This is a guest post from Peter N (@AklBikes)
Upper Harbour Drive is one location where Auckland Transport has been adding protective concrete barriers to existing painted cycle lanes. It’s part of a programme that will create 60km of protected lanes.
Adding barriers is a quick and affordable way to make these lanes safer for a wider range of people on bikes, and is also proper physical infrastructure, unlike painted lanes which are almost glorified road-shoulders.
Why add physical protection?
- It stops motorists from driving or parking in the lanes.
- It protects people cycling from motorists who may veer into their lane, something that happens with drivers who are new to driving, or in a rush and cutting corners, or on their phone, or even in some more extreme cases purposefully attempting to frighten or harm people on bikes (based on ill-conceived views which are often further fueled by politicians to score points with the unenlightened, or the media to drive more audience to their content).
- It can also protect someone who’s cycling from veering out into traffic if they lose control for whatever reason – in which case, hitting a concrete barrier is preferable to being hit by a passing car.
Above all, this added protection allows a much larger range of people to use the cycle lanes, instead of just confident/ fearless riders. Families, children, newer or more vulnerable riders can now ride to places they’d have been unlikely to do so before – in the case of Upper Harbour Drive, a safer connection to the North Shore.
So why do some people have an issue with it?
Good question. I believe most of the issues are being amplified by certain groups or individuals who either think there’s only one kind of rider (the confident or sporty types who are comfortable riding even without painted bike lanes), or oppose cycling altogether.
Here are some of the myths being shared:
1. “Motorists and cyclists won’t be able to avoid hitting the barriers.”
I have travelled the route back and forth several times since the concrete protectors were added. Plenty of riders in the bike lanes (and even giant trucks and buses in the traffic lanes), all of whom had plenty of clearance, much more generous compared with many other locations.
Here’s a couple of pictures, judge for yourself:
Here is a large bike placed horizontally in lane, for scale and bonus Ford Ranger in the background, with plenty of room to spare:
It’s true that there have been some collisions with the new barriers. The main 3 events which appear to have shown up in the media, and made the rounds on Facebook are:
- A white SUV hitting the barrier. This seems like a loss of control – was the driver distracted, or not used to driving such a large vehicle, and hugging to the left?
Here’s a dual cab ute in one of the more narrow sections, with plenty of room to spare, and surprise, surprise a Flush Median is present along most of the road too:
How is this anything but a good result? If a person had been cycling at this spot, the barrier – by interrupting the car’s motion – would have given them more time to react, and reduced the force of any potential impact.
- A passenger bus doing much the same:
A paid professional driver also encroaching on the bike lane – imagine how much more fatal that could have been without the concrete protectors!
- A cyclist hitting the barriers from inside the lane. As someone who has come off their bike on numerous occasions, breaking bones, I can totally relate and am sorry they had to go through that. But what if the barriers weren’t there, and a car had been passing at the time? That could have ended much, much worse.
This all really just shows that the barriers are doing their job. Some of these incidents may be teething issues with driver awareness of road changes, or the fact that AT was not quite finished with all the work. Others will be legitimate careless driving, which is a much bigger issue that needs to be addressed on a national level.
Additionally the speed limit is also presently a whopping 70km/h, but this will likely be dropping to 60km/h under Auckland Transport’s Proposed Speed Limit Changes – Phase Three which is set to come into force by the end of the year. This makes sense, given there is already a parallel motorway at 100km/h for anyone travelling further distances. And the speed limits could of course be lower still, to reflect Vision Zero principles and improve safety for everyone.
2. “But you can’t pass other riders.”
If it’s important to pass another person on a bike, you can simply move into the general lane when it’s clear – there’s plenty of gaps in the separators to do this – then rejoin the cycle lane. This is no different to before the separators were installed.
3. “There’ll be wheelie bins in the cycleway.”
This was also an issue before the protectors were added, and around Auckland as a whole. Residents should be placing their bins on the berm: refuse trucks can easily reach over the cycle lane with their mechanical grab arm. Unfortunately, some residents or rubbish truck operators are not following this practice. This can be fixed with good communication – letters to residents, and raising it with refuse truck operators.
Here is one Auckland-based refuse truck reaching out over an entire general lane width, this is plenty more than needed to take and return bins to the berm over the bike lane:
Meanwhile, if you’re cycling and encounter a wheelie bin in the way, you can check if the general lane is clear, and go around. Not ideal of course, but much like before – except that now, you’re less likely to encounter parked vehicles and other obstructions, thanks to the concrete protectors.
4. “But some people will still cycle in the general lane.”
Mayoral candidate Craig Lord posted this to Facebook. Some politicians love to generate unenlightened angst with those of lesser understanding, to score “points” with said crowd.
Setting aside the cringe misuse of Levi Hawken’s famous scooter-outside-the-dairy-quote, the post seems to be saying: let’s not create safe cycle lanes for anyone, because someone might not use them sometimes.
The counterpoint is that just because bike lanes are there, doesn’t mean you have to use them. Much like:
- Trucks or carpoolers do not need to always be in T lanes (T2, T3 etc.). Nobody would suggest they do – these lanes are clearly there to provide an advantage in peak time.
- Buses do not need to always be in bus lanes. People rarely suggest they do. Again, it’s there for modal advantage in peak time.
- Emergency services vehicles do not need to always be in the emergency shoulder lanes on the motorway.
- Ironically, there is also a multitude of motoring-only lanes adjacent to Upper Harbour Drive, called SH18 – i.e. a motorway running completely in parallel nearby. And yet nobody is suggesting that all cars should be in their designated motoring-only lane instead of the general traffic lane.
Likewise, bikes need not always be in bike lanes – but people will constantly suggest that’s where they are somehow obligated to be. (And the same crowd will also likely defend motorists from driving or parking in the bike lane.)
While I personally would take full advantage of the extra safety of the protected bike lane, so I can ride through with fewer worries, I have absolutely no problem with anyone who needs to ride in the general lane. Here are some reasons why:
- They could be turning right ahead, and you can’t easily turn right directly from the bike lane.
- They could be sports cycling, which may require a bit more sway and cornering space whilst they are in a physically exerted state.
- They could be passing a slower rider in the bike lane.
- They could be avoiding something in the bike lane – such as the aforementioned bins, or other obstructions like parked cars, which have been reduced by the new barriers but not eliminated.
- They may have tires that are prone to puncture from debris, which I will cover more below.
So yeah, any number of things. But the key point is, they have every right to be in the general lane, and there are many potential reasons they could be there. To say otherwise sets a dangerous precedent, thus opening many riders to needless abuse from motorists.
A way for Auckland Transport to aid cyclists who choose to use the general lane may be to add sharrows, a cheap and cheerful method to remind motorists that everyone is welcome in the general lane, and to make it clear cyclists are welcome to ride there, if it better suits what they are doing.
It’s a brave rider who will mix with 70km/h traffic, or even 60km/h, so we can expect most people cycling here to take advantage of the newly protected space. That said, a small handful of riders have apparently suggested that they won’t ride in the protected lane, as some form of protest. And that’s their prerogative. Here’s a picture from Twitter in 2021, before the protection was added – for their own reasons, some riders still rode in the general lane, regardless.
Obviously not enough budget to also reseal the Upper Harbour Drive cycle lane pic.twitter.com/tFgzU7J2dS
— Todd Niall (@toddniall) December 11, 2021
5. “The bike lanes will fill up with debris.”
Well, there’s been debris in bike lanes before protection was added – it’s an issue across Auckland. Indeed, if you’re riding to/from the Upper Harbour Bridge near here, that shared path also frequently has debris, as it’s isolated from regular sweeps, and special requests have to be raised with either AT or Waka Kotahi for SH18.
In any case, protected lanes are becoming more common throughout Auckland, and AT’s contractors do have methods for sweeping them. The last time the issue of debris was raised on Upper Harbour Drive (pre-protection), AT sent sweepers to clear the debris. So it’s weird to see it suggested as a reason to oppose safe infrastructure – surely the smart thing to do is just to phone it in and get it sorted?
You can also use puncture-resistant tyres (Marathon Plus / Durano Plus or equivalent). Sure, they may be a bit heavier than some race tires at 385g for 25mm wide tires, so this isn’t for everyone – but as mentioned above, using the general lane may be a better place if you’re a confident rider avoiding debris; just as in many other locations.
6. “We won’t be able to ride as a sports cycling group.”
This type of group sports riding typically occurs on general lanes anyway, and they’re not the intended audience for protected cycling space. Even if they did stick to the painted lanes, without physical protection many groups would likely have spilled out onto the general lane anyway. And that’s fine.
I definitely agree it could be wider, to allow for social side-by-side riding by families and friends. After all, drivers get to enjoy a side-by-side ride even when they’re alone in the car.
For better or for worse, the current programme of adding protection to painted lanes allows fast delivery because it works with the existing space. This is a start – and hopefully at a later stage these can get enlarged, which will allow group riders, and families riding together, to do so in greater comfort.
