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Cycling, Liveability, and the ‘Culture of Fear’

Here’s a really thought provoking and very funny talk by Mikael Colville-Andersen, who tweets as @copenhagenize. It looks initially at how cycling has a potentially very significant role in achieving improved liveability – which after all is the vision of the Auckland Plan – before going on to analyse how a ‘culture of fear’ undermines trying to achieve these goals:

I think it’s pretty clear there’s a step-change happening at the moment in the way we think about cycling – as shown by the various responses to the tragic death on Stanley Street earlier this year, not all of it good of course, but even the thoughtless reactions were indeed that; reactions, which is new for cycling in Auckland. This Listener editorial is fairly typical of a number of media articles in recent times:

First, we must aggressively add cycle lanes to the main thoroughfares of our cities and complete the half-finished ones we have. The gold standard in cycle-lane design comes from Copenhagen. Lanes should be bidirectional, separated from cars and inside parking spaces, so as not to have cyclists fall prey to cars pulling out or doors being opened unawares. Narrow or convert car lanes, move parking spaces to side roads, slim those wide centre strips. Take out berms if you have to. The faster the vehicle speed limit, the better the separation needed, through painted lanes, grade-differentiation or dividers on slower streets to full-on median barriers for motorways. Bus lanes are not bike lanes: the two do not mix.

The key point here seems to be a growing recognition that cars and cycling don’t mix – especially not if we want to get more than a tiny fraction of the population cycling. We need to tackle the ‘culture of fear’ around cycling by making it safe and by making it feel safe. People need to feel like they could let their kids go for a bike in the local area, people need to feel safe and comfortable cycling around in their normal clothes, people need to feel that cycling is something easy to do – not something that you need to attend a myriad of “courses” in order to participate. Clearly this means, more than anything else, a big investment in infrastructure is required. Not just green paint on a road, but the proper cycling infrastructure described in the Listener editorial.

But not only that but also that it is clear that for the good of all of society this is something we must do. The advantages for us all in the bike-able city are countless. In many ways the degree to which a place is rideable is synonymous with its liveability. Cycling is the canary in the coal mine of city building.

Fortunately, a charitable interpretation of the Mayor’s appearance on Campbell Live last week could be that he sees the need for around $30 million a year in spending on cycling – compared to the current $10 million that would be a gigantic improvement. But there will also need to be tough decisions around the allocation of street space – as referred to by the Listener. If Auckland wants to take cycling seriously that means in places we will lose median strips, it means we will lose on-street parking, it means we will have to narrow lanes.

Analysis published in the The Journal of Transport Studies on cycling rates across all cultures, geographies, and weather patterns concludes with this simple summary:

“The presence of off-road and on-street bike lanes are, by far, the biggest determinant of cycling rates in cities.”

As they have a handy knack for, Generation Zero sums up the required step-change that’s becoming increasingly clear in a single image:

Seperated-Cycle-Lanes-Infographic-LARGE

 

For small selection of previous discussions of what’s holding Auckland back from this urgent and relatively inexpensive improvement see these posts on Tamaki Drive, Ponsonby Rd, and the Harbour Bridge.

Late addition: This article showing that US business is now behind the cycling revolution because it adds more value than auto-dependency:

Cities are driving the US economic recovery, and as they do, Americans are getting on their bikes. In 85 of the 100 largest metro areas cycling is increasing. All part of a deeply healthy – and profitable – reshaping of urban economies.”

65 comments to Cycling, Liveability, and the ‘Culture of Fear’

  • “in places we will lose median strips, it means we will lose on-street parking, it means we will have to narrow lanes.”

    All of which are sometimes desirable. A lot of Auckland roads need road diets. The bike lanes are just an added bonus.

  • harrymc

    They need to spell “separated” correctly.
    I’d love to ride a bike but not alongside the maniac car drivers on Auckland roads. I saw 4 cars jump the red lights this morning at Customs and Commerce streets. It would be easy (and profitable) to station a traffic cop there for a few hours surely?

    • TheBigWheel

      “It demonstrates that, far from being expensive, high quality changes to main roads and local streets across the region are extremely cost effective, bringing more than $20 in benefit to society for every dollar spent over the next 40 years.”

