendment in NZ we do have a Bill of Rights Act which protects free speech
The Police are officially in support of the Road to Zero strategy, so to be “professional” his comments need to be aligned with the strategy and follow the Safe System design principles that underpin it. They do not.
In saying that motorists require the space used for the cycle lanes as
emergency stopping space, the sergeant effectively prioritised drivers’ emergency needs over the right to safety for people on bikes. This is not a safety-conscious nor equitable approach. Nor is it in line with government direction.
His belief that the Police stopping vehicles in general traffic lanes is “blocking the road” but stopping vehicles in cycle lanes is an acceptable Police practice is muddled at best, and indicative of his mode bias. But it’s worse than this: If you look up what “special vehicle lanes” can be legally used for, you’ll see the problems with what he’s suggesting.
His comments are merely the ill-informed reckons of a car dependent not trained in Vision Zero, and accustomed to practices that aren’t even legal. That they weren’t picked up by a quality control check before the draft report was finalised reflects very poorly on the Police indeed.
Totally uninformed legal take:
He would be protected by the bill of rights in that he can’t be taken to court.
But that does not mean he can use his employer’s name (NZ police) and his job position to pump up his claims in the media, with no blowback on his job. It’s been in plenty of my employment agreements that I could be held accountable (ie fired) for associating my employer with bad press / whatever political thing I was up to.
In this case the Police absolutely should reign in this guy, hes promoting unsafe road use (as Heidi outlined) and his employer looks like shit for it, by using their name to give his opinion legitimacy in the news. He should be “average joe”.
And if this statement is endorsed by the police officially then we’re all fucked. They would be totally unfit for the purpose of road safety and should have it taken off them.
It really should be 50km/hr
Upper harbour motorway fully bypasses it for through traffic, and to most north shore destinations. At most it’s a minor arterial.
There’s lots of driveways, uncontrolled right turns at side roads, off camber corners and an inconsistent median. Its unsafe to have those sorts of conditions over 50km/hr where there is likely to be t-bone incidents. To be faster it would need roundabouts and limited access.
The biggest issue we have is that protected cycle ways aren’t mandatory (or engineered vehicle operating speeds of 30kmh or less).
No cycle lane, or a painted cycle lane are not vision zero cycle facilities.
Ideally need an up and over prefabricated cycleway bridge for that intersection.
3 cyclists injured by the barriers in 4 months, vs only 1 injured in the preceding 5 years. These are an unequivocally bad idea and 100% of people that spoke at last night’s public meeting were against them, including recreational and competitive cyclists. Everyone likes the cycle lane, everyone agrees that this was not the right solution on this road and AT should’ve thought a bit harder about it… ironic that something supposed to make the road safer has actually made it very unsafe.