So what are these people after?
Why the angst? It’s not particularly clear. Some people may just want to grumble about Auckland Transport. There are also a few who want to remove the infrastructure entirely including the painted lanes. And others who want to revert to the paint-only setup from before. Their reasons seem to fall under one or more of the following:
- Anti-cycling sentiment, or a general preference to any and all spending going towards other modes such as motoring (which already receives the vast bulk of transport expenditure)
- … maybe combined with some misplaced nostalgia for curbside parking, even though it was never present on this stretch of road,
- … or a rider who feels they personally don’t require this kind of infrastructure, as noted above, and somehow can’t see it’s useful for other kinds of riders. (And/or maybe they’re feeling the pain of motorists demanding they use the cycle infrastructure instead of the general lane, when they actually don’t have to.)
On Thursday, 21st July 2022, there was a public meeting around these changes held by local MP Vanushi Walters. It was dominated by locals, and a certain point of view, and those who do not share similar views either did not attend as they had no concern to raise, or felt uncomfortable expressing a differing opinion to those attending.
The thing is, this isn’t just a local instance of infrastructure. It’s the only obvious route to and from the North Shore from West Auckland – and by extension Central, East and South too. In the absence of a direct harbour crossing for walking and cycling, it’s the only way for those on bikes to reach the North Shore without using a ferry.
Also, during adverse weather, or at night when ferries are not running, or when you don’t have money for a fare, it’s the sole method to get to and from the North Shore by bike at present.
So I hope Auckland Transport sticks to their principles here on Upper Harbour Drive, and in the other planned locations for added protection. After all, increasing cycle ridership and reducing emissions are their objectives – and better for all of us.
The hysteria around this has been hilarious. The problems around implementation seem to be
1. Some cyclists hit the barriers the first morning they were installed because it was dark, they didn’t know about them and there was no signage or cones. Clearly an AT or contractor fuck up
2. There doesn’t seem to be a coherent plan for sweeping the lanes so they are full of glass and people get punctures. Again, an AT fuck up as they should be swept every few days, just buy a sweeper nareow enough for the lane
But the screeching from drivers about how dangerous the barriers are as people cannot avoid them in their cars is just hilarious. Absolute peak carbrain entitlement. Anyone who manages to hit these barriers in their cars without someone driving directly at them on the wrong side of the road should immediately have their licence taken off them
“1. Some cyclists hit the barriers the first morning they were installed because it was dark, they didn’t know about them and there was no signage or cones. Clearly an AT or contractor fuck up”
As I have heard it from AT, there was a traffic cone, but it got moved so by the time the cyclist hit it, it wasn’t there anymore (you aren’t allowed to screw down or otherwise fix traffic cones legally, so these things do happen on construction sites – people move them, wind pushes them, cars hit them). Learning – you need to put permanent signs onto the first separator on day 1 (ironically, a permanent sign in the same place IS allowed to be fixed).
I’m not sure “it was dark” is a great excuse given that the Road Code requires bikes to have at least one headlight when you have less than 100m of clear vision.
The cyclist who hit the barrier the first morning it was installed had cycled along UHD over 270 times. There was no warning that the separators had been installed or that UHD was a current work site. To this day the cyclist is still impacted by the injuries he sustained and is facing major surgery which will involve further time off work, a painful recovery and his Wife will have to carry the full burden of caring for their two small children.
The separators are not the problem, the design of them is the problem.
Sorry but your post comes across as extremely sanctimonious. At least two cyclists were injured by the barriers well after they were installed. Throwing labels around like carbrain is unhelpful and frankly rude. If AT were accountable to Worksafe they would be in court for this mess – they have singlehandedly turned what was a very safe road for drivers and cyclists into an accident blackspot for both.
If AT were accountable to Worksafe, all the roads would be closed to cars for a while until they are safe for everyone. Sadly, they are not, and road spaces remain the wild west when it comes to health and safety here.
So there were no reported cycle crashes prior to the solid barriers and a bunch of crashes involving the barriers since they went in. Was the purpose to increase safety or reduce safety?
The purposes are many, including:
– giving more people the choice to cycle – which has happened, because it is safer to use objectively
– getting more people out of cars – which needs a more complete network, but this is an important part of the network
– to encourage slower, safer driving – which most drivers have adjusted to without making a fool of themselves, but some took the clown route.
You’ll grow scales, you know, if you keep using the wrong metric.
Sorry Heidi I have trouble keeping up. I thought we were still doing Zero Vision or something like that.
Does an example help? The motorway doesn’t have many reported cycle crashes, but it’s not a Vision Zero environment for cycling. Reported cycle crashes on a motorway are not a good metric; nor are they here, where only a very small number of people would have felt safe on bikes before.
Vision Zero requires looking at the actual design, and using knowledge of what provides a safer environment – for example, we know that protected lanes offer a safer environment. A good metric is numbers of people on bikes… but even then the network effect means you need to be building a network, measuring throughout the network, and not trying to read too much into bike counts in any one isolated location.
People don’t want to ride bikes without protection from cars, every survey says so, not providing that protection is preventing people from cycling. They could achieve vision zero on that road by closing it completely making it fair to both cars and cyclists.
See I had misunderstood. I thought installing a ‘safety’ treatment where there had been no crashes requiring that treatment but where the facility would cause other crashes to occur would violate the concept of Vision Zero. Turns out you only have to consider cyclists and their feelings.
I’m not sure where you’re getting “no reported crashes” prior to the installation – do you mean “no election year reported crashes”?
The purpose is to increase the safety of the people using the road, no matter how they’re using the road. Road safety now prioritises the safety of people and their bodies above damage to vehicles.
I looked it up. Between 2016 and 2021 there were no cycle crashes reported on the parts where these barriers have gone in. Not one. That means there are only two possible outcomes- either the barriers don’t make things worse or they do make things worse. Improving the crash record isn’t an option. The only reported cycle crash was at the roundabout at the south after the cycle lane is ended where a cyclist rode into the back of a trailer while looking behind.
If the purpose is to increase the safety of the people using the road then it looks like a failure – already.
I would not cycle that route without the barriers, I would now. It’s also about perception.
How many car crashes did they have there before they built the road?
While reported data is a factor as a regular user of that road I didn’t report multiple near misses (near hits), painted cycle lane obstructions, vehicles (inc buses & trucks) cutting into them on bends etc.
Unfortunately I think there is going to be considerable pressure to remove the protective barriers. The planter boxes have gone from Memorial Drive in Palmerston North, and been replaced with ineffective hit sticks. Local cyclists need to be active on social media to show support for the barriers.
It is a pity these barriers weren’t first rolled out on some 50kph streets first, where the chance of motorists of hitting them was low, and opposition likely to be lower. On Upper Harbour the speed limit probably needs to be reduced to 50.
This route had portions of ineffective hit sticks, in that they were also regularly hit
People must have really boring lives to care this much about a road
(runs into a stamp-collecting group in a church basement)
“You guys are boring!”
(runs out again)
“Haha, got ’em.”
Barry, you are here and engaging. Consider yourself complicit.
Yeah actually some of us live on this road and really don’t like the way that what was previously a safe road has now become an accident blackspot thanks to AT’s poorly-considered decisions.
It wasn’t a previously safe road.
Heidi, it was a lot safer than it is now. I have proved that with reference to the number of car and cycle accidents subsequent to installation of the barriers. Stop ignoring the evidence. We need a more sensible solution here.
Do you have the stats for the number of crashes that have happened since AT installed reflectors and made other upgrades to the original installation? Clearly, AT needs to do much more to reduce speeds, if road users are still struggling to keep in their lanes.
There is whole area of safety engineering which you’re trying to replace with a simplistic analysis of the level of safety based on crash data. There’s far, far more to understanding whether safety has improved or deteriorated than looking at crash numbers, particularly if that data is heavily skewed towards the period before the reflectors were put in place.
– the willingness of people who use mobility aids to walk independently to things,
– the willingness of parents to let their children to cross the road,
– the tendency for neighbours to chat in front of their houses,
– the numbers of people using active travel,
– healthy streets indicators such as noise levels.
As a club cyclist I fee very very uncomfortable riding inside these barriers. We usually cycle in a group of about 6 to 8 people and about a bike length apart at the most. We have very good communication within the bunch calling out pot holes, glass or debris that the following rider can then avoid and not have a puncture or accident using both hand signals and voice. You totally rely on the people in front of you for instruction. Now when we get a call we have nowhere to move to. We also call out cars approaching from the rear so we know if it is safe to move right to avoid dangers. We ride on a large number of country roads in the Kumeu and North shore area far narrower than this and this used to feel like the safest road we road on. When we get glass or objects in our way how there is nowhere to go to avoid them. If you come across slower riders you only option as a group is to move through the barrier, without hitting it, into the middle of the road much further than before, then find you way back through the barriers. Saying a bus hitting the barrier is proof that it’s needed is nonsense. That just means the driver was now navigating a narrower lane. Bus drivers are the best out there when it comes to cyclists and would not have been that close if there were cyclists there. Please do not put these on the other side of the road and make our lives harder. BTW I love the cycle lanes that have been put in around Auckland and use them regularly and feel safe using most of them. This however stands out as a very bad implimentation of what is a noble idea.
