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Traffic infringements in NZ

Along with the article about red light running yesterday the Herald also ran a story yesterday with the headline of 10,000 fined for no helmet, some get speeding tickets. With the two articles combined its almost as if they were trying to paint all cyclists in a bad light as law breakers. 10,000 fines issued for not wearing a helmet might seem like a lot. Just to put things in perspective the Ministry of Transport say that helmet use is at 93% nationwide – that’s similar to the number of people that wear seatbelts. Today there are more cycling articles in the paper and in one the bus union leader peddling another perennial favourite in this debate – that cyclists should be registered. But motor vehicles are registered, surely that must surely mean they all obey the rules?

I’m not here to argue about the use of helmets or to defend those that don’t wear them. What the helmet article did though was get me thinking about how many infringements were issued to other road users. Thankfully this is a question that had been asked last year by one of our readers and the data he obtained shows the number of all traffic offences issued for the year 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012. All up (including the 10,000 for not wearing a helmet) there were a massive 1,615,741 infringements issued. So what were they all for?

Here are some of the common offences infringements are issued for.

  • Parking offences – 7,000 (note this is only parking offences issued by the police).
  • Driving while using a mobile phone – 11,700
  • Alcohol or Drugs related – 30,500
  • Intersection issues (i.e. failing to stop at a stop sign or traffic light) – 44,800
  • Not wearing a seatbelt or not having a child correctly restrained – 58,000
  • Car Registration issues – 122,600
  • Warrant of Fitness issues – 125,300
  • Driver licencing issues – 196,400
  • And the biggest one of them all …… Speeding – 918,400

There are some big numbers in there, especially the speeding number. I guess vehicle registration really helped stop people breaking the road rules.

Some might try to argue that the lower number of overall cycling offences recorded is just a reflection that fewer people cycle. A quick analysis using the MoTs data about vehicle km’s travelled and cycle km’s travelled suggests that on a per km basis, cyclists travel further between infringements that other drivers do – one infringement every 28,000 km’s for cycling and every 25,000 km’s for driving. Another way to look at it is that cycling makes up 1.4% of all transport trip legs but only 0.7% of all issued traffic infringements. Suggestions by some that we should only look to improve cycling infrastructure once cyclists start obeying the law perhaps need to take a look at the full picture first. No one group is perfect and mistakes will be made. As I said yesterday the only thing we can do is to try and build our city so that if a mistake is made then they don’t have to pay for it with their life.

I also think that the comments made by Michael Barnett of the Chamber of Commerce were very good in this regard – even though he was also using the incident to push for the motorway to be extended to the port.

Chamber chief Michael Barnett says an Auckland Transport survey showing many cyclists running red lights does not excuse a lack of action on projects to protect them and other road users – especially large trucks – from each other.

Lastly the reader who obtained the traffic incident data above grouped it and compared it with the number of accidents that caused an injury. There were 9545 injuries in total and here are the results he came up with.

Injuries vs Infringments

66 comments to Traffic infringements in NZ

  • Also, according to the NZ Transport Agency’s latest report “Cyclist Crash Facts”, cyclists had primary responsibility in only 23% of fatal or serious injury accidents between cars and bicycles. They had “some responsibility” in another 14%, and there was “NO CYCLIST FAULT IDENTIFIED” in 64%. Cyclists are being seriously injured and killed by cars and trucks through no fault of their own. Thankfully it’s only 1 death per 2 million hours of cycling, so still a relatively safe activity.

    http://www.transport.govt.nz/research/crashfacts/cyclistcrashfacts/

  • Luke E

    This is the kind of facts-based reporting the Herald sorely lacks. Thank goodness for Transportblog!

  • Ari

    Good post Matt. Need to keep things in perspective for the public. Car drivers are no saints when it comes to breaking the road rules and a hell of a lot more dangerous to everyone else on the road than some guy on a bike.