      “This is in stark contrast to typical benefit cost comparisons for other kinds of large scale transport investment. For example, the Roads of National Significance have been variously reported as having benefit to cost ratios of 0.1 to 5 (in other words, returning between 10c and $5 for every dollar spent).”

      So, making the changes recommended by the report would deliver between 4 and 200x better value than RoNS.

      200x

  • Peter H

    Here is what the AA affiliated club in Western Australia is advocating for.
    The Economic Cycle – A business case for investment in cycling in Western Australia.
    Proven benefits – Lower transport operating costs, travel time savings, Car parking savings.
    http://rac.com.au/cs/idcplg?IdcService=GET_FILE&dDocName=raccont065647&allowInterrupt=1&RevisionSelectionMethod=LatestReleased&noSaveAs=1

  • Okay okay, I get it. We promise to do better on the spelling already.

  • Chris M

    The scarey thing is that Mickael’s TED talk is 4 years old. Our thinking about this issue in Auckland is so far behind the 8 ball.

  • Sarah P

    We have a separated cycleway on Triangle Rd near Lincoln Road, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cyclist use it, most continue up the hill on the vehicle side

    • Luke C

      Interesting. Note the lane also was full of cars before the separators, very dangerous and annoying for cyclists. http://caa.org.nz/auckland-transport/its-infrastructural-works-finally-started-on-triangle-road/
      But are you talking about the weekend recreational ‘lycra’ cyclists, because this is not about them. This is about the people all over Auckland that don’t cycle much or at all because they feel unsafe in traffic. This includes myself, and many of my friends.

    • I use it every day as part of my commute despite it being full of broken glass, dead mice, dead birds, and rubbish. Have you ever wondered why someone riding a bike uses the car lane instead? Maybe because it is because of all the broken glass. Before the lane was there I got hit by a car zooming up the cycle lane. It scared the life out of me. Also heard of two other people being run down on that spot. It’s a real shame blood has to spill before any serious action takes place. I now notice every morning there are about 50 cars queued in the Central Park Drive painted cycle lane, approaching Lincoln Rd making it useless and too dangerous for every day bike commuters.

  • Richard29

    Interesting choice of graphic – the cyclist in the separated cycleway is not wearing a helmet. Is that part of the campaign also?

    • Joe90

      Hopefully it is. The sooner the daft compulsory helmet laws are overturned the better. They’re just another needless barrier to cycling for no benefit. Things like a bike- share scheme (massively successful in most places they are brought in, bar the Australian cities) are doomed to fail while they are there.

      • Patrick M

        Bike Share scheme in Melbourne comes with helmets.

        A little test for all those against cycle helmets. Just get up from your desk and walk head first into the nearest pole! Hurts. Now falling from your bike, please add gravitational acceleration and you can just imagine what happens to your brain as it smashes the inside of your skull!

        • I’ve never walked into a pole, and I’ve not fallen off my bike and hit my head while riding at low speeds along dedicated separated cycle infrastructure overseas (where there is no dress code for cyclists).

        • Are you saying that people should be wearing helmets when they walk around town in case they bang into poles?

          What about runners who are going at 15-20km/h (the speed of a causal cyclist) and whose head is the same height as a cyclists?

          • Patrick M

            And continuing this line of logic…Why then must motorcyclists/mopeds be forced to wear helmets. It is a matter of degrees.

            “The mandatory helmet law had its genesis in the late 1980s when Rebecca Oaten, dubbed the “helmet lady” in the media, started a campaign advocating for compulsory helmets. Her son, Aaron, had been permanently brain damaged in 1986 while riding his 10-speed bicycle to school in Palmerston North. A car driver hit him, flinging Aaron over the handlebars and headfirst to the ground,[6] where his head struck the concrete gutter. After 8 months in a coma, Aaron awoke paralysed and unable to speak.[7] According to Oaten, a doctor at the time told her that Aaron would “almost certainly not have suffered brain damage” had he been wearing a bicycle helmet.” – Price, Christel. “The legacy of a life”, The Guardian (Manawatu), 26 August 2010.

            So its about 1st giving our children the best chance, 2nd minimizing the costs to the country as a whole.