No one is making you use the lane.
As a member of society, you have a social responsibility to contribute to the public discussion in a way that helps society provide a safe, sustainable transport network for everyone, including children, less confident cyclists, and future generations.
Your opinions on whether “navigating a narrower lane” is safer or less safe is, just that: opinion. And opinion that is not in line with the evidence. People have been driving too fast on this road. Narrowing it is a best evidence practice which will help reduce the speed.
If it is being a club cyclist that means you are prepared to walk away from responsible public discussion, ignoring the needs that others have, and arguing in a non-evidence-based way, then it reflects very badly on the club cycling culture.
Heidi, if you think this lane is suitable for children, you need to go take a look in person. I wouldn’t let my 5 year old anywhere near it, when far more experienced riders have crashed into barriers and broken bones.
So we have more work to do.
This route doesn’t have to be focused on cars.
That’s rich coming from you.
“Bus drivers are the best out there when it comes to cyclists ”
This does not tally with my decades of experience riding a bike around Auckland.
Segregated cycle lanes are not built for lycra clad road cyclists like you (and me), they are built for kids and old people to truck along at 20km/h
I´m not a cyclist but am pro-cycling and would like to see more dedicated cycling paths created for the safety of cyclists and if I was younger I’d be out there with my lycra ASAP. There will always be resistance to any change from a percentage of people who have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into reality.
Totally agree 🙂 And just a small point, but you don’t actually need lycra to ride a bike. I just get on my bike in what ever I happen to have on that day. I think you just need lycra if your going to ride really fast and sweat a lot 🙂
I have and ride a bike, and I don’t own any lycra.
I feel what David is saying (it was my impression when I 1st encountered this new protection). But the reality is these are not built for the confident riders (we’re already out there doing the good stuff). They are to allow new / nervous riders a safe option to ride in potently vulnerable areas.
AT/NZTA (whoever is responsible for the piece of tarmac) should build these on every road that is a main connection route with a speed limit above 50kph.
Councillor Newman has been stirring the pot of anti-cycling around a similar proposal for Mahia Road in Manurewa / Weymouth.
Hilarious. The road is huge, its traffic lanes fullsome and it’s not as if anyone is even losing a parking space there. Everyone with a car worth more than $10 is either on their drive or the footpath…
Probably on the basis of the total non use of the one on Weymouth Road
That’s a decent off-road bidirectional cycleway running under, north and south of Clendon roundabout, which forms a useful route between Clendon Mall, the sports complex at Mountford Park, residential areas, several playgrounds and a couple of schools.
That one where kids ride themselves to school and can safely cross under the massive roundabout.
Just because you don’t use it shouldn’t mean our kids can’t.
Cycle lanes won’t appear ‘busy’ until ~10x passenger of vehicle lanes.
Passengers per hour on a 3.5 m wide lane
And the one on Great South Road, Takanini that I have never seen a cyclist use.
Bike numbers shouldn’t be low. If they are, the system needs fixing.
I use this road every day and there are things that annoy me about the dividers because for me what was there before was the ideal cycle lane. But my real concern is that these things make me feel less safe and more stressed/vulnerable at the legitimate conflict points with cars. You may worry about being hit from behind on a straight section of road but that’s highly unlikely in my experience, especially on a road plenty of space, but I can understand the intent of the dividers for peace of mind. On the other hand, experience has taught me that I need to be very worried about cars pulling out in front of me or across me or into me at intersections when drivers have to see you and make decisions and I feel far less safe in cycle lanes with the dividers at these conflict points. Every intersection is like russian roulette. The cyclist is trapped and not seen as easily. I don’t know what the solution is for this, but it is this reason that I prefer the lanes as they were. I will always move out into the lane on roads where a car might pull out and there is no car behind me. Experience tells me this works. If you don’t do this when there is no car behind you then it’s a lottery.
Other issues can be fixed but should have been considered before putting the barriers down. 1) debris is definitely worse, but it’s the filth in the lanes that doesn’t seem to get cleaned up even when they remove surface leaves, 2) the quality of the surface is bad in places because they have let the cycle lane deteriorate as the road has been maintained or they’ve created ridges in the cyclelane and now it’s more difficult to avoid, and 3) the lighting is not great in places which is not ideal when the quality of the surface is poor.
by “the filth in the lanes” do you mean people driving Ford Rangers or are you talking about leaves?
It’s a great idea. I’m not sure I really agree with the lane being wider so that sports cyclists in groups can use it en-masse, mostly on the basis that they already have obligations to not impede traffic to begin with so riding in a huge wide bunch is something they’re generally already not meant to be doing – but more specifically because the wider you make it, the more likely some plonker will try and park in it.
How do car drivers get around the “obligation” not to impede traffic?
I see them impeding traffic all over the city.
You should probably call *555 then.
Impeding traffic – by being traffic – isn’t something *555 would be interested in. But you’re suggesting impeding traffic – by being cyclists, moving swiftly in a bunch – is something that is a problem. I don’t get the difference.
You appear to not know what the word ‘impeding’ means, so perhaps it would be a better use of everyone’s time if we both just moved on.
Here’s the thing,protected cycle lanes are here to stay,society is demanding/expecting it,these “early” rollout will always generate angst. It takes a special kind of politician to score point(votes),using people’s lives as capital.We have entered a new phase in how we move about our city,it’s just going to take some time for our implementors,to get it
Imagine how little self awareness you need to have to not be embarrassed claiming that drivers will be hitting a kerb next to a 3.5m lane and a flush median.
And we should all ignore the quarter of it that doesn’t have a flush median.
We should drive at a speed appropriate to the road.
Quite right, we should celebrate it and get rid of the rest of the flush median, it’ll help focus drivers’ minds on keeping their lane.
I live there and there has been 2-3 cars wrecking tyres on these per week. Not against cycle lanes at all but this was a very dangerous road in my childhood before it was widened and it scares me now. And where do we go when there is an emergency vehicle behind us? Last week a police car was there with sirens blaring and we had nowhere to go to ge tour of the way.
How come the same drivers are able to avoid the steep concrete barrier known as a kerb on the vast majority of the network?
Dawn this is the same on many roads, you may have a open drain ditch, a kerb, footpath or a steep bank on the side of the road. There’s no requirement to pull completely over for emergency services vehicles, the requirement is to go as far left as possible and allow them to pass, which they will easily do in the other lane. Not every road is wide, or has a shoulder etc. – and there is no requirement for there to be.
I’ve been in situations on other roads where I have had to pull into a driveway (whilst driving) to allow the emergency services vehicle past, as the other lane was congested. There’s always some solution, and there’s plenty of scenarios, where emergency vehicles get entirely boxed in (such as solid median busy intersections or one way roads) and have to wait – but that is pretty far from the case here.
Just more evidence they are needed
While i’m not against bike lanes/paths the idea of putting concrete barriers like this on the road is clearly ridiculous not to mention dangerous. What happens if there’s an accident or sudden emergency where a driver has to pull over where do they go into a lane of opposeing traffic,the photo of the bus another example any thought given to the passengers when a bus possibly with standing passengers hits a thing like that. What happens should traffic have to pull over to allow ambulance or fire engines through? Looking at one of your photos there seems more than enough room to put a bike path in off the road entirely instead of just going for the cheap and dangerous option.
What if we took away the barriers and a driver hit and killed a cyclist?
See, I can play the “what if” game too….
KLK, the CAS data shows that there has been 1 cyclist in a minor car v. bike on this road in the 5 years preceding barrier installation vs. 3 cyclists suffering broken bones after hitting the barriers. Your ‘what if’ is very questionable given the barriers seem to be far more of a danger to cyclists than the vehicles that use the road.
That one crash occurred at the roundabout when a cyclists was looking behind for his mates and he crashed into a trailer. The islands wouldn’t have prevented that.
@miffy, I believe there was also a car vs. bike near the Greenhithe Rd intersection, but happy to be corrected if that was not the case or if I have misread the CAS data.
So there has to be a reported incident before somewhere is worthy of protected infrastructure? There’s been plenty of protected infrastructure implemented in places where there have been no incidents. There’s also plenty of places where there have been incidents, which do not have protected / or any infrastructure.
Having incidents is not the benchmark. Its about encouraging less confident riders to ride there, and also adding a layer of protection for existing cyclists, some of whom will be very happy with extra safety. I have seen a number of people express this, its obviously going to be less common, as people tend to vent complaints more than positivity.