  • Anthony.Blomfield

    Yes thank you transportblog again and, I agree with Luke

  • Nick

    I’ve had a few interesting conversations with friends and colleagues recently about cyclists, and its amazing how many subscribe to the “They shouldn’t be on the roads / don’t pay road tax ” views, and these are generally well educated intelligent people whose views I usually agree with. When I probe a little deeper I find they share similar concerns, which I can’t disagree with, i.e. cyclists ignore road rules and red lights, and big groups go out together in a bunch, block the road, and don’t ride responsibly.

    There’s obviously a problem with tarring all cyclists with the same brush that people don’t generally do with car drivers, and obviously car drivers cause a lot more problems than cyclists. However, it seems pretty obvious to me the only was that attitudes to cycling are going to change is if the cycling community in general cleans up its act. It also seems to me that the further we deviate from the netherlands type model of ordinary people using ordinary bikes as an ordinary means of transport, the more problems we run into.

    So acting like an “urban warrior” and ignoring red lights etc shouldn’t be acceptable. Using city streets as a training facility and riding in a bunch on your ludicrous $10,000 carbon fibre toy isn’t acceptable. It would be great to have some public campaign for cyclists to sign up to to distance themselves from these activities and show support for responsible cycling, as a means of transport. At the moment, these unacceptable behaviours are turning our society against all cyclists. We need to make a distinction, and show that there are “normal” cyclists out there that don’t cause problems.

    • Max

      “We need to make a distinction, and show that there are “normal” cyclists out there that don’t cause problems.”

      Yet when CAA’s blog does an article pointing out that almost 19 out of 20 cyclist ALREADY OBEY THE RED, then there’s immediate accusations of whitewashing. There’s no winning with the rabid anti-people, and there’s the risk that the real elephant in the room (the one that kills other people than the ones breaking the rules) gets ignored.

      I am also a bit concerned with the statement “It also seems to me that the further we deviate from the netherlands type model of ordinary people”. Have you had a bit of a look at the changes in the last couple years? We have had significant increases in cyclists in Auckland, and while many wear high-viz, very few of the newcomers wear lycra. Those changes are happening – we aren’t backsliding into road-warriordom. In fact, we are improving. These are the storms that come with it.

    • I’m no lycra cyclist, but your views about roadies on fancy bikes are very unwelcome.

      As a cyclist I get stuck behind cars all the time when I for example want to turn left at a give way and they’re blocking the cycle lane so I have to wait. I also have to put up with their noise, pollution and occasional verbal abuse or having things thrown at me.

      Are you seriously comparing bunches of road cyclists with nearly 1 million speeding offences? (which is surely only a minority of the total number of people who exceeded speed limits – most aren’t caught).

      • Nick

        OK maybe I’m being a bit facetious about the fancy bikes etc and of course you’re right that drivers speeding is a much much bigger issue. However to change attitudes I think there’s a need for cyclists as a whole to be on their best behaviour and set a good example irrespective of how bad other road users are. And that includes self-policing and calling out the bad behaviour of the minority of cyclists.

        • Steve D

          There isn’t some sort of secret cycling club where everyone gets together and has strategy meetings about how to cycle. Organisations like CAA/CAN do great work, but the vast, vast majority of bicycle riders don’t belong to them. Even the motoring community is more organised than cycling, with a reasonable fraction of motorists belonging to the AA. The AA certainly have no power to “self-police” their members. How in the hell would that work for cyclists?

          Given the abuse that cyclists get even when they are following the law, it’s clear that even if every cyclist could somehow be magically compelled to follow the letter of the law at all times, motorist attitudes won’t change anyway.

          The rule-breaking isn’t because cyclists are especially hardened criminals – it’s because they don’t perceive the rules as being relevant to their situation and needs. They don’t think the rules protect them. Most people run red lights, ride on the footpath etc. because they think it’s safer. You can thunder at the scofflaw cyclists all you like, but the only three ways the “law breaking” will change are through government action:

          A. rules that suit cycling, not just cars
          B. serious enforcement
          C. infrastructure that keeps bikes and cars separate

          The first is probably no safer, in reality. You’re just legalising things cyclists do already. The second would work, but I’d like to think this country is better than using the police as the first answer to every problem. It would also hugely deter cycling, in an age when the health, emissions, and traffic benefits mean that all levels of government are trying to encourage it.