          • Patrick M – lets not pretend that the people in charge of our roading care at all about children, the most vulnerable group in our society. NZ currently has the third highest child road death toll in the OECD (http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/9644175/Car-restraint-age-must-rise or journal.nzma.org.nz/journal/123-1316/4158/content.pdf). The Netherlands, where the vast majority of children cycle to school without a helmet, has the lowest.

            Yes the infrastructure is different in the Netherlands. So if the roading authorities (NZTA/AT) and government really cared about children, they would be ripping out motor vehicle lanes and parking (like in many other developed world cities) and putting in safe, separated cycle paths.

            Instead they are wasting billions of dollars on motorways with BCRs of less than 1. All while less than 1% of the transport budget is dedicated to cycling – less than the pitiful percentage brave enough to get out and do it now.

            So if you really care about children, join an organisation like Cycle Action Auckland and become part of the solution.

          • Bryce P

            And the big problem with the ‘Helmet lady’s approach was that everyone forgot that the real problem was the motorist who crashed into Aaron in the first place. What if, at that pount in time, we had started to radically improve bike infrastructure instead of the band aid that helmets are? Over 30 years.

        • Loraxus

          I also recommend that you wear a helmet in the shower (at least when not washing your hair!), as studies have shown that the largest amounts of falls in the household happen there. It is only sensible to protect yourself against ALL dangers. After all, ACC has to pay for your stupidity. Wear a helmet. Preferably all day.

          [For those who can't read irony, I do support the right to wear helmets for dangerous activities. Cycling is not a dangerous activity. Our city has made cycling a dangerous activity]

        • Loraxus

          Also, dear Patrick M – *way* to miss the “culture of fear” headline of this article.

          [Cue scary music] Cycling. Is it dangerous? Report at 8. See the shocking truth.

        • OK now try this. Put on your thin plastic and styrofoam helmet and run into the wall at 50km/h (if you are lucky that is speed the car will hit you at). Still alive and undamaged? Probably not. The coroner recently found that in the overwhelming majority of recent cyclist deaths, the rider was wearing a helmet.

          Cycle helmets are designed to protect cyclists at very low speeds, basically to protect you if you just topple off your bike. That is why only BICYCLISTS (not unicyclists, tricyclists or quadcyclists) are required to wear a helmet. The Minister when he passed the law in 1993 said explicitly that the law was to protcet cyclists from themselves.

          I havent toppled off my bike since I was a child or run into a pole.

          I am not against helmets, I am against forcing people to wear helmets when the benefits are debatable at best. Head injuries for cyclists have dropped since 1994 but not as much as the number of people cycling. A recent study published in the NZ Medical Journal has confirmed this (http://journal.nzma.org.nz/journal/125-1349/5046/):

          “This evaluation finds the helmet law has failed in aspects of promoting cycling, safety, health, accident compensation, environmental issues and civil liberties.”

          You also have to ask yourself why only two countries in the world still have mandatory helmets for adults despite countless reviews by other countries. Both Spain and Israel have recently scaled back their helmet laws.

      • Ian Auld

        The difference between New Zealand and overseas is our “no fault” cover under ACC. Because of this there is a societal interest in everybody’s personal safety and injury prevention. With ACC the government has a responsibility to prevent injuries through legislation, policy and advocacy / marketing. In my view this includes providing seperated cycleways. On the other hand, I also think it justifies a law requiring cylce helmets. I commute to work by bike and ALWAYS wear a helmet, no matter if I am on a shared path or on the road. The fact is there are very few places you can get to in Auckland (or anywhere in NZ) solely on a seperated cycle path. Unfortunately this won’t change for the appreciable future. I don’t understand why having to wear a helmet puts people off cycling. I would do it even if it weren’t compulsory and always feel much more comfortable when wearing one. I really don’t get people who refuse to wear helmets for fashion or aesthetic reasons.

        • Ian Auld

          Plus, there are some really cool cycle helmets these days… http://bikepretty.com/2013/07/9-picks-for-a-cool-bike-helmet/

        • TimR

          For what it is worth, I’d rather we did not have a compulsory helmet law.

