Cyclists want safer tracks

Council has been told traffic congestion is scaring off cyclists. Supplied photo.

The difference between Tauranga's approach to getting people onto public transport and that of cities like Auckland and Wellington, is the amount the councils are prepared to spend.

“It's bang for your buck,” says Sustainable Business Network Tauranga spokesman Glen Crowther.

“If you invest in more roads, people will drive on them. If you build safer cycleways, people will use them. And if you provide a public transport service that meets people's needs, more people will use the buses.”

And Tauranga is spending less on public transport than any other comparable New Zealand city, he told Tauranga City councillors last week.

Tauranga City Council's public transport spend is about two per cent of its budget on transport, says Glen. Wellington spends 51 per cent or $224 per capita on transport. Auckland spends 21 per cent or $178 per capita. Those were all the figures he could source at the time.

The Transport Blueprint figures record operational expenditure per capita, Tauranga doesn't rate well there either, spending under $200 per person and beaten by Dunedin/Mosgiel, Invercargill, Christchurch, Hamilton Wellington and Auckland.

Glen, speaking in the public forum at the recent city council Transport Committee meeting, says congestion is a key transport issue facing Tauranga.

Even experienced cyclists say they are nervous about cycling on Tauranga's congested streets.

Cyclist types are classified into four types: strong and fearless, enthused and confident, interested but concerned, and, no way no how.

Generally about 60 per cent of cyclists are interested but concerned and they are considered willing, but wary.

Tauranga roads are so congested even the gung-ho pedal through anything cyclists confess to pre-trip nerves, sweats and palpitations says Glen, speaking afterwards.

“It's interesting, even among that group who do cycle, they tell me things like: ‘Well I do bike, but every time I go to bike about ten minutes before, I get quite nervous and sweaty', and ‘I cycle almost every day but my heart rate starts going and I feel a bit anxious before I get out on Cameron Road'.

“These are the kind of stories I hear all the time.”

“To be fair most or our members I think would be pushing into the enthused and confident end of the spectrum compared with the average business.

“I think because a lot of the people we engage with are probably more interested in sustainability and probably more interested in thinking about cycling more keen to push it a bit to get out there on the road.

Tauranga businesses have become aware that while some staff are prepared to cycle there are more who will not, because they see some dangers in using the city's cycleway network as it now stands.

He's recommending the city council upgrade city cycle ways to meet the NZTA guidelines, as Rotorua has done.

“Auckland city council has also done all the work on it and figured it out,” says Glen. They have rolled out cycle ways that meet those standards and they know it actually does work.”


What about pedestrians?

Posted on 14-04-2017 16:29 | By Captain Hottie

I notice nowhere in the article and hardly anywhere in the comments is what impact cyclists are having on pedestrians. Daisy Hardwick is impossible to walk through now thanks to hordes of cyclists. And they insist on using the footpath when there is a perfectly good cycleway (that the bikers screamed long and loud to have). Tauranga has a high percentage of elderly people, bikes these days are quieter and have no bells so it's a disaster waiting to happen. You might get a passive-aggressive 'EXCUSE ME' as they try to mow you down. I hope council doesn't let cyclists on the Mount boardwalk for this very reason.

Same old argument

Posted on 14-04-2017 12:58 | By Riddick

Most cyclists would already pay for the roads with their vehicle rego *facepalm*Most do use the shared cycle lane over the bridge, I use it every day and the only ones who use the road are the road cyclists - their risk.Would drivers prefer if i pressed every single cross signal on the way home and slow them up even more at traffic lights? I think not, so I'll run the odd light - my riskI find the cycle lanes pretty good actually and i bike from the downtown Mount to 13th ave most days, at all times of the day. My biggest issues are txt-walkers, car doors and dorks who bike with no lights, reflectors or safety gear - stupid!I drive too and I know its hard to see cyclists - wear lights, some Hi-viz and be seen. Fun!

Just a thought

Posted on 12-04-2017 19:40 | By Tgaboy

I'm sure not all cyclists are perfect and that some people have had bad experiences so draw on. But, the same people that appear to condemn all cyclists are probably the same folk that get irrateted by road congestion, given they all seem to only drive. Surely they have the foresight to see that if seperate cycle ways were available, then more folk may feel safe enough to bike, meaning less cars on the road for them to get stuck behind. Maybe, if they are parents, or are going to be parents they could feel safer about their kids biking and not feel so inclined to have to ferry their kids to and from everywhere. Biking makes kids more independent and frees up parents from taxi'ing them.

Cyclists could contribute, but ....

Posted on 22-03-2017 15:11 | By Murray.Guy

It was largely at the behest of a few cyclists that Council foolishly responded to and removed the safe, separate cycle lane on Cameron Rd as they rejected the need to give way on occasion at intersections, impacting on their' boy racer cycling aspirations'. A bylaw that requires a cyclist, of an agreed age and above, to display a 'Tauranga City Cyclist Registration', purchased at any petrol or appropriate outlet, say $2 per day, $10 per week, $40 per month, $400 per year. If we can do it for dogs we can do it for cyclists. Being so few cyclists the income would be small but the reputation for cyclists would be great.

Who would pay?

Posted on 22-03-2017 07:42 | By The Hobbit

Who would pay for these cycle lanes? Cyclists should have to pay a tax of some description to pay for the construction of cycle lanes or the marking of these is on existing roads - not a lot, say $50 per year.