          If you’re unhappy with the status quo, building segregated infrastructure is the only realistic option.

          • Max

            Thanks Steve, one of the best summaries I have read so far. I may have to steal some of that ;-)

          • Agree, but can i suggest slight changes changes to:

            A. Rules that suit all road users, not just drivers
            B. Complete roads and streets built for all users
            C. Balanced enforcement [see above]

          • Steve D

            I wasn’t coming up with some sort of optimal general policy on transport there, I was giving the absolute minimum for each of the three options that would actually reduce the level of cycling traffic infringements. It’s for the purpose of arguing against the often repeated “cyclists should get their house in order, and then, and only then, will motorists respect them and stop killing them so much” theory, not a policy proposal in itself.

            As I say, I don’t actually support my option B and I don’t think merely changing the rules (option A) will have much effect without making changes to how our streets are built anyway (my option C). Naturally I think we should be designing for more than just bicycles and cars – but cycling is what we’re talking about at the moment.

    • Nigel

      I subscribe to the “They shouldn’t be on the roads / don’t pay road tax ” view (well the latter part), mainly because of ACC levies, personally I’d love to see cyclists that use our roads pay at least some ACC levies just like motorcyclists/scooter users do. Of course, this brings up interesting questions, like, should they have to contribute to the NLTF, do you register the bikes or the user (my opinion is user, so the registration is transferable between bikes – but what do you do about temporary visitors etc?) that make things complicated.

      Now here is some food for thought, I live on an ‘rural arterial road’ (AT’s wording not mine) in which we’ve had quite a few traffic incidents, where we also have a lot of cyclists. Currently our section of the road is 100kph, but AT now want to decrease the speed limit to 80kph, citing that half the incidents involve motorcycles and they want to make it safer. So, it seems that AT care more about motorcyclists (that generally seem to flout/push the 100kph speed limit as it is) than the cyclists that travel our road frequently (it goes through the Riverhead Forest which is a very popular cycling area). The cyclists are whom I’m surprised don’t get injured more (and I can tell you, I’d never want to cycle around here), mainly because it’s not the speed limit that is unsafe, but (in my opinion) the actual road.

      As much as it’s nice to moan about cyclists riding down the middle of the road (which leads to a lot of motorist frustration), if you see the quality of the road, you honestly can’t blame them, there are many spots where the edge of the tar has crumbled away so much that there are sections of white line missing from the shoulder, not to mention, because Rodney Council and now AT have resealed the road so many times, and time after time built it up, there is a reasonably steep run-off from the side of the road, preventing safe collision avoidance for cyclists and motorists alike. It certainly seems that AT is favouring cheap ‘traffic engineer’ solutions over proper, well thought out solutions to the roads.

      Another thing, and I replied to a tweet by Luke Christensen with the same thing, as much as it’s nice to moan about AT’s figures for ‘red light running’/cyclist intersection infringements, I’ve got a feeling that they were using the strict interpretation of the fourth bullet on http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/roadcode/about-other-road-users/information-for-cyclists.html, which would make sense – and make me tend to agree with their figures, considering the number of times I’ve nearly been bowled over as a pedestrian by cyclists riding through a pedestrian cycle around the city.

      Yes, AT need to make roads around town, and in rural areas safer, but it is ultimately a shared responsibility, which includes paying ACC levies for when the unfortunate happens, and maybe contributing a few bucks towards the NLTF to help pay for the improvements.

      • conan

        If you are going to argue that someone shouldn’t use something because they don’t pay for it, at least get your facts straight. The road you live on is paid for approx 50/50 by NZTA funding and Auckland Council funding, ie rates.

        And like many activities ACC funding for cyclist accidents comes from general funding through taxes. Of course the 63% of cyclists crashes caused by an at fault car driver would be appropriately removed from the motorist levy.

      • Steve D

        The only way to “make cyclists pay for roads” that wouldn’t be astonishingly expensive and inconvenient would be a one-off levy when the bike is bought new.