          However; I have had a helmet save me from serious injury and do find the rather reactionary ‘no to helmets’ attitude somewhat bizarre. An airbag cannot prevent all injuries, but cars have them for good reasons – velocity equals risk, and if a piece of kit costing 40 bucks means that I am more likely to get home in one piece then I’ll wear it. Walking into A&E with your head in one piece thanks to a helmet split in half tends to make it all real.

          I’m all for freedom not to wear, and for investing in infrastructure that removes the risk, and doing whatever it takes to get drivers to respect other people; but let’s not become totally cavalier and write off helmets. They absolutely have value; they’re just not a substitute for all the social and physical changes that need to happen in Auckland right now.

          • The only issue is the compulsion. I would continue to wear one when road riding if not the law, but it is absurd to compel the sleepiest of treadlie to wear one.

            And if preventing harm is really the issue in any kind of detached and scientific way then helmets would be compulsory for all car users too; a far greater source of head trauma than cycling.

            Having had skin cancer I know that the most dangerous aspect of my riding is the UV expousure anyway, which is why I wear a broad brimmed hat when poodling around the hood over a helmet.

          • Bryce P

            I would still wear a helmet depending on what I was doing. On the NW shared path it is almost unnecessary but I wouldn’t dream of heading into Woodhill without one. I’d probably wear one riding around the main streets in Auckland as well but not to our local shops via quiet residential streets. Speed and traffic (and trees) are the determining factors. Real infrastructure would fix this.

          • TimR

            @ Patrick: agree on the compulsion, not sure the driver/helmet logic makes sense.

            The potential mashup of a wide brim helmet has possibilities; I’ve seen a few home-made combos of this nature on the streets. Perhaps a legitimate instance where a “made for NZ conditions” claim might be valid for once…

          • Tim, it’s simple; more people suffer head trauma while in cars in car crashes than people on bikes do. Ergo if helmets are the best way of improving head trauma numbers then they should be mandatory for all people in all vehicles at all times. Good luck with getting that law change.

          • I really don’t buy this line. You seem to be saying that cyclists and car drivers should be treated equally when it comes to head protection, with the consequential argument that because helmets are a ridiculous notion for drivers that we suggest they are also unnecessary for cyclists. Or did i misunderstand what you’re trying to draw as a conclusion? Surely we are talking about two very different situations, even if they both have head injury risks:

            Cars: higher speeds with resultant risks and decceleration issues in a crash; in response there are also lots more safety systems such as mandatory seat belts, steel box/crumple zone enclosure and airbags in probably the majority of the vehicle fleet by now. In a crash most car occupants are now not thrown clear, and the head trauma risk most often arises from hitting the steering wheel, dashboard or seat in front. Modern seat belts and airbags minimise this risk, even if they create other risks, and I would anticipate that whiplash related injuries are a bigger issue. I’m not an expert on the medical facts and figures, would happily have this corrected or verified.

            Bikes: lower speeds, but generally no protection systems other than a helmet – and body armour for the off-road hardcore. Very high risk of being separated from the bike when a collision of any sort happens, and unless you are on a recumbent the cyclists’ head often leads body movement and often hits first. From that point of view a helmet makes lots of sense: pretty much the only protection system available, cheap and simple, and effective in many accident situations, although admittedly not all.

            You’re right that helmets for drivers is a dumb idea; but it does not follow from that that they are also a dumb idea for cyclists.

            To repeat: I don’t think compulsion equals safety (a cyclist went past me with their helmet on back to front and pointing up into the air yesterday! Legal compliance but a complete waste of time in terms of real protection) but neither does dissing the value of helmets. If anything it just encourages dangerous complacency that puts lives at risk.

          • But Tim, cyclists die when hit by vehicles, they suffer impacts with the force of vehicle speeds, most dead cyclists were wearing their little styrofoam helmets when hit. Helmets only offer the illusion of safety. By passing this law transport agencies and their political masters are attempting, successfully in the minds of the duller witted end of the motoring public, in transferring all responsibility for cycling safety to the person on the bike. Away from the inadequate, incompetent street and road design.

          • TimR

            “Helmets only offer the illusion of safety.”

            Not true; I and many others are proof of this.

            I agree, helmets are not a substitute for a safe cycling attitude and environment. Wearing a helmet does not make one invincible.

            And I repeat again; I do not support the legal requirement to wear. And having any legal requirement does not excuse any agency or authority from dealing with the professionally negligent approach to cycling infrastructure that currently prevails.