Tassie and what was

Posted on 21-03-2017 22:50 | By Murray.Guy

Tassie comments 'They moved the cycle way from beside the footpath, where everyone was safe for years, and WOW put it onto the road. No wonder no one wants to use it.........would the fools that put it there? Tassie, the 'fools that put the cyclists onto the road were cycling advocates, the 'safe sex clad type', that don't give a damn about 'safe cycling', just their own selfish recreational pursuits on our carriageways, with the support of like minded 'copy & paste' roading staff at Tauranga City Council. These 'boy racers on bikes' refuse to accept that they will have to slow at intersections, perhaps give way to a turning vehicle! Sadly, we are now paying the price, as the wider community as cycling to school is increasingly 'not an option', likewise your workplace, thanks largely to a few cyclists.

I detest Lycra..

Posted on 21-03-2017 20:35 | By Jimmy

build bigger roads and sell more cars!, or license bike riders and let them pay for extra cycle lanes and I promise I will not drive my car in them!, why should cyclists get everything for nothing?, get with the program!,


Posted on 21-03-2017 19:56 | By maildrop

Kiwi drivers, kiwi cyclists, both arrogant and have no road sense. A collision is inevitable. Seperate roads needed.


Posted on 21-03-2017 19:36 | By sangrae

Bring back the cycleway along Cameron rd ie Boys college to the CBD on both sides, come on council planners get of your comfy seats and come outside your air condition offices and see what is really like. Also is the Harbour bridge out of bounds to cyclists ,just wondering?

One law for everyone.

Posted on 21-03-2017 18:32 | By Accountable

If cyclist drive their cars like they ride their bikes it is no wonder New Zealand has so many shocking drivers. Cyclists can't and don't obey the road rules when riding their bikes so one would assume that they will have the same attitude when behind the wheel of their car. Red Square is a good example of the number of idiots riding bikes through a pedestrian only area and they will actually tell that they are above the law. They are no better than a person who breaks into your house. The law is the same for everybody except that the police appear to turn a blind eye to cyclists which adds confusion to the problem.

The hostility from cyclists

Posted on 21-03-2017 16:15 | By Devils-advocate

Is alive and well. Some points to raise.I have in the past commuted by bike. Gave it up as it was an unnecessary risk. My comments are based on experience of other cities, not just Tauranga, and on a daily basis separated cycle ways are not used, in favour of the road and holding up traffic.A classic example in tauranga is the Harbour Bridge. It's narrow, so there is a shared pedestrian/cycle bridge. Do the lycra brigade use it? Not likely. It's this arrogance that will get you injured or may be within your rights to use the road, but you will always come off second best. It would be nice if some more cyclists kept this in mind and rode accordingly

Separate cycleways

Posted on 21-03-2017 13:43 | By mutley

Many more people would use their bikes if the cycle ways were separated from roads. It's a no brainer that people are simply put off by the obvious risk. Remove that risk and we will all be onto a winner: increased cycling and less congestion on the road for the motorists.

I gave up

Posted on 21-03-2017 13:03 | By Chris

I gave up cycling in Tauranga after once again getting knocked off by a blind motorist. It's too unsafe, and without serious infrastructure changes I won't be cycling and neither will any of my family. Devils-advocate, I recommend getting out of your 2-tonne explosion powered death machine and give cycling a go one day, perhaps it will enable you to empathise with cyclists. The cycle lanes are so often completely inappropriate, and I won't use them if I'm going to put myself at risk doing so.

Painted Lines Do Not a Safe Road Make

Posted on 21-03-2017 13:02 | By Chris Lee

Devils-advocate [sic] makes some valid points albeit for the wrong reasons. Most painted cycle lanes in Tauranga are far from safe because they are painted directly beside car parks. Riding in these lanes past parked cars risks getting "doored". (I recently wrote to SunLive on this issue in the area near Otumoetai College where the lanes were particularly narrow and I'm pleased to see the cycle silhouettes have not returned since the road was resealed).But Devils-advocate's attitude demonstrates the other side of the problem which is that once cycle lanes are painted on the road a number of drivers assume they are safe for cyclists and that cyclists are obliged to stay in their lanes. To see relatively safe cycle lanes look at those outside Mt Maunganui College on Maunganui Rd. Elsewhere see how cycle lanes appear and disappear, and widen and narrow at the whim of designers.


Posted on 21-03-2017 12:59 | By peter pan

My Wife has been hit twice by cyclists riding on the footpath when there was a cycle lane available. If they are not confident to use the cycle lanes walk or use the bus.

Public Transport!

Posted on 21-03-2017 12:47 | By Lvdw

Put on more buses. Make bus fares more affordable for the kids and beneficiaries. We also have a huge aged community in Tauranga. Giving them the ability to use public transport instead of risking the drive, would be fantastic.There are NO buses in a new-ish (+-4 years old) Welcome Bay sub-division, but the houses continue to go up. What a no-brainer for the council. Redirect the No 40 bus for about 3 kms and you would get heaps of new commuters and heaps less traffic in peak times. I really wish someone with some logic was in council and can actually do something about this finally instead of constantly paying lip service. What a bore!

They were told.

Posted on 21-03-2017 12:44 | By Tassie

They moved the cycle way from beside the footpath, were everyone was safe for years, and WOW put it onto the road. No wonder no one wants to use it........................would the fools that put it there?

Exactly right

Posted on 21-03-2017 10:09 | By Seemore

We don't use the cycleways because they ARE so dangerous. Give us separation from the cars and I bet cycle commuting would explode in Tauranga. Marine Parade is a classic cycle lane disaster waiting to happen-cars backing out, RVs parked into the cycle lane and queues of cars randomly stopping and turning. Who is the genius that thought up that cycle lane design????

No point in cycleways

Posted on 21-03-2017 09:17 | By Devils-advocate

Most cyclists don't even use the existing ones and then have the arrogance to abuse motorists for their own stupidity.

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