Well exactly

Back in Australia, it was clear that we had a problem with width and protection. We had cycle lanes but they were skinny, unprotected, on-road cycle lanes, on busy highways, often less than one metre wide. ‘Normal’ people — women, children, seniors, families, tourists — weren’t riding bikes and so in an attempt to ‘get more people cycling more of the time’, we were building more skinny, unprotected, on-road cycle lanes and not surprisingly the vicious cycle of people not riding was continuing.

Crikey via ksuyin


By Jim.henderson via Wkikimedia Commons

12 thoughts on “Well exactly

  1. Malcolm

    Personally, I’d be happy with some skinny, unprotected on-road cycle lanes. It would be better than nothing, which is what currently exists over most of Wellington


  2. atom

    christchurch: this is your chance to do it right and show the rest of NZ how!

    of course we’ll get it right; but will that happen before or after petrol is $5+ per litre? or will it matter then? at that point will 90% of personal transport be on bicycles using streets that have been mostly abandoned by cars? if there’s still such a thing as “the law” will it protect such popular modes and customs of transport?

    funny that the original article is from australia, because now i’ve got images in my head of mad-max riding a BICYCLE through a post-industrial, post-petroleum, post-apocolyptic wasteland. any cars that get to close to him will have real trouble!


  3. atom

    @Malcolm – wellington has too many “cycle lanes” that would more properly be named “exclusion zones” as they are marked lanes 1.5m wide, starting from where cars are parked along the street. this is exactly where you DON’T want to be. these lanes encourage cyclists to ride in the danger zone, and most motorists (and “professional” bus & truck drivers) think “that’s were bikes belong”.

    there’s a lot on-street parking in and around wellington. instead of providing rate-payer subsidised parking under the guise of “transport funding” which maintains these roads (on which up to 50% of their capacity is used for parking, not transportation) much of those lanes would be put to better use as bike lanes. i’m not advocating that all on-street parking be scraped, but constable st in newtown would be a good place to start.

    for now, i think we need to make the most of what we’ve got, and much of it will be less than ideal. getting world-class bike infrastructure may not happen until rebuilding after a disaster. this is why christchurch has a unique opportunity to show us how to do it right. it’s only a matter of time before a quake like that comes to our city… at least i hope it’s a quake like that, rather than a quake like japan got a few weeks later.



    1. Malcolm

      Where are these “many” cycle lanes? There is only one cycle lane in the whole eastern half of the city that I know of (around Oriental Bay-Evans Bay).

      Agreed about Constable Street. I cycle down there most days, its crazy narrow.

      Make the most of what we have now? We dont have anything now, thats the problem! We dont even have crappy cycle lanes to complain about. This is the list of all the dedicated cycle lanes in Wellington from the Wellington city council website.

      * Reef Street
      * Bunny Street
      * Featherston Street from Mulgrave to Bunny
      * Evans Bay Parade from Carlton Gore to Greta Point
      * The Parade from Reef Street to Medway Street

      THATS IT! In comparison Christchurch has 330km of on and off road cycle lanes. Wellington sucks for cycling.


      1. Simon Kennett

        Wellington doesn’t suck for cycling. Despite a lack of cycle lanes, it’s a good city for cycling (which is why cycle commuting has increased in popularity here over the last 20 years). The main benefit over Christchurch being well-restrained urban sprawl and lower speed limits.

        That list is a bit out of date and it completely ignores all the great shared paths we have (like the watherfront, airport subway, Evans Bay, Khandallah Bridle Track, top of the Bot Gardens and Karo Drive, etc). Once you plan a trip on http://www.journeyplanner.org.nz/ the main shared paths show up as green lines.

        That list also ignores all the fun off-road paths we have here – Hataitai to City, Transient, Highbury Fling, Central Park, Karori Park, etc. There are few things that finish my working day off better than a commute through native forest.

        Regardless of all the infrastructure we could or should have, Wellington rocks for cycling!

        Can we stay positive while striving to make it even better?


      2. Nigel

        You are sounding a little bit like a politician here 😉
        I agree Wellington seems well served for recreational biking, BUT, Malcolm is advocating for the commuting cyclist. Isn’t this where the new growth is coming from? The GWRC must think so, thinking of BOTrains, BOBuses, folding bikes etc.


      3. Simon Kennett

        Hmmm…thanks for the compliment, perhaps, maybe.
        My comments are actually all commuting focused. We’ve had growth in commuting since the 1986 census according the ‘How did you travel to work’ question. That goes against the national trend. Perhaps the popularity of mountain biking here is a big contributer – given our steep streets, some of the technology is mighty handy, and the skills developed riding recreationally are useful when commuting.
        The list of off-road paths in my post is just examples of the ones that are handy for commuting. The purely recreational track list would go on and on.


      4. Megan

        The comments here raise an interesting point. What we’re looking for, as cyclists, is not necessarily a complete do-over of Wellington’s infrastructure. (Don’t get me wrong; I dream of dedicated bike lanes that crisscross the entire city but I suppose I’m open to negotiation.) It seems that what we’re looking for is acceptance on the street, which translates to safety, which is really the aim, right?

        As Atom points out, although less than ideal, we work with what we have. I also agree with Simon when he says that Wellington rocks for cycling. It’s beautiful, there are not a ton of stoplights or stop signs and, on the whole, cars don’t travel very fast through town. We invite others to experience the rides with us because we know it’s great and we want them to feel it too. What will help us all the most is visibility and respect on the road, even when there aren’t dedicated bike lanes available for our use. And we’ll get there… especially as our numbers grow.


      5. Nigel

        Malcolm, If no-one can come up with a figure for Wellington City then I am a starter to go out and measure them. Yep, I will cycle them all with an cyclometer and record each one’s length.
        To arrive at a comparative measurement we would need to find out how the 330km was assessed in Christchurch. Looks like one of the problems might be categorising separated cycleways, road cycle lanes, shared paths, and recreational tracks.
        Any results will only be of interest to this forum. Cycling Wellington is about the promotion and enjoyment of cycling aka feel good. The Cycle Aware Wellington local group of CAN is the lobby group. If anyone reads this rant, them correct me if I have this wrong.


  4. atom

    @Malcolm – here’s my favorite example of a “cycle lane” that should be marked as an exclusion zone – http://maps.google.co.nz/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Coutts+Street,+Rongotai,+Wellington&aq=0&sll=-41.322021,174.802203&sspn=0.000427,0.000939&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Coutts+St,+Rongotai+6022,+Wellington&ll=-41.32219,174.802478&spn=0.000427,0.000939&t=h&z=20

    that “cycle lane” on coutts st is 1.5m wide. i’ve seen car doors open, and the edge of the door is right at the outer edge of the “cycle lane”. whoever decided to paint a cycle lane there should be forced to ride in it. on evenings and weekends the on-street parking is usually near capacity.

    there are parts of oriental bay where the marked cycle lane is in the danger zone. last time i was up thorndon quay there were some similar tight spots, but like a few other places those aren’t explicitly marked as cycle lanes; they are however implicitly used as cycle lanes. most cyclists seem happy to use them and motorists seem happy to have the bicycles off of “their” road.


  5. Pingback: Well exactly 2 : Cycling in Wellington

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