            But let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. Helmets have value and dissing them is really not helpful to the cycling cause generally.

          • Tim it seems we are in furious agreement.

          • Geoff Blackmore

            “more people suffer head trauma”

            True Patrick, and that’s because when your car stops abruptly (e.g., a head-on accident), your brain is placed under enormous pressure within your skull. Helmets do nothing to prevent this. Helmets on cyclists do the job that a roof on a car does for motorists. A situation severe enough to nullify your car roof as protective will do the same for a cycle helmet.

            I do agree with you, helmets should be optional. I only rode a bike for all my travel needs until the helmet law came in, at which point I ditched the bike and have driven ever since. Helmet straps alter the angle of your ears, removing your ability to accurately judge sound direction. I hated not being able to use my ears anymore to judge where an approaching car was behind me, and vowed never to ride with a helmet again.

          • Phil.

            Helmets will save your life when you fall off your bike and hit the curb. They wont save your life if you run a red light and end up under a truck. Now anyone with a brain worth saving would realise that the safest way to cycle would be to A: Wear a helmet to protect you from falls and B: Don’t run red lights.
            To give up cycling because you have to wear a lid is a pathetic excuse. Would any of you give up riding the bus if you had to wear a safety belt (law in many countries)? Do you think people riding motor bikes are safer without helmets?
            I find some of you people are quite reasoned in your arguments and opinions (even if I may not agree) but some of you are on cloud cuckoo land.
            PS: If your helmet strap is altering the angle of your ears you need to adjust the straps – If you are unable to work out how to do that I am sure your local cycle shop will help you.

          • Geoff Blackmore

            Phil, I grew up in the 70′s and 80′s before the nanny state decided it knew best. Fell of my bikes many times as a kid. You put your arms out, graze your knees and elbows, do a Peter Griffin for 5 minutes, then get back on and ride away. Never once hurt my head, and never once saw anyone else hurt their heads either. Natural reflexes, of the young anyway, will prevent landing that way. The benefit of helmets comes when you have more severe encounters, such as with a car.

            Helmet straps alter the angle of the ears of anyone who wears them. It can’t be avoided as the straps are designed to touch the back of your ears. It’s not pathetic to give up cycling because of the helmet law. I would give up driving if motorists were required to wear helmets too.

          • Geoff Blackmore

            Should also mention, I was in high school when the helmet law was introduced. In that first week, the bike racks went from chocka, to about two-thirds full, so a third of cyclists gave it up. The quiet street leading to our school normally had maybe half a dozen student cars until the law came in, at which point it went to every space filled, and the school also had to introduce student parking on the school grounds. Helmets were a major turn-off for promoting cycling, and provided a boost to the numbers of young people taking up driving to school.

          • Phil.

            Geoff – I grew up in the 70′s and 80′s as well. Back then a lot more people drove drunk – cars didn’t all have seat belts – motorbike riders did not have to wear crash helmets and if a girl was on the pill sex was safe. I survived all these things as well as cycling without a lid but I wouldn’t drive my car pissed – or without a seat belt, I wouldn’t ride a motorbike without a lid, and I wouldn’t shag someone I just met without protection.
            Just because you were lucky then does not mean you will be lucky today or tomorrow. If people wont cycle because the Govt makes a law for their own safety then these people are idiots. Face it – you don’t know better than all the neurosurgeons and Olympic bike riders who support cycle lid laws so just do what you are told and wear a lid.
            And just to make sure you are wearing yours correctly – here is a link to show you how
            http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/newtsm/bikes/helmets-EasyStepsEngColor.pdf
            I wear a Bell Venture Port (available in NZ from $49.99) and I have just tried it on – the straps do not come anywhere near my ears.
            Frankly – until the cycle lobby in NZ start respecting the laws and wearing helmets the Govt should halt all spending on cycle paths. If cyclists cant be arsed to spend $60 to protect themselves – why should non cycling tax payers spend millions building you paths?