My partner can now ride here, they’ve ridden without protection before but now they refuse to due to the experiences they’ve had. They don’t drive either. So what you are saying is, they don’t deserve to travel to the North Shore and should stay at home. Real nice perspective…
I would also add, many crashes happen in entirely new locations, all the time. The lack of crashes doesn’t mean there’s a lack of need to prevent them.
I saw one at Viridian where a car turned right into a cyclist (2018? I think). That turn is still allowed with the islands. There is a 2011 crash at the intersection of Greenhithe Road which predates the painted cyclelanes (2016), again the islands dont stop that occurring. There is also an older one that was a cyclist losing control and going off the road. They have to draw a long bow to claim any of these would be improved by the current changes.
“Your ‘what if’ is very questionable given the barriers seem to be far more of a danger to cyclists than the vehicles that use the road.”
You are the one saying drivers are now an endangered species because of concrete barriers which still provide acres of space through which to pass.
Take a step back here – maybe its the car drivers?
“Having incidents is not the benchmark. Its about encouraging less confident riders to ride there”
You would think it would be obvious, wouldn’t you.
KLK, I’m pretty sure the car drivers didn’t make the cyclists crash into the barriers. Way to miss the point.
You guys know injury-causing bike crashes are underreported by up to 80%, eh? See this NZ study https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14693904/ Also this Canadian one https://www.researchgate.net/publication/314301159_Cycling_safety_Quantifying_the_under_reporting_of_cycling_incidents_in_Vancouver_British_Columbia
So CAS is just the tip of the iceberg and not reliable enough to make claims about the safety or otherwise of a road. (It doesn’t capture near-hits, either.)
Curious Cat, whether or not those studies have any relevance here does not justify ignoring the data we do have that cyclists are injuring themselves on the barriers and that overall accidents are up massively since the installation of the barriers because AT did not properly think things through.
I should also add that Duncan Laidlaw from Bike NZ supported the use of data from CAS at the public meeting to discuss these so it can’t be that bad.
I would also add that he did not know how to read it properly. He thought there had been a lot of bike accidents because there were a lot of dots on the map. When the filters were correctly applied it yielded the same result as an OIA request to NZTA had done… 1 incident in the 5 years before the barriers were installed.
Looking at CAS data has an important place alongside other techniques for determining safety and interventions required. However, for Auckland and in fact NZ’s network, we’ve been building really unsafe infrastructure in general, for decades. So much so that we must now change it quite comprehensively; we must also change our driving culture, including the road rules, speed limits, enforcement regime and general messaging approach around rights and priorities.
The difficulties felt on this stretch of road are a result of two things:
– AT and WK not having overhauled their priorities, so the big buckets of funding are still going to projects that “ease traffic flow” and “increase throughput” instead of to making streets safer and nicer. Thus the teams working on safety of urban streets are having to do so without sufficient funding.
– Changes to the road rules being delayed by cabinet, the Police missing in action, the judiciary making decisions through windshields, and other ‘establishment’ barriers.
Together, these problems mean what is required for this road – reallocation of space and money to create a low speed, people-friendly environment – has not been enabled.
AT does need to shift gear. But locals also need to support the efforts that the under-resourced teams can make within an organisation that is basically dysfunctional.
“clearly ridiculous” doesn’t apply to the concrete barriers. It does apply to some of the other things you’ve said, though…
You’re really just talking about the problems that motor vehicles cause because of their size. Drivers should think about the problem the size of their vehicles pose in an ‘accident or emergency’ before they hop in them. Thinking that in such circumstances, a child on a bike should have to go around their vehicle into the traffic lane is illogical. To use a nice word.
As for a car coming upon a stopped vehicle, having to go into opposing traffic. We have an emergency response service for such situations. People in vehicles have some protection, and should always be driving in a safe manner, expecting they could, at any time, come across such a situation. Until the emergency services arise, people on bikes shouldn’t be the ones put in danger.
Peter N,take my road(gun),lose my vote.
They are a fail from me….restrict the space to ride….trap debris and rubbish….are a hazard if u inadvertently run into them…..total waste of ratepayers money….and yes I ride this road!!!
You know what else opinions are like, right? Yep, everyone’s got one.
Derek, I think you’ll find the vast majority of opinions on this (or at least those of drivers and cyclists in the Greenhithe area) align with Kevin’s
Mark, its not all about people in Greenhithe, this is the only logical route between Central/West/South/East areas of the region and the North Shore.
Plus negativity tends to shine a lot more than anything positive on social platforms. People don’t tend to want to vent positivity or neutrally, just negativity. When comments sections become loaded with that, anyone prepared to respond positively are often scared off too. So that’s why you only see very few or nobody responding neutrally or positively.
This should never be the benchmark for whether or not something is “working” or we will never move forward. Especially if impacts (or claims to impact) particularly dominant groups, such as motorists.
“Derek, I think you’ll find the vast majority of opinions on this (or at least those of drivers and cyclists in the Greenhithe area) align with Kevin’s”
I’ll take international best practice over the self-interests and reckons of people who want to continue to drive poorly and get away with it.
Get real. Even AT admitted that they had “a bit to think about” after getting feedback from the community. No one is disputing the value of cycle lanes (or even some form of separator), just the way that this particular one has been implemented.
I don’t care what international best practice might be, if it results in a ton of accidents and injuries to cyclists, it’s clearly not the appropriate choice on this particular road.
Give it a chance, Mark. Everyone will slow down a bit and take care. Quieter, easier to cross, nicer walking with some distance from the traffic. If you get too outspoken you’ll find it hard to change your mind later.
@mum-of-two… “give it a chance” means overlooking an accident blackspot and letting crashes continue to pile up… that doesn’t seem like a very safe idea to me. Also, I don’t think you understand the specifics here. There will be no material change to road traffic as the level of commute via this route is negligible, and the catchment is really only folks commuting between Hobsonville and Albany. It is certainly no different for pedestrians and unlikely to be in the foreseeable future.
Making drivers stick to their lanes like this should make them slow down. Doing so means the vehicles are quieter. Slower, quieter cars at an enforced distance from the footpath makes for much nicer walking. It is also much easier for people to cross when the crossing distance is effectively shorter and the speeds are slower. This means children can move around more independently, including to the bus stop. This independence is critical for the physical, cognitive, social and emotional development, and denying it is stunting them. And that is not an emotive word, it is what academic researchers have found.
Unfortunately, the work doesn’t go far enough. The flush medians should be replaced, and the street should be given Vision Zero speeds.
The reason the UK has developed good guidance in Gear Change, is that the government were advised that doing things in a half hearted way doesn’t make anyone happy. As I’ve said above, AT needs to shift gear in this way, too, and stop wasting money on business as usual road expansion, so they have money to do this properly.
Just on Sharrows. Really they are only fit for purpose in 30kph zones or less. Where we really need to get to is to have a blanket 30kph zone across all urban areas (yes with shadows) with the only exceptions being those roads with either protected cycle paths. And as an interim measure on roads with higher speed limits than 30kph, have cycle lanes painted on the road, but never between parked cars and moving motor vehicles. This last point is crucial – it should be a general rule that cyclists are never expected to cycle on the outside of parked cars, unless its a really low speed environment (i.e. 30kph or less).
This is what Nelsust (Nelson Transport Strategy Group) submitted to the Nelson Active Transport plan last month. Its really the most crucial thing and can be implemented immediately at very little monetary cost. If people want those car parks to remain in areas with higher than 30kph, then the carparks have to be moved further out to allow cycle paths on the inside. END OF STORY.
I think you missed the point? The sharrows suggestion is for reducing the misplaced abuse towards cyclist who are choosing to be in the general lane whilst the bike lanes are present. As it seems to be a common misconception amongst many motorists that cyclists somehow obligated to be on the infrastructure if its present. I am not suggesting sharrows be the only infrastructure present.
Advanced stop boxes have the bonus of reminding motorists people can cycle there too, but to a lesser extent. We see that on the likes of Tamaki Dr despite safe infrastructure also being present. But that’s not really an option in this case.
I suppose you could use something else like a AT branded “share the road” billboard or two to get a similar affect, but that’s probably going to be pricier than painting something like sharrows. And probably be less effective too.
The second photo where the bike was lying down to show the width of the cycleway. Look like the AT do not care about the cyclists is because look at the state of the cycleway surface compared to the smooth pavement for the vehicles. We deserved to be treated equally.
Also the bumpy surface is not safe and it could make cyclists fall over which will need ACC treatment. The ACC would not like this and one of the ACC motto is “Prevention”
How are they meant to pave it with asphalt now that some plonker stuck several hundred islands in the way?
Maybe learn from places that do this all the time?
MIffy, it’s pathetic. Can you not find something more constructive to do than thread-squat every post with your inane whataboutisms and crotchety grandpa routine?
No. I enjoy this. Someone wants hundreds of islands to improve safety where there has been zero crashes, someone else wants a smooth hot mix surface. At the moment those are mutually exclusive in NZ, a simple fact that was well known before the islands went in. How can you not be amused by this?