        Of course, cyclists do pay ACC levies, as we all do, since those levies are deducted from our pay via PAYE. These levies cover accidents that might happen anywhere in our personal life – up on a ladder painting your house, playing rugby, skiing, even walking along the footpath. Other than workplace accidents (which work in a similar way, but paid for by employers), motoring is the only exception. Which is reasonable, because the scale of the problem is so vast compared to any other activity we undertake in our personal lives.

        The simplicity of ACC is a great thing. Do we really want to go down the path of having dozens of specific little taxes for activities that we calculate are specifically riskier? And there’d be a lot, since there’s a lot of activities riskier than cycling.

      • Patrick R

        Nigel you do understand that property rates pay for more of (non-state highway) roads than the NLTF? That almost all cyclists are also drivers? And all are rate payers either directly or indirectly. Also that cycling causes no damage to any road, that roads and streets are public realm and not the property of people only when they are in a moving tinbox? That vehicle use kills and maims many more people than cycling to such an overwhelming degree? People using bikes are not stealing your money by riding on a public road any more than someone is by walking along.

        People riding bikes isn’t the problem here, it is that we have built streets and roads that are incomplete for all users, and in fact often don’t suit the one user we try to build for very well. Stats out of the States show that improvements to the streetscape to accommodate all users (ie people driving, walk, ridding, delivering, whatever) reduces death and injury for all users by over 40%. There’s the issue- not scrapping around to try to justify your resentment against other groups.

        • Nigel

          Patrick, I do understand that property rates contribute to local roads, but I also understand that the NLTF/other levies also contribute to rural roads (which cyclists use, additionally from memory the fund for rural roads is quite strained, as I recall from media reports last year, quite a few councils were complaining about this) and general safety initiatives which based on http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/national-land-transport-programme/2012-2015/docs/at-a-glance.pdf (pages 3 & 5 have some interesting numbers) includes cycling infrastructure.

          Nowhere in my post have I denied that general motorists have any less blame than they should, all I’m saying is that there is a shared responsibility for ALL users to be safe and follow the rules, but regardless AT (and the government) should be working on the whole picture (cyclists included) when trying to make our roads safer, not just the traffic engineer car & motorcycles solutions.

          Also, Steve D/conan, regarding your ACC comment, per http://www.acc.co.nz/about-acc/levies/current-years-levy-rates/index.htm it seems they account for on-road injuries separate from home/off-road injuries.

          • conan

            The NLTF covers rural state highways in full, and 50% approx of other roads, the rest is paid for by the local council. The reason that the funding for rural state highways is strained is the huge amount of money going to RoNS. And you’ll never see a cyclist on one of those, not on their bike in any case.

            “Also, Steve D/conan, regarding your ACC comment, per http://www.acc.co.nz/about-acc/levies/current-years-levy-rates/index.htm it seems they account for on-road injuries separate from home/off-road injuries.”

            No, if you read your link they account for ‘Motor Vehicle Account: cover for motor vehicle injuries occurring on public roads.’ separately. A subtle difference, but pertinent given your original comment.

          • Steve D

            Nigel:

            The motor vehicle account only includes accidents that involve motor vehicles. Bicycles are vehicles, but not motor vehicles. So that account would only pay for a bike accident that involves a motor vehicle as well, regardless of who is “at fault”, although FWIW most of the time it would be at least partly the driver’s fault – see the stats “ahoopernz” linked in the very first comment. The same is true of accidents involving pedestrians, too.

            In any case, it’s the cars that are dangerous, regardless of whose fault it is. If we are going farther down the user-pays road, it seems reasonable that the people who get the benefit from allowing dangerous implements on our streets should pay for the costs incurred by allowing those cars to exist at all.

            I think the same applies to cycle infrastructure itself, too (and pedestrian infrastructure, not that that’s controversial). Without cars, none of it would really be needed, except for the most basic level of paving. It’s cars that benefit from all the extra expense we go to in order to provide for cars – multi-lane roads, traffic lights, building roads with a width and geometry that allows speeds over 30-50km/h, and so on. So under the user-pays philosophy, cars should be paying to keep everyone safe from themselves.