          • Geoff Blackmore

            I don’t think cycle helmets can be compared to such things as seatbelts, because unlike safety analysis of seatbelts, there’s no conclusive evidence that helmets do any overall good. Only 4 countries on the planet have made them compulsary for all cyclists on the road, and only 4 others have made them partially compulsary (such as in some parts of the country only, or for some users only, like children). Most countries have determined they hinder cycling more than help it. Denmark, that bastian of all that is good about cycling, has no helmet laws. I don’t think there’s even a single country anywhere in Europe either with helmet laws.

            Helmets may save a few brains, but they deter a much greater number of people from cycling, which equates to a greater number of other health hazards.

          • Phil.

            Geoff – try a simple but effective scientific experiment and lets see how conclusive your results are.
            Step 1. Put on bike helmet (properly as per the link I gave you)
            Step 2. Get friend to strike your head with a solid object – cricket bat – brick – frypan
            Record result of pain on a 1-10 scale
            Step 3. Remove bike helmet
            Step 4. Get friend to repeat strike to your head with the same solid object.
            Call ambulance.

            I am sorry for taking this to the point where it sounds like I am talking to a child but what part of ‘it could save your life’ are you not understanding? This user barrier argument doesn’t stick. Do you think more people would enjoy boats if they didn’t wear life jackets? Probably but that doesn’t mean you should not wear one. People that refuse to cycle because they don’t want to wear a lid are just lazy and looking for any excuse not to exercise, Its the same sort of person that claims they are fat because society makes fatty/sugary foods so available or they are poor because the bank forced them to take a credit card.
            Cycling at the speeds most people on here do (especially those with electric bikes) doesn’t save heart disease so don’t try and sell me the lie of ‘the benefit to society of encouraging cycling’.

            It only costs $50 for a good quality cycle lid. It only takes seconds to put it on. There is no excuse for not wearing one – it is the LAW and it MAKES SENSE. Don’t be an idiot – wear a lid!

            And here is some sobering data from England – a country where there is a large growing voice to make helmets compulsory. http://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/adviceandinformation/cycling/facts-figures.aspx
            The data you may want to concentrate on is:
            – Around three quarters of cyclists killed have major head injuries
            – Around 20% of serious accidents involved the cyclist riding into the path of a motor vehicle, often riding off a pavement
            – Around 16% of fatal or serious cyclist accidents reported to the police do not involve a collision with another vehicle, but are caused by the rider losing control of their bicycle.

          • Geoff Blackmore

            As I said Phil, most countries have determined that there are little, if any, benefit to helmet laws. You need to look at the bigger picture to understand that. Ask yourself, why have so few countries made helmets compulsary?

            Driving is more dangerous than cycling, and since helmet laws discourage cycling and encourage driving, they do more harm than good.

            Have a read here: http://www.cycle-helmets.com/

          • Bryce P

            Phil, I’m an advocate and I wear a helmet. Hmm, I don’t go to rugby games (nor the World Cup) but gov’t and council are content to spend hundreds of millions of taxes and rates on a single stadium. And that drain looks set to continue.

          • Geoff@1:16. The unnecessary fall-off in school cycling is exactly what heavy-handed approaches such as our law result in. I too cycled miles entirely on my own from less than 10 years old, though not in NZ, and sincerely hope my kids can recover the same pleasure and freedom.

            Phil@ 3:38. “Frankly – until the cycle lobby in NZ start respecting the laws and wearing helmets the Govt should halt all spending on cycle paths. If cyclists cant be arsed to spend $60 to protect themselves – why should non cycling tax payers spend millions building you paths?”

            On this logic we should stop all RONS projects and road improvements of any kind until motorists can prove that they can have mobile phones in their car without using them handheld on the move. Yeah, right.

            Yes cyclists should act responsibly, but so should car drivers. That does not mean we act in a punitive manner towards transport users such as pedestrians and cyclists that are the most vulnerable and inadequately served with infrastructure. Your double standards don’t make any sense.

          • Bryce P

            I see on stuff.co.nz this morning there is a poll on using hand held cell phones while driving and 38% admit to breaking the law. And even more curious is this line from the story

            “Most people recognised drink-driving was risky, but 10 per cent said there was little chance of having an accident if you were careful. This was a return to the high recorded in 2011.”

            And they want respect from people on bikes?

          • Phil,.