Miffy, do you just keep replying without reading what anyone has said to you? Myself and others have mentioned that crashes are not a benchmark for whether or not somewhere should have safe infrastructure.
Sorry to disappoint you Peter but actually the crash record matters for a number of reasons. First is safety. How can you know something is safer if you ignore the data. We know it is better to have a facility that feels unsafe but operates safely than a facility where people feel safe but it is actually dangerous. Perception and reality can differ. The second reason is funding. If you can show a measure improves safety then you can justify it elsewhere and get money to do it. They managed an own goal here by putting barriers in where there were no crashes a barrier could prevent. At best, a before and after will conclude it didn’t make things worse, that isn’t going to attract a bigger budget. Third reason is political. When you piss people off it helps if you can show evidence, most people respond to facts and are suspicious when they are absent. So yes something can have no crashes and still not be safe, but you are better off targeting those things that are unsafe and have a string of reported crashes. But this was more about doing something they thought was easy to do to demonstrate progress rather than improving safety. It was as much for the convenience of the staff doing it as for any outcome.
It is probably worth checking on things that make the barriers hard to see in eg. rain.
On the other hand, it is worth noting that for example the Harbour Bridge has the same flaw — there were no car crashes over the Waitematā before the bridge got built, and now there are.
Or maybe New Zealand drivers are uniquely poorly skilled and we’ve reached a limit on what they can handle.
If there have been too many cycle accidents then maybe the cycle lane is too narrow? Fortunately there’s a large flush median that could be removed to make the cycle lanes wider.
Miffy, I never said the crash record doesn’t matter. I said they should not be a benchmark for whether or not areas should have safe infrastructure.
Definitely if the crash record shows there is an increase in cycling incidents context to conflict with motorists, then for sure – prioritise that for new infrastructure.
In this case, the project AT are doing, is making existing infrastructure safer across Auckland. Not completely new infrastructure. So that’s hardly relevant.
I could also get into the fact that the vast majority of occurrences probably do not make it into CAS, I highly doubt any of mine have. But that’s a whole other issue, I have already made the point, as have others. But you are recycling the same messaging over and over without taking into account what anyone else has said, hence what I said before.
Peter maybe that is because you haven’t said one single thing here that would make a reasonable person change there mind.
YAWN. Miffy dude this is just a very long winded version of the hoary old argument “no need for a bridge since no one is swimming across these shark-infested waters”
Nonsense. 1/ There was already a bike lane that was working well. 2/ The new stuff can’t improve on the crash record of what was there. 3/ The new islands will likely reduce safety for other users and result in more crashes overall. 4/ The money could have been spent where there is actually a problem- like for example at the Albany Highway end where cyclists have to take unacceptable risks every day. Stop trying to defend the indefensible and consider the opportunity costs.
miffy, this is unprofessional and simply shows that you’re not keeping abreast of the field in which you are working. You are using the wrong metrics, and are pursuing an argument that is not evidence-based. If your professional body actually upheld its ethical conduct requirements you would have had to face the reality before now.
The bike lane wasn’t working well. It didn’t offer safe cycling for all ages.
Easy, get a new machine for the cycleway. There will be hundred km of cycleway and it will be a good investment.
It’s also quite misleading. For much of the road, the lane is 900mm as opposed to the 1600mm that AT claims, and is illustrated in the very selectively chosen picture above.
This post entirely misses the point. The reason there is such major objection to the installation of the barriers is that they have turned the road into a serious accident blackspot with at least 3 cyclists suffering broken bones (vs. 1 minor injury to a cyclist in the preceding FIVE YEARS as per CAS data) and typically 2-3 car vs. barrier incidents per week. If AT were not exempt from Worksafe they would be in court by now.
This was previously a route that was quite happily and safely shared by cars and bikes with minimal issues from either. Now, many cyclists actively avoid the route because there is minimal margin for error when cycling given the narrow lane width in places (90mm) and it is not possible to ride two abreast. It is not just “competitive cyclists” either. Elderly locals who used to enjoy e-biking here have now stopped using it for similar reasons. Perversely AT has had the effect of both reducing cyclist numbers on Upper Harbour Drive and making it less appealing to a wide range of cyclists!
The only folks I have heard in support of it are those who either don’t actually live anywhere near here and will never use it, and two locals, plus a couple more in Hobsonville Point who like the idea of a separated lane, but again will never use it because it’s too hard getting up the hill. This compares to hundreds against it.
This opinion piece has been written in a highly biased manner, and I also note that in numerous places the width of the cycle lane is 90mm and not the 160mm that AT claim (interestingly the author appears to have taken the picture of the bike across the lane at the widest point). The fact is, at present there are around 3x as many pedestrians walking/running on Upper Harbour Drive as there are cyclists using the cycle lane, so clearly it has discouraged cycle use rather than encouraged it.
This is the problem we have with it – we don’t like the fact AT has turned our road and cycle lane into an accident blackspot while simultaneously DISCOURAGING cyclists. We liked the cycle lane. We have no issue with the principle of some sort of separation. We have a massive issue with AT’s terrible execution. Wrap your head around that one before you start labelling us car-loving bike-haters, thanks.
There we go, the old ‘our road’ argument.
Did you build it and therefore it is your road?
I’ve ridden along there for 15+ years, sometimes in a bunch, most of the time solo or with 1-2 others on my commute to work.
There was room to ride two abreast before, and there is still room to ride two abreast now.
It’s much better like it is now.
If there is an issue with a driver hitting the barrier, surely that is a wakeup call that persons driving needs some serious improvement.
Actually I said “our road and cycle lane”.
You have not refuted the fact that AT have made it an accident blackspot in the name of “safety”. They would be in front of Worksafe if they were not exempt.
There is no way you can safely ride two abreast in the sections that measure 900mm wide (and that includes the gutter).
Try again with sensible arguments please – “it’s much better” is an unsupported opinion.
Why the attitude @ma ?
Im a cyclist and commute into the city, the attitudes of cyclists towards motorists is incredibly off putting, Cycling seems to attack people with anti society attitudes. From what I see, most don’t care that much about cycling and more about the political battle.
I want to see HOW the cycling community can actually get along better with the motoring community. But all the cycling organizations just want a political battle.
You attitude poorly reflects on cyclists.
“We liked the cycle lane”
Sub-optimal, did not expose poor driving, remained hostile to new riders.
Of course you did.
So you want to cause accidents to prove a point? That seems a bit wrong…
Mark, cars do not share the road,they dominate any space ,to the virtual exclusion of all else.
That sounds like a very anti-car attitude to me. Perhaps you have never ridden this road. I have never seen any incidents of ill-will between drivers and cyclists in my 5 years here. I have had more incidents of just about getting cleaned out by cyclists while running up Upper Harbour Bridge or along Tamaki Drive.
Its pretty accurate, not anti-car. Nobody is saying remove cars, I am cyclist and a motorist. I rely on my car for work. Even though I drive a bit more often than I cycle at present, I can very clearly see how cars dominate the road space. Also how careless many of the drivers are, both when I am driving and when cycling.
I can’t even remember the last time I’ve seen a bike run a red light when I am driving, but almost every day a motorist is. Yet somehow people on socials dwell on that?
I give riders a big birth, many other motorists pass them like they are not even there. When opening my car door, I do a dutch reach, whilst many other motorists just open their door straight into on-coming cars, or worse bikes!
Cars driving down the wrong side of the road to skip queues, parking in the bike lanes, driving down the footpath or berm to skip the lights. I see at least one of these things every few days.
Theres also tonnes of people on their phone while they are driving, how are they expected to see anyone when they are staring at that instead of the road, they will go straight though you. Even at a Zebra crossing recently I stopped for a small child to cross, meanwhile lady in a white SUV, iPhone in hand, comes from behind screaming on the breaks nearly hitting my car into the child.
When cycling on the NW across the cycle road crossings, people don’t give way, I have had people stop inches from me mid crossing, and one even bump me. Hell even at the signalised crossing I recently saw someone post someone scream through the red light (red for over a minute), slightly hitting the cyclist and just inches from the pedestrian whom was also crossing.
This kind of stuff is happening all the time. I could spend all day listing stuff I alone see on the daily, and I am not even out there that much, and can’t see everything at once.
Like, what, is wrong with you if you cycle, are you just in some kind of little bubble, disregarding what’s going on around you? I honestly can’t relate, unless you’re just trolling or something.
Peter, that’s a very poor argument. The logical extension of that is that we should wall off the footpaths too. Are you suggesting we need to do that? If you see that many sources of risk to you as a cyclist then why are you still riding?
I repeat, the evidence shows that there are MORE injuries to cyclists from the barriers, than occurred from sharing the road for YEARS prior to installation. You can have all the theories in the world about what might be nice and what some international expert says but the hard evidence shows that AT have made a poor choice in their approach here.