      • Nigel, us non-driving cyclists are already subsidising motorists in lots of ways. We pay rates and general taxes like anybody else, use only a small area of road and are much less likely to impose costs on the public health system (cyclist injuries notwithstanding).

        We also reduce roading congestion and don’t increase demand for fuel, thereby allowing you to travel further in less time and more cheaply (occasional 5 second delays on account of cyclists notwithstanding).

        Every time we go to use a supermarket or ‘big box’ store or any business with “free” parking, we’re not consuming the parking resource but still paying for it (its cost is, of course, built into all of the store’s prices).

      • PS1

        Do horse riders who use rural roads pay acc levies. Do boats pay acc levies. Or surfers. Or windsurfers. Or rock fishermen. to use the water. Or people who rent, or students who live at home and don’t pay rates, should they be able to use the library or go to a park. of course. It’s obvious. Be kind. Share the space. Better cycling infrastructure. And in rural areas we should make some roads cycle and horse friendly lanes with safer slower speeds. Because the country side should be enjoyed on a bike or horse or on foot not always in a car or on the road fearing for your life.

      • Am I entitled to any rego or license refund on the days that I leave my car at home and cycle to work?

    • Nik

      How are we going to license 10-year-olds ? and should we ? where is the benefit to society of this?

      I’d also suggest the cost of licensing may well be greater than the revenue it brings in, which will eventually be eliminated. (TV licensing comes to mind as an example).

    • Brendan

      Hi Nick,

      Can I please clarify if I have your official approval to use the city streets as a training facility – my MTB has a ludicrous RRP of $8,000 (but I got it on special for only 5k – so 50% of your 10k figure), is only 50% carbon fibre (the front triangle is carbon fibre and the rear triangle is alluminium), I don’t bunch ride and always have my Very Serious Person face.

      Thanks,

    • Catherine

      As someone who cycles around 40 km a day to and from work, one of the reasons cyclists may run red lights is that recent bikes don’t contain enough steel (which contains iron) to be detected by the induction loops in the road at traffic signals. Induction loops are part of the system used to detect whether vehicles are queued at traffic lights. The traffic signal phases are able to be adapted so that approaches with no queued vehicles are not given green light time in the next sequence of signal phases.

      This allows the intersection to run more efficiently in terms of traffic flows, but since cyclists are not able to be detected by the induction loops which will give a green light to the approach the cyclist is on, cyclists have the choice of waiting for a vehicle to appear on the same approach as them, or running a red light.

      There is technology available to detect cyclists at traffic signals, so in this case the investment in infrastructure is required for cyclists to obey the road rules.

  • conan

    “Using city streets as a training facility and riding in a bunch on your ludicrous $10,000 carbon fibre toy isn’t acceptable.”

    Why exactly? Are the city streets for ‘serious’ activities only? Is it acceptable to drive to the gym in a lycra outfit then? What about running on the footpath? Driving to the beach? Should we have the police set up road blocks to ensure that the city streets are used ‘properly’?

    • Steve D

      You can use city streets for whatever you like, but only if you have a Very Serious Person face on: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-rdCRDWSUI8o/Th-PKLCDITI/AAAAAAAADhY/puw4qjqg4_I/s1600/addictedstareweb.jpg

    • Plenty of car enthusiasts drive around just cos they like driving. I’d say there are more of those on Tamaki Dr than cyclists at any given time.

      I also find the ‘blocking the road’ argument spurious. Whenever I drive the number one thing that blocks me and slows me down are large group of cars. Funny how people will routinely spend two hours every day crawling along behind other drivers at 10km/h, but get all worked up about the once a month occurrence they are delayed by a cyclist for thirty seconds.

      • Nick you’ve hit the nail on the head.

        There are psychological reasons why cyclists, and particularly the bad behaviour of a few, are so visible to other road users. One is that they comprise a distinct ‘out group’, an other viz a viz motorists – perhaps something akin to a scapegoat.

        Also, it has been argued that cyclists impose a “cognitive burden” on other road users when the availability or configuration of road space doesn’t provide good separation. Drivers may have to move out of their easy, comfortable driving pattern to overtake and may become anxious about hitting a cyclist if the cyclist moves unpredictably.