            I take it back about the spending on cycle lanes. I said it to highlight the attitude the majority of Aucklanders probably have towards cyclists. If cyclists want the public to support you on infrastructure spending you shouldn’t be mouthing off against existing safety laws or you are just going to encourage the wrath of the public again.

            As examples:

            – Cycle lobby ask for separated cycle paths to avoid deaths at intersections – Aucklanders say to cycle lobby ‘stop running red lights’

            – Cycle lobby ask for separated cycle paths based on safety – Aucklanders say to cycle lobby ‘If you cant spend $60 on a helmet to improve your safety why should we pay 10 million on a cycle path for your safety’

            I can picture some of you moaning already but I am right on this.

            Bryce/Tim – I agree – Everyone should respect each other on the roads – it is not a game – there is no prize for being the last survivor!

        • nonsense

          how is that different from most of Europe? There if you get hurt the state pays, blame or not. The difference is that acc wants to make money.

          • Very different from most of the rest of the world. Frontline healthcare charges/cost aside, most other jurisdictions allow you to sue a third party for injuries caused. People tend to behave differently when faced with taking responsibility for their actions.

          • Loraxus

            If you believe that cyclists think “Oh, I am covered by ACC, all good!” before deciding whether to do / not to do something risky, you have little idea about people. And you completely miss the repeated point that it is car drivers killing cyclists, not cyclists killing themselves.

            Also, it’s great that suing people changes things strongly for the better safety in your view. Under this logic, the US should be a cycling paradise, and Germany should be really bad.

          • TimR

            @Loraxus: I was suggesting that ACC lessens drivers responsibility, not cyclists.

          • bbc

            Swiss insurance also accepts a no fault liability for accidents and I am not aware of anyone suing anyone else after an accident. Helmets are not required, cycle lanes are extensive and constantly expanding. All one way streets allow cyclists to cycle in both directions and/or cycle on the footpath.

            At the end of the day it’s laws such as those throughout the EU and CH that lays the fault with the person driving the most dangerous thing in an accident, i.e. the cyclist in a bike v. ped and the car/truck in a car/truck v. bike/pedestrian. From my own experience in NZ, the Police aren’t interesting in following up on cycle crashes, partly because proving guilt is almost impossible in most situations.

          • nonsense

            So you think that if a French hits his head on the tarmac he will sue the road? No, he will go to the hospital where he will be cured for free.

  • Sarah P

    Nope, I’m meaning every day cyclists (mornings, weekends), of all kinds. It looks great, and I’m sure the bridge is a welcome addition for cyclists. If its being used a a ‘test case’ then more people should use it (and rightly so complain if it requires road cleaning)

  • […] the Transport Blog, Patrick Reynolds presents a multi-media look at  Cycling, Liveability, and the ‘Culture of Fear’, as well as presenting some […]

    • Bryce P

      And as head injuries make the biggest contribution in road crashes for motorists (drivers and passengers) then helmets and HANS devices (to overcome the weight of the required helmet) should be mandatory. I have read that HANS devices out-perform airbags. Really, it’s the next step.

  • Dave M

    Surely a campaign saying we “need” separated cycle lanes to make cycling safe is only contributing to the “culture of fear”?

    If I was considering taking up cycling all I would hear, even from the “pro-cycling” lobby, is that it’s totally unsafe to cycle.

    • Bryce P

      There is ‘actual safety’ and ‘perceived safety’. Cycle lanes, while improving ‘actual safety’ do a much bigger job of overcoming any ‘perceived safety’ concerns. I hope that makes some sense.

      • David Milne

        You cannot build a complete off road network so unless people live right next to a “metro” line they are going to have to cycle on road at some point. If everyone including so called cycle advocates is saying on road cycling is unsafe then this surely isn’t helping.

    • Dave that’s a good point in a way, but how else can it be phrased in a context where those defending the status quo will not accept that there are any reasons beyond personal choice for our low levels of ridership?

      Perhaps the most interesting data is that adding on-street cycle lanes increases safety for all road users. Which is to say that current road and street design is more dangerous for everyone than it should be…. after all we know using a car is more dangerous than it should be.

  • Bryce P

    Good bike news. If you live in Te Atatu or travel near there by bike get 10% of drinks. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151864128117553&set=gm.498956386882411&type=1

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