You seem to have conveniently ignored the fact that a number of cyclists who use this road for a variety of reasons have commented on this post that they do not like the barriers either and preferred the old set-up. Another group that AT has ignored when actually they would’ve been one of the best sources of input. How much more evidence do you need that AT actually haven’t thought very hard about the set-up on UHD and need to revisit it?
Incidentally I see bikes run red lights quite often. I have just about been mown down several times crossing Quay St by cyclists ignoring the specific red light for the cycle path. There are bad cyclists and bad drivers. I suspect the proportions of each are similar, and a relatively small proportion of the overall population of each.
The reason you say you can’t relate is because you are not prepared to acknowledge views different to yours, you appear to be living in some cyclist bubble of “all drivers are evil”. That is understandable if you have had some bad experiences. I do not think all cyclists are evil because a few might have almost crashed into me on the footpath or when I was crossing the road. None of this changes the actual evidence about the impact these barriers have had on users of Upper Harbour Drive, and the drastic (and sadly ironic) reduction in safety.
As for me, I’m not disputing the value of cycle lanes, I get that in some cases physical separation is a good idea, I am saying that this particular configuration on this particular road is a complete disaster. You do get that’s my point right?
What is a poor argument? Footpaths are already raised off the road level, motorists don’t generally move into them whilst in motion, except slowly to park, or on the odd occasion I’ve seen them mount them to skip queues. This project isn’t for protecting footpaths, which already have that light protection of being raised. Nothing is perfect when it comes to this sort of thing, at some point its going to come down to enforcement, but that doesn’t mean reduction doesn’t help.
What evidence shows more injuries to cyclists? Some people hitting them because they were not paying attention? If I derped out and went straight at a raised-island-style roundabout instead of around it, and hit it, and several other people did the same – is that evidence to remove the roundabout? No. Perhaps some more reflectors, or signage may help people see it. But there’s also a point where it just comes down to being responsible too. Something you learn pretty quickly cycling around here, one wrong move and you can slip over on a metal cover, or slippery bridge / painted markings etc. Suppose we should remove all that too then?
As we have bleated on about several times, its not about people already using it, its about the much bigger crowd who are not. My partner can now travel with me through here, other people have also said they will now feel safe travelling here where they wouldn’t before. That’s the goal. Not satisfying people who already ride it, for whom there is either minimal or no adjustment needed.
I am not in any bubble that “all drivers are evil”, I drive, as mentioned before, probably more than I cycle, due to work requirements. So I believe myself to be evil too? No! But I drive like I am on egg-shells, but at the required speeds. As everyone should be. I personally did not before I cycled – cringe looking back. But most drivers are in this lack of awareness state – its very obvious, both when I drive or cycle. Are you going to tell me that all motorists are perfect or something? That seems to be what you are trying to suggest. I on the other hand have not suggested that on behalf of cyclists, pedestrians or other vulnerable road users.
I don’t get your point. At all. What is your point? This article nullifies the vast majority of the points, then further in this comment section. Yet rinse and repeat the same fallacies keep on churning.
Mark, care to explain why nearly every hit stick at the Albany highway end has been hit (several smashed off, one in the gutter today), why in the morning before they were there cars backed up to turn left queued in the cycle lane?
A 90 mm cycle lane. Really? Is it for the little folk?
Apologies – should have said 900mm. Still almost half as wide as AT claim it is.
The article doesn’t miss the point; it very much helps further the conversation in the right direction.
We need to turn the safety crisis around and to decarbonise transport by 2030. That’s only 7.5 years. This is possible; analysis shows what is required, which is a transformation of the system. Luckily, a rapid transformation is what the GPS instructs the sector to do, so it’s a matter of ramping up action fast.
Moves to make transport systems more sustainable are often resisted by some people who don’t like change, but in the end we realise that the voices were only ever the vocal minority. The results then speak for themselves. Changing ugly stroads into people-friendly streets ends up being very popular. AT need to go further, yes. As the system improves, we will enjoy the reduced speeds, the better transport options, and the better opportunity for social interaction and for all ages active transport.
“Further the conversation” is such a disingenuous way of saying “advance the agenda that I want”. And presumably having to call tow trucks and ambulances out results in more carbon emissions rather than less.
Interesting you make a point about visuals, have you even ridden along this road? The barriers look absolutely fugly against this backdrop.
Frankly your assertion of a vocal minority being against these is ridiculous too and a childish way of minimising legitimate criticisms. I assure it’s a very vocal majority against them. The community is irate for the reasons I have outlined. Come along to Greenhithe for a chat if you like. Part of the frustration is that it seems like the agenda of a small minority has driven the implementation of these without any consultation undertaken with users or residents.
“Agenda I want”, nope the agenda the people want, ratified by the representatives they elected:
They have 7 years to get cycle mode share to 7%, with the progress over the last 7 years being painfully slow, it isn’t going to happen with a continued laissez faire approach. “Radically” reallocating space for safe cycling, so there’s an actual connected network is really the only approach that’s going to meet that target.
The barriers are dangerous for all road users and are causing accidents as they are too low and should be continuous instead of segmented and higher or not exist at all. Because if a car clips the front end of a barrier with a wheel head on it will lose all steering control and veer off into the footpath or even roll onto a padestrian
Im a cyclist and I think they are one of the dumbest feats of road engineering ive ever seen.
Why has this not been a problem in all the other places the concrete tim-tams have been installed around Auckland? New Lynn, Beach Road, Nelson street, etc
I think they are good I always ride my bike but the other day while riding I saw a car drive over a curb :/ so maybe they need to be higher? At least a meter. so I guess they make people feel safer which is good so more people will ride. Just don’t stop the cars from hitting you. That’s alright though because I usually ride into cars but a car has never driven into me. It’s because Im going fast and then the car turns/ pulls out. Next they should do great south road.
Miffy has a number of good points, as a regular user of the road. It’s not the same all the way along it, so there are a few places that still need improving. But the main issue is that people, especially vehicle drivers, need to accept that this isn’t the State Highway any more – there’s a motorway. But it is still the only cycle route to the Upper Harbour Bridge (yes, there’s more to do especially at the Albany Highway end). If the plans for the Pop-Up lane had been developed soon enough, AT might have gone straight to 50 km/h speed limit, which probably should be done now.
The difficulties that the Police have talked about arise from their current need to chase drivers going way too fast for even 70 km/h limit. If drivers can be persuaded to drive at a sensible speed for what the road is now supposed to be used for, most of the problems should go away. Club cyclists can then probably travel in a group in the general lane, if they are not held up by cars driving at 50 k. And for Miffy and those others that might drive as much as 2km along Upper Harbour Drive to get to their home – driving at 50 k instead of 70 k will add up to a whopping 17 seconds to their commute. (Hint: nobody needs to drive the full length of Upper Harbour Drive unless they are emptying bins – there’s a motorway.)
We used to worry about the location of the nose of every traffic island that went in. Kerbs are designed to be hit obliquely not at 90-degrees otherwise they do what is shown in the bus photo. Every island has to have an end that faces traffic so we try to offset them from the travel path, mark them with paint and reflectors and make sure every nose is lit at night. But now the Vogons just get them glued them down by the dozen, seemingly without a care. They could have poured continuous kerbs for this and it would have been safer for all users.
The real problem is they are installing things because they are able to rather than because they are needed for a particular problem. The money for this could have built a new cycle lane somewhere else.
Hopefully we can take the best of the recent transport planning era, and put it to good use. But clearly, given the health, environmental and safety outcomes, there’s a lot that we need to simply walk away from.
How easy is it to pour a continuous kerb? I would imagine it cause some issues when it rains.
If its about safety, why when AT resurfaces roads does it quite often end up narrowing them and leaving a large lip of tarseal. Id much rather the money be spent on addressing ACTUAL trouble spots rather than areas that are actually quite safe. If there is space for a concrete separator then there is PLENTY of space for cyclists.
AT recently resurfaced Brigham creak road from Riverhead highway to Whenuapai, both ends of this section have cyclelanes, BUT AT narrowed the road which was already pretty narrow, and left a large lip of tarmac the entire length.
When I questioned AT on this, the response was, oh, you shouldnt cycle there.!
WHY are the funds available for Upper Harbour drive which is quite safe already, and ZERO funds available for spots that are actually unsafe?
How for example does one cycle from Whenuapai to the westgate cycleway to the city?
Why didn’t anyone think about making one cycle lane in both directions on one side or the other side of the road then only half the concrete barriers would of been needed and the road would only need remarking, surely this would also be a cheaper option and it would if reduced half the issues. Theres only one cycle Lane on the Greenhithe bridge?
Bi-directional cycleways are rarely the best solution, as they pose risks from drivers only looking in the direction they are expecting cars from, rather than looking either way for people on bikes.
International guidelines are not to use them at all; whether that’s the true of everywhere in Auckland isn’t clear, but it is certainly not a design appropriate to this road.