        Yet drivers are fine with sitting behind other cars all day and competing with them for parking because that’s the simple reality of going anywhere by car most of the time, whereas cyclists are only an intermittent occurrence for most motorists.

        Likewise a cyclist can form generalised bad opinions about motorists.

        I can understand why the psychological divide arises, and yet in other countries I have lived in and cycled through, drivers are much more patient and accept cyclists as just a part of using the roads. What the hell happened to New Zealand, is what I want to know?

      • Ian

        It isn’t even 30 seconds, on a flat 50kph road most cyclists are going 60-70% of the speed limit, so the actual delay is probably the same as stopping at a zebra-crossing.

  • Roger W

    Ah the joys of statistics.

    How does it look if you compare infringements per hour of travel instead of infringements per KM?

    @conan LOL. exactly. Is it preferable to go training how to drive in your $1,000 smoky 25 year old car instead?

  • Jacques

    I think that the Herald is completely off topic. When that happens, it’s best not to add to the noise. The less publicity they get, the better. They don’t deserve any for their paltry reporting and general lack of common sense. It’s just a bad newspaper, unfortunate most people get their info through them, because there’s much superior alternatives (radionz.co.nz comes to mind).

    • Sanctuary

      The reason the Herald published that spurious story about red light running cyclists was because of a simple, cold blooded and very, very cynical economic equation. Pandering to confirmation bias of the majority of car drivers sells more papers than reporting the full story. That is all, nothing personal.

      • Jacques is probably right, but we have facts with verifiable sources at our disposal, so it seems like it’s our duty to wade in and try to clear up the huge amount of misinformation that is propagated by such articles and, particularly, by the uninformed and opinionated commenters thereon.

  • I’ve just returned from a drive up SH16 to Kumeu and because they are digging up pretty much the entire thing there are two long sections that have temporary speed restrictions. These are constantly and boldly signposted, furthermore the lanes are narrowed by concrete barriers. In other words it is pretty much impossible for anyone with sufficient eyesight to be behind the wheel to not be aware of the new lower speed. Yet, yet, when I set my cruise control to exactly the legal speed for each section [70kph and 80 kph] I was overtaken by every single other driver there! Trucks, cars, vans, people towing stuff, the lot. When driving we sure are an impatient bunch… and not so law abiding, eh?

    Regrettably I was unable to find a person on a bike breaking a rule because they were all on the separate cycle path, no doubt up to no good, but I just couldn’t tell. I bet some were wearing clothes I don’t like too.

    • Yep some people are flying through there at the moment, it’s quite unsafe. Did see a speed camera van setting up in the middle of the Lincoln Rd interchange to get those going faster than 70km/h and imagine he would have got quite a few.

    • Gary Young

      It must be something ingrained in NZ’s driving culture. I have the same experience using cruise control when I’m driving through road works. If it’s a single lane where no-one can overtake it’s not unusal to get headlights flashing or horns honking behind me.

      In stark contrast, however, when I spent a week last year driving round rural Victoria and New South Wales I found that Aussie drivers are remarkably observant of slow speed limits through road works. I can’t recall a single instance where a local drivers overtook or tried to push past or roared off ahead.

      • Max

        Maybe they have speed enforcement there, instead of speed education (one costs money if you infringe it, the other costs all taxpayers money).

    • jonno1

      Patrick, the actual limits are 74 & 84 km/h, plus 5 km/h for speedo error, so your speedo settings should have been 79 & 89 km/h respectively. No wonder you were holding up everyone in your lane!

      Yes, I’m making a weak attempt at humour, more than a little risky on this blog filled with uber-serious bikers, but there is at least some validity to my comment. I regularly visit family via that route and do just what I said: set cruise control at 79 or 89 as applicable (true speed checked against GPS). Some people still pass but not many – maybe 10%.

      Which brings me to a couple of red herrings in the post. First, 57% of all offences were speeding? No surprises there, low hanging fruit etc, although even that percentage seems low. Maybe it excludes speed cameras as the term used is “infringements issued”.

