Council admits cycle lane width unsafe

Cyclists are concerned about the width of the cycle lane on a key commuter’s route between Mount Maunganui and Tauranga.

Bike Tauranga affiliate Shane Plummer says the Totara Street cycle lane is a ‘tragedy waiting to happen’. He points out that the width of the current cycle lane does not meet New Zealand Transport Agency best practice guidelines.

The Totara St cycle lane varies from 1.2m to 1.5m in width, and the road speed limit is 60 km/h.

NZTA best practice guidelines state that the desirable minimum width for a cycle lane next to kerb edge varies between 1.6m and 2.5m.

NZTA states that the desirable minimum width for a cycle lane next to kerb edge on a road with a 60km/hour speed limit is 1.75m.

Tauranga City Council acting manager of transportation Phil Consedine says current cycle lane width is less than desirable for an on-road cycle lane and does not offer people on bikes adequate protection from traffic.

“Overall, Totara St is not considered ‘fit for purpose’ or adequately safe for people on bikes which presents a risk of this road, seeing it currently is being used as a route for people on bikes.

“Ideally, the cycle lane on Totara St would be between 1.5 and 1.8 metres wide. Obviously, that is not possible on the existing road due to the current width restrictions.”

ViaStrada senior transportation engineer and transportation planner Glen Koorey says the existing cycle lane width is not sufficient due to the heavy vehicle traffic and high speed limit of Totara St.

“1.2m that’s really at the minimum for a cycle lane, and you might get away with it on a quiet 50 km/h road. It’s not going to work on Totara St.”

ViaStrada senior transportation engineer and transportation planner Axel Wilke, who reviewed the Totara St project on behalf of Tauranga City Council, also raises the issue of turning traffic being the biggest danger to people cycling.

“Those truck drivers they can’t see a thing when they turn left into a driveway and that is the real danger for cyclists along Totara St.”

Glen and Axel both agree that the council’s proposed shared path along the east side of Totara St would resolve issues around the current road layout.

Tauranga City Council has halted the Totara Street Improvement project, which proposed the shared path for cyclists, while Urban Form and Transport Initiative considers the street as part of the wider transport network.

 “People will use the existing cycle lane because they think it’s the only choice they have, and it’s certainly not fit for purpose.

“When you build a decent shared path you provide good width, good sight lines and you can deal with what happens at the intersections,” says Glen.

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try to put the shoe on the other foot

Posted on 21-06-2019 11:11 | By TgaRider

-Stopping refers to physical intersection in the road of which there are 7 and 1 roundabout not driveways forcing rider to stop at each one and negotiate each crossing >time and risk. -30Kph is not boy racer speed its around an average commuter cyclist speed or a nana on an ebike. -when stuck on Totara st at rush hour the cyclists are commuting not recreational. -Have you ever cycled on a shared path of ~3m with an oncoming rider and a pedestrian in the mix? I would slow down but that is the point. I can ride on the road and not have these stop-start detour routes and risk riding with vehicles but we need safe, separated, direct active transit lanes for bikes/scooters/skateboards... build it and they will come. also 16-18min by bike or 25-40min by car for my commute Mt>CBD

TgaRider, emotive claptrap

Posted on 21-06-2019 08:01 | By Murray.Guy

TgaRider, the 3m width is generous for a sensible cyclist, noting that their are few cyclists and easily viewed (on a straight section of road). I did NOT say cyclist do not look, I said, "cyclists may have to look ’more often’ (driveways, etc) and it is exaggeration to to stay you will be forced to stop (as are vehicles), you may or should perhaps slow. I have not heard of the term ’beg button’ which I assume is a light activated ’safe crossing’ button. The constant use of fabricated argument and exaggerated attacks on vehicle users serves no useful purpose in this discussion. Just as vehicles are required to do, you may have to reduce your easily reached ’boy racer’ speed of 30kph from time to time. PS: Every cyclist that whizzes past is NOT one less car as many cyclists are purely recreational.


Posted on 20-06-2019 11:40 | By TgaRider

To Murray Guy, 3m is not that wide for a bidirectional shared path especially on a flat strech of road where speeds can easily reach >30Kph. As to your ignorance that cyclists don’t looking, well we do, our lives depend us being hyper aware of shockingly poor levels of driving. It tends to be the motorist entering/exiting without any indication/warning of the upcoming manoeuvre that will likely result in injury before we get onto the mobile phone/distracted driver situation. As a commuter cyclist I don’t want to be forced to a stop 7-8 times along my commute for the convenience of cars, I don’t want to be forced to stop, dismount and wait at a beg button to let the motorists through again for your convenience.

Tom Ranger

Posted on 19-06-2019 14:36 | By Tom Ranger

Ya’ll should see what the silly cyclist’s around Cambridge do. Two or three wide on 100 k/m roads with no cycle lane and loose gravel/ditches... Cyclist’s should really pay a rego to pay for the lanes. I already subsidise enough idiots lifestyles.

Shared transport ways

Posted on 18-06-2019 08:04 | By Lvdw

Are a thing of the future and will happen, regardless of all the b!tching, moaning and beating of chests. People should learn to accept this and deal with it. Its generally the same people who moan continually about joggers, walkers and cyclists, who are the ones moaning about the traffic jams. YOU are the traffic jam mate. try being courteous to cyclists, joggers and walkers because they are actually freeing up cars and parking spaces on the road.


Posted on 17-06-2019 17:27 | By Yadick

I agree with Me in Furor (forgive my spelling), The road is not safe for cyclists. By all means they have every right to use the road but it is not safe in those suicide lanes. Too many blind spots for us drivers. Our footpaths are, in the majority, plenty wide enough to accommodate a safer cycle lane. Come on Council keep everyone safe.


Posted on 17-06-2019 16:01 | By Murray.Guy

Why not double the width of the ’Port side’ Cycle lane and remove the on-road east side cycle lane? Cyclists riding towards the traffic to be closest to the curb. Why not remove the cycle lanes totally and create a shared, 3m wide, off the carriageway facility on the ’Port side’? Does it matter if at driveways, the intersections / roundabouts, a cyclist, walker, jogger, may be required to look before crossing?

shared path not a suitable solution

Posted on 17-06-2019 14:46 | By TgaRider

With current NZTA and council funding for walking at 0.5% of the spend over the last 10 years it’s no surprise this is the case. Close to $1.7 billion on roads and maintenance vs $9.2 million. A shared path would be more dangerous than the status quo, with 7 intersections and a roundabout to negotiate along with access for businesses along the way a shared path would increase conflict and reduce visibility of cyclists. Reducing the speed limit to 50Kph (lets face it no one gets close to the 60Kph limit at rush hour) and creating two smaller protected cycle lanes would be more useable and direct. Forcing us onto substandard footpaths will only cause more harm and gridlock. Remember every cyclist that whizzes past is one less car that you’re stuck behind.


Posted on 17-06-2019 12:43 | By canyoubelieveit

these cycle lanes are far too narrow at the best of times....the road is for cars and not cyclists....there is way too much traffic for a person on a bike to be safe....

the easiest and most logical

Posted on 17-06-2019 12:09 | By Mein Fuhrer

solution to this whole cycle lane debacle, is to move the cycle lanes from the road to the footpath, where cyclist can share with pedestrians and the motorised transport users (cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles) can share the roadway.

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