Funnily enough AT hadn’t thought very hard about a design appropriate for this road full stop.
You’ve made an assumption about how much thought went into it, and how much that thought needed to be compromised by car dependent upper management. Your assumption was wrong.
Heidi, clearly you feel the need to have the last word on everything but again you’ve missed the point. AT completely failed to consult with cyclists or other road users when installing these barriers. There are plenty of cyclists ON THIS THREAD that said they preferred the old setup. Had AT bothered to ask, we might have been able to spend $1.7m sensibly rather than resulting in dozens of avoidable car and cycle accidents. Stop blindly defending AT. Do you work for AT?
Mark, don’t be so rude. This site is an evidence-based one, and we don’t like to leave comments that are misleading or based on misinformation unanswered.
Consultation isn’t something that AT are doing democratically; they need to explain much more to the public that local changes that impact networks and wider safety, are not local decisions.
That lip is because they don’t mill out the old surface before they put down the new seal.
It follows then that the new seal will always be higher than the gutter
So,if this road was narrowed ,say to reduce speeds to assist with complying with Vision Zero,would there be the same vitriol. If it was narrowed to allow on road parking,what then?
I love this point Bryan, your exactly right, my road is laid out similar, there’s parked cars on each side, so people are half in the general lane and half in the median, pretty much constantly. Its an arterial and way busier than UHD. Nobody is calling for the car parking to be banned. Makes you wonder huh?
There’s a few occasional careless drivers that have taken off my guests wing mirrors because they can’t judge their vehicles footprint very well. I guess that’s the equivalent. But as usual, cars fine… however anything for bicycles, its time to have a big hoo-ha! NZs toxic car culture on full view.
It won’t be narrowed to remove on-road parking because there is no on-road parking. That was all removed to implement the original cycle lane several years ago.
It’s actually not physically possible to narrow this road any further in places. The stretch between 330-390 Upper Harbour Drive, thanks to the barriers, is now barely wide enough to support two-way traffic if a truck or bus is coming in the opposite direction.
Peter, you’re not helping when you talk about ‘toxic car culture’, you’re kind of showing your true colours as someone who wants a bike solution “at all costs”. Cars are a necessity here in Greenhithe. Buses only cover about half of this road anyway, and even then they’re a completely impractical solution for going to the supermarket, or taking the kids to various sports on a Saturday morning. You will get a lot further if you stop coming at this from such an ideologically driven standpoint and start engaging around practical solutions that work for a majority of road users.
Car culture is a well-researched obstacle to environmental and social progress; a strand of the political economy of car dependence that we need to overhaul if we are going to stop further decimation of the natural environment.
Whenever people say ‘cars are a necessity in xyz’ it is worth thinking through what that means for the 35 – 40% of the population who don’t drive. It leaves them as second class citizens, without freedom or dignity.
Your giving up on sustainable transport options for your neighbours is anti-social. It’s also completely unnecessary. But perhaps you simply don’t understand the damage being done to children and others, through a lack of independent mobility?
Peter is helping in many different ways to transform the system to give choices and dignity to everyone. Don’t lecture to him about ideology. Because your views are stemming from the dominant narrative you don’t seem aware of the critical need to question them.
Agree with this Heidi. Comments on the removal of the pop up bike lane in Glen Eden, for example, often state that ” no one rides here”. I do wish people would sometimes look deeper – Why do people not ride a bike and is this actually what you want for your community, a place that is so off putting to all but a few that it is accepted as how it should be.
Yes. And, as you’ll fully understand, AT would be helping people to understand exactly this if Ellison hadn’t disbanded the cycling and walking team, and if that team had been supported to grow. Now, while it’s crucial that we attempt to try to help the new team, we must also aim to get the upper management overhauled so that lack of support from within, and lack of priority for safety, doesn’t remain such an ongoing problem.
Heidi, spare me the lecture. There is NO public transport option within 2km of my house. I am not cycling to the supermarket 5km away to collect groceries for my entire family. I can only assume that you live in a higher density area with supermarkets and any other activities with a short distance because what you are suggesting is entirely detached from reality for many families. If you somehow think concrete barriers on a cycle lane will magically solve all of the problems you describe then you are on another planet.
Mark, I am curious to understand why you think it’s OK to criticise me for ‘lecturing’ you and then follow up with a “can’t do” comment like that. Transforming the transport system to give people who live in places like yours sustainable options is critical for liveability and equity. It’s also not just possible, it’s more affordable. Continuing to sprawl and serve cars only is the most expensive way forward. We can do better for our kids.
Concrete barriers are an incremental step, not a magical solution. For the full solution, we need people to adopt a “can-do” attitude, and to start fixing the situation for the people with the fewest options first; the children, elderly, disabled and non-drivers.
These barriers are a disaster,driving along Massey rd in the dark and raining, they were impossible to see ,I drove over one causing $1200 worth of damage to my vehicle.Lots of the ones in Manukau have deep scars where cars have run over them,causing massive damage to vehicles.Why can’t they be made of rubber and each one have a vertical pole as a warning as they have in the UK.Around the city people are allowed to zoom around the pavements on motorized scooters.Why aren’t cyclists allowed to use the pavements?
“Because international best practice says”.
Seriously that’s the only reason that the proponents of these barriers have been able to produce.
The funny thing about that is that if you google “Denmark cycle lanes”, most of the pictures are of cycle lanes with no separation from the road, or separate bike paths (a la the new part of Tamaki Drive).
I don’t know why we couldn’t use some sort of more practical solution like you suggest either.
Strange that the vast majority of people are not hitting them, perhaps people need to remember they aren’t in a self driving car.
Could be worse, if you hit the cyclist that would could have been there instead of a barrier, you would have done $1200… oh wait – killed someone.
How can you not see a giant bloody concrete barrier man, what if there was some giant rocks which fell off the back of a truck, suppose you’d hit those too?
Maybe fit better lights to your car, make sure your windscreen is clear, get your vision checked – if you still can’t see it. Then maybe that’s a situation where you should pull over, instead of proceeding somewhere that you can’t see. I’ve been in fog that bad before.
Like people seem to come up with some of the most insane crap I swear, I have avoided tiny fluffy animals crossing rural roads with no streetlights in the middle of the night while I’m going 100km/h, usually with success. Never have I once been, “what did I hit? Omg”.
Yet you have trouble seeing a giant concrete finger whilst doing 50-60km/h? Yeah sure buddy, pigs can fly.
What is it with many NZ drivers and not admitting that they suck at driving, instead its everyone else’s fault.
Today and yesterday was a good indication of the lack of common sense of a lot of drivers. Count how many cars were driving through this fog with absolutely no lights on.
You’re starting to sound extremely sanctimonious Peter. Does it not concern you that AT have singlehandedly created an accident blackspot in the name of “safety”? Does that not suggest that they should have thought a bit more carefully about their approach here?
AT’s creation of danger spots has been in their intersection and road widening, that’s happening all over the city, and in their use of flush medians, which are extremely unsafe, and their refusal to reallocate them, or traffic lanes or parking lanes to proper walking and cycling facilities. If you are interested in improving safety, you could join the advocates in demanding they do so.
It will require you to overhaul your thinking, however, on what needs to be done wherever cars are “a necessity” or buses are “completely impractical”. Cars are inherently dangerous. Using the bus, walking or cycling, are all modes that are orders of magnitude safer than driving is, in terms of the danger posed to other people.
This means, fundamentally, that if you have any integrity in your claim to being interested in safety, you will welcome in all the changes required to make walking, cycling and taking the bus easier than driving is, even in your neighbourhood.
Heidi, again you’re ignoring the evidence that is right in front of you. Dozens of accidents involving cars and cyclists have happened BECAUSE OF THE BARRIERS. No one is challenging the cycle lane. If you do not see the problem people have with that then I suggest you go have a very hard think.
Heidi, cars are dangerous, bikes are dangerous, trucks are dangerous, footpaths are dangerous too. Again, taking what you say to its logical conclusion, no one should ever leave their house ever. You are in fairyland.
No, Mark, these barriers aren’t creating a crash hazard elsewhere. The crashes were happening due to the lack of reflectors, and if they’re still happening, it’ll probably be because the speeds are too high. That needs changing, and there are multiple ways to do so.
Safety experts disagree with you that one should ignore the relative dangers imposed by different modes when designing the system. The relative danger of the driving mode is absolutely one of the key reasons for requiring us to radically reduce our driving mode share.
Something to improve the visibility of the stealth bollocks would be great. The cones work quite well.
So by that logic you would be hitting dozens of pedestrian refuges, traffic islands, pot holes and debris every time you traversed Auckland by car.
Hope you weren’t one of those people complaining about how many cones there are in Auckland, because we are probably going to have to start swimming in them, just to keep you satisfied.
Maybe its time to try another mode?
Finished ones are white with a red reflector…
Thanks Peter N, good read.