      Secondly, does registration prevent law-breaking? Well, of course not, but it assists in identification of the offender. I’m sure Matt L didn’t intend that obfuscation, but it jumps out of the page. BTW I’m no advocate of cycle or rider registration for all the obvious reasons such as admin costs, plus I would never dob someone in (cyclist or motorist) – it’s just not in my psyche to do that. But if there was a demand for registration, then the obvious solution would be numbered hi-viz vests issued to users – not necessarily to each rider, families could purchase as many as they needed contemporaneously while visitors could hire them short-term. Still some admin costs so a small fee, maybe only levied at a change of address, to fund a simple register which should be easy enough to manage. Well, maybe not, thinking of the IT performance record of government departments. Better to contract it out.

      • Jonno the 918k speeding tickets includes those from speed cameras

        As for the registration comment, the point is that some seem to think that by requiring registration by cyclists that they will behave better but the point is it doesn’t work for vehicles as they sill infringe substantially.

        • jonno1

          OK, thanks Matt. Agree on the behaviour point, however I suspect a number of cycling infringements are ignored as the cops can’t be bothered giving chase. But as I said above, I don’t see it as a big deal, also I have noticed an improvement in cycle behaviour recently, particularly at lights, so the message may be getting through.

          • Feijoa

            Why would they not bother giving chase? It’s certainly not because they couldn’t catch them. Probably because they have made a judgement call on what matters similar to personal use of marijuana or as it turns out Colin Craig smacking his children.

            So if the Police aren’t there, identification will serve no purpose at all as the cops only prosecute when they see it themselves. I’ve been almost killed by a driver running a red light half way through a Queen St ped crossing at speed while texting and recently overtaken by another driver on the left in a bike lane but the Police weren’t interested in either despite me having the number plate details. The main purpose of number plates seems to be to describe a car (for registration, sale, etc), for tracking car thefts, for parking tickets, for speed camera tickets, etc. none of which are of much value for a push bike.

          • jonno1

            Feijoa, I did say that I don’t support cycle/rider registration… As for texting, yes that’s a biggie, although in my experience the phoners/texters slow down to a crawl, or stay sitting at a green light! I have every sympathy for your predicament as a cyclist in the circumstances you described. OTOH, while crossing legally on foot a couple of times I’ve had a near miss with a cyclist whizzing through on the left of stationary cars (T intersection), ie invisible till the last second. Not the slightest attempt even to slow down. I was too shocked even to kick him off his bike. (NB, I wouldn’t actually do that, however much I was provoked). It’s always a male rider too, funny that.

            Patrick (below) – the restrictions on SH16 after hours are a bit illogical, I suppose the argument is the temporary lack of a safety shoulder in several places, that’s my theory anyway. I think phoning/texting is a Remmers problem as well. I don’t go to Ponsonby much except to eat; some great restaurants over there. But I’ll keep an eye out for you next time, especially if I’m texting [joke].

            BTW Audis and other modern vehicles would have bluetooth, anyway that’s how I operate if I get an incoming call while on the road. Texting might be trickier, maybe voice-to-text software is needed? Now there’s a business opportunity. As for mouthing off, never a good plan. My wife did that once with a (probable) gang member, hmm.

      • Hair splitting really jonno, and no I have no idea how precise my speedo is but remember ‘it’s not a target’? And some were flying by.

        The other commonly observable driver infringement of course is phone use… especially visible when you’re on a bike because of the relative elevation. Honestly everyday I ride I see at least one driver talking or texting while moving. Now I am more than prepared to concede that there may well be a Ponsonby factor at play here [where I'm usually riding]; these fab people obviously have much much more important social lives than all the proper drivers out in the suburbs, and of course most are in Audis which [everyone knows] excepts the driver from all laws due to their specialness…. [sarc off]

        Yesterday i had a [probably unwise] chat with a driver through his open window as we both moved down Ponsonby Rd about how important his text was….I wasn’t shouty or bossy but nontheless he was not well pleased to be being chatted to thus by an untermensch on a bike…. but he didn’t kill me [good fellow then]…. I really shouldn’t i know.

        Regards what gets enforced- the stuff that’s easy to measure/catch is surely likely to be enforced most. And speed being mathematical and recordable on a machine is bound to be the easiest target,

        • I used to have similar conversations with the f___wits queuing across the various Hobson Street intersections between 4 and 5, preventing cross-traffic from getting through, as well as the dickheads who turn right out of Elliott Street (opposite Countdown).
          I think that’s the moral/ethical thing; you may never change someone’s behaviour, but you might. I was always a pedestrian and I always tried to keep my voice very calm and deep (except when I was hurling abuse if they drove off swearing at me).

      • Bryce P

        I set my cruise control to a gps indicated 80kmh along the causeway and get overtaken by pretty much everything including police cars.

  • JohnP

    I went down the northwestern yesterday to meet someone at the airport. I saw a cop in my mirror so I slowed to the (daft) 80km/h limit near the causeway and the cop went past at around 100km/h. Even they don’t think it makes sense! Temporary limits are always ignored if they are left up and no one can see any sign of work happening.

    • There’s work happening now, but anyway there you go thinking like a person on a bike who makes a judgement about whether to follow a rule or not. And i agree that’s just human nature isn’t it?, we had better work to fix the physical environment than rely on perfect rule following by every person. Because it doesn’t happen, sometimes wisely, often not.

    • jonno1

      Had a similar experience John, also yesterday, when someone hooned past me in the 80 km/h area. Only as he passed did I realise it was a mufti car (the blue Holden)! But I still didn’t speed up – sometimes they do that on purpose to trap you, although not so much for old duffers in a Beemer, usually they target the young fellows with no sense.

  • JohnP

    Moral hazard plays a part in behaviour. Increasing the yellow phase at traffic signals to 4 seconds and using all red times has probably resulted in more red light running as drivers know they can get through. Similarly coordination has come at the expense longer cycle times than are efficient at each set of signals. That means drivers know that if they stop they will be delayed for longer and have to sit there even after the opposing traffic has gone through. Traffic rules are not seen as absolute but result in drivers choosing a strategy maybe a Nash equilibrium. That can involve driving through on yellow or jumping the start.

  • Feijoa

    Outlaw cars until drivers sort out their boy racer problems. I’ve seen them out there in their tacky $20,000 cars blocking Queen St 2 abreast in packs and generally ignoring all traffic rules.

    Motorcyclists you are on notice. Today one of your types rode by on a Honda wearing Crocs.

  • NCD

    There’s a basic disconnect taking place between laws and safety. Traffic laws are mainly enacted to improve safety.

    London 1998 to 2007
    Pedestrians killed by cyclist going through a red light: zero
    Pedestrians killed by car going through a red light: 12
    (NZ’s data set is too small to highlight these sorts of differences). http://www.ctc.org.uk/sites/default/files/file_public/pedestriansbrf.pdf

    There’s even the suggestion that some cyclist law breaking can improve safety: http://www.rudi.net/node/16395

    A week before the accident on Stanley St my daughter fell off her bike on The Strand when a truck spooked us coming rather too quickly in the left lane. She fell to the left and got grazes. Heads she wins, tails she’s squished flat and finishes life on the front page of the Herald. Of course it would have been her “fault” for falling in front of a truck. But to ride on the footpath would have contributed to motorist’s attitudes to cyclists. And we wonder why women don’t want to cycle!

  • Greg N

    Before we require registration of bicycles/bike riders, how about we actually do something about requiring the registration of boats and educating/registering boat drivers?

    Seems to me that more people are killed and being killed – while out on the water – than are being on the roads as cyclists.We don’t see big “shock horror, people are breaking the law and people are dying as a result” stories in the Herald or much about the “water toll” do we?

    Of course this doesn’t excuse the behaviour of cyclists or motorists with rule breaking, but lets get a sense of proportion and tackle the low-hanging fruit here first…

    Oh I hear you say, registering boats is too hard and won’t be economic to do so.
    Well Hello – same applies to cyclists too.

    You don’t people carping about boaties not paying for upkeep of the “sea lanes” or not paying ACC or Search & Rescue levies either.

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