I’ve not ridden the road in question – im from the deepest south, but i’ve been watching all the commentary on it. Like the reply’s in this forum – much anger and dissent.
Im sure cycle infrastructure could be wider, better, safer, funner – but this is a huge step from great south road. I’d consider taking my kids along it. GSR – only if i hated them.
Seems the problem to me is the Craig Lord windup – and how easy a target vulnerable road users are. It speaks to who we are as a people. We have a long ride ahead.
What a massive waste of money. I cycle quite often and have never felt unsafe riding on upper harbour. The unsafe part is crossing from upper harbour onto albany highway heading towards glenfield!! Theres no safe crossing for cyclists or padestrians going in that direction which is very frustrating. If there were I would ride to work in wairau or to the bus station in sunnynook but its just too dangerous and not worth the risk every day. There’s not even a direct route along the motorway for a cycle or walking lane to get to constellation drive. You have to take a massive detour around all the busy main roads which is a waste of time as a commuter. There are so many other areas that could have been improved instead of upper harbour drive to make everyones lives easier. Ive also seen 3 other vehicle crashes since the barriers went in that are not featured on this page. Also the barriers increase danger for cyclists as when the front wheels of the vehicle collide with the barrier the momentum of the car then actually angles into the cycle lane and the car ends up going over the barrier into the lane. If you have a vehicle with a high centre of gravity as well then the vehicle could actually roll over into the lane completely. Any one on the footpath or in the cycle lane at the time will be crushed. Even at 50km/h. Where if the barriers did not exist it gives the driver of the vehicle a chance to swerve away in order to avoid the accident. This is jist basic physics. The 3 crashes ive seen so far all ended up stuck on the barriers and partially into the cycle lane. Its only a matrer of time before a van, truck or high sided suv hits one of these and rolls doing substantial damage to people or property. The engineering behind this was really not well thought out or planned and as a result they have actually created a scenario even more dangerous.
All these idiots saying: ‘its the drivers!’ ‘They should just drive better!’ Ummmm yeaaah. Do you have an actual solution for that? Pretty sure that anything involving humans is going to have a degree of human error and theres going to be idiots on the road. And theres nothing any of you can do about that!! But designing a road to mitigate and reduce the effects of human error is the job of AT and they just really have not done that. Evidently. There needs to be better planning. Not this half arsed approach to safety. Focusing on more dangerous areas and increasing the number of cycle lanes and connecting areas that were inaccessible before would be far more logical.
Uh yeah, there’s something that will make people drive better, consequences. Driving in the cycle lane will now munt your car instead of there being no consequence. Better enforcement by Police of speeding, close passing and sitting on mobile phones will also help. A better driver licencing system perhaps too.
“mitigate and reduce the effects of human error is the job of AT”
Thats exactly what they have done here.
Also, talking about planning / design… why? This isn’t new infrastructure, its just upgrade on existing being tacked on around Auckland, none of that is part of this – which is why its value for money and getting done now, rather than when we all have grey hair.
I use this road on my daily commute to work. I wasn’t aware there was a public meeting and a fuss. I’m disappointed some local land holders don’t consider this change positive, like I don’t matter to them.
It seems few are happy with this cut-price compromise. People understand kerbs, but seem vexed by these islanded versions.
Next time maybe grade separated cycle lanes on both sides and suck in that median-strip gut for traffic calming.
I guess the problem is that you can hit the separators heads-on.
As an alternative, Copenhagen was able to put slightly raised bicycle lanes on a lot of streets. I guess that is a bit more involved than laying down these separators. But they did this on a large scale and were quite successful.
I went for a cycle ride along Upper Harbour Drive to see for myself. Personally I think the separators are an improvement. It’s a busy road, with lots of vans and utes; I don’t want to “share” with them and neither do most people. The separators are not “hard to see” and the traffic lanes are just as wide as before. Drivers are always cutting the corners off painted lanes. Kerb protection means that the impact is absorbed by the car’s tyre and suspension, not by the hapless cyclist trying to get where they’re going.
Is there room for improvement? Yes…and that room comes from the colossal hatched median that extents along most of the road’s length. It’s a relic from when this road was a strategic, semi-rural road, with a 70 km/h speed limit. It’s now a suburban connector so should have a 50 km/h limit, with geometry to match.
The other main failing, which is beyond the scope of the separators, is the design of the major intersections en-route, like the T-junction with Greenhithe Road. This retains its rural, drive-your-truck-quickly-round-the-corner geometry, while the northbound cycleway basically disappears. Even worse is the intersection with Albany Highway, which is absolutely diabolical. https://www.google.com/maps/@-36.7605758,174.7063879,3a,75y,22.94h,88.63t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1suSDeiy4eyJ_mJW_X2lt6Hg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192
Upper Harbour Drive is better for the separators, but safer intersections and onward connections are needed because the existing layouts are deathtraps.
Yeah back in the day when that was still the SH1 / SH18 intersection. You can still see the sticker over the state highway shield on one of the road signs.
It seems they got in trouble at Greenhithe Road because there is also a bus stop.
Google Streetview actually captured the work in progress: https://goo.gl/maps/ERKFQFdK5VtdcY7P7
It seems that they were indeed quite conservative at intersections.
Does the final state still have the little Keep Left signs that are on the traffic cones in these views?
Right, so Cuthill Corner actually was the equivalent of what now exists (and is being expensively upgraded) at Constellation. No wonder it is so awful if you’re not in a car!
The now entirely non-strategic nature of this intersection should warrant a major road diet. That, and the fact that it it’s objectively dangerous. Auckland doesn’t deserve rubbish like this.
Currently traveling the States, hardly the cycling mecca of the world and every City visited has seperated cyclelanes everywhere and I’m pretty sure the only country of the many many I’ve visited that has a flush median is New Zealand. Better idea would be to make it a 30 kmh road with speed cameras, get rid of the seperated cycle lane then everyone wins. No more crashy crashy and people drive much good-er.
NZ is going backwards and its really sad to see the rest of the world leave us so far behind in almost every aspect.
Yeah we waste so much road space to flush medians in Auckland, all so 0.1% of people can turn down their driveway.
For shops, or busy intersections/high speed roads that’s fine, but for more of the urban area its a giant waste of space often covered with particles because its so rarely travelled in.
Not a good idea to remove the separated cycle lane. It’s a busy through-road. You just need one ute driver to behave like an aggressive prat and a pleasant cycle ride turns into something seriously nasty that puts people off cycling.
Widening the cycle lanes, though? Now that would be a great idea, and eminently possible with a lower speed limit and narrower traffic lanes.
I note the protection they are putting in on Ian Mckinnon Dr is being placed inside the cycle lane, narrowing the cycle lane rather than any narrowing of the (very wide) general traffic lanes.
Can be hard to tell from a photo but looks like the cycle lane will be much narrower that those pictured above.
Mods, any chance of removing this please? Maybe we just have to live with comments being full of oddly similar talkback-adjacent talking points but I think we should draw the line at ones that are pushing harmful conspiracy theories.
As a cyclist who has ridden that route 474 times I can tell you that it’s actually more dangerous having to remain in a tightly constrained lane. Occasionally you need to go around something that’s in the lane. E.g. a large stone, extremely slippery wet surface or branch that’s fallen in a storm. Usually a cyclist in this situation would scan ahead, see the obstacle, and deviate onto the road temporarily. With the barriers there there’s no other choice other than to crash painfully. With the barriers there it’s a difficult choice. Should I risk riding in the lane and accept I’m going to get hurt from time to time? Should I take things into my own hands and ride in the vehicle lane? P.s. Does this road need such a massive medium strip? Perhaps this could be replaced with a double white line? By doing this the barrier could be moved over another 0.5m and improve the experience for cyclists, perhaps even allowing passing.
It’s called brakes, as you say you scan ahead to look out for things, you can then get the object out of the way for other riders. You should be able to stop in less than the visible distance ahead of you, just like vehicle drivers should.
Generally speaking though, can’t believe this is more dangerous than before. A cyclist is no match for a wondering bus or truck.
Drivers: “the idea of putting concrete barriers like this on the road is clearly ridiculous not to mention dangerous”
Also drivers: “we need slip lanes”
Rode there last weekend and was horrified to see they seem to be placing them on the south going direction as well. At least as you go towards Albany it’s uphill and cycling speeds are lower. I have regularly had to swirve out of that cycle land (without barriers) to avoid overgrowning plants and debris in the unprotected cycle lane, which is more of an issue on that side. Guess I’m going to be forced into riding in the now much narrower actual road with the cars. The photos shown in the post of a bike laying endways making it look like there is a lot of room does not represent the entire cycleway either. It being much narrower in a number of places. Ofen in conjunction with some patches of very rough seal.
Here’s the Auckland Transport Upper Harbour Cycleway Redesign community participation session 2 on YouTube:https://youtu.be/GskT_tf5tws