Something has GOT to be done about New Zealand

This caught my eye this morning:

Fifth Cyclist Dies in Five Days (need I mention all were hit by motor vehicle drivers?)

Confusingly, among the comments below the article, most criticise cyclists – for not paying higher insurance premiums, for riding poorly, for causing traffic, for not looking for inside cars they’re passing to see if someone inside might open a door into their path…

Edit: a few seconds after I posted that: Girl Cyclist Run Over by Truck

Girl hit on way to school

Which all clearly ties with this from last month:

NZ One of the Worst in the Westernized World for Road Fatalities

And this speaks volumes about why:

SUV Driver Pushes Cyclist off Road – Lectures Him (which is a little similar to what has happened to me a couple of times, once by a police officer trying to nudge me off the road, though thankfully I didn’t suffer this chap’s broken collarbone)

Something has GOT to be done about New Zealand drivers, and the bicycle infrastructure here!

Build good quality, safe and segregated bicycle roads that keep people on bicycles well away from these irresponsible morons.


7 thoughts on “Something has GOT to be done about New Zealand

  1. I think part of it is that car drivers have been pandered to by the state for so long, that it’s become a cultural understanding that they automatically have the right to do as they want, and anyone getting injured by a car is ‘in the way’: trespassing on the sacred space given to cars, and therefore automatically at fault. That’s not saying all drivers are stupid, but simply that an odd cultural idea has grown up over time which will take some work to change again.

  2. I was shocked to find out how poor cycling is overall in New Zealand. Whether it’s reading blogs or watching Youtube videos, I’m on pins and needles.

    As much as I whine about how bad cycling is in Canada, I don’t think we’re at the level New Zealand is at.

  3. It’s because NZ drivers are fucking mongs! I’ve lived in several countries and kiwi drivers are terrible! Its like they don’t know how to drive. A very dangerous country to be in a CAR never mind on a BIKE!

  4. @Andy. Absolutely. The underlying reason is blatant pandering to motorists. It shows in the streets designed for motor vehicles rather than people, and in the massive chunk of money the government plows annually into road construction and maintenance, and in lax policing of illegal driving. Oh, and you can drive from age FIFTEEN. Bad habits start young.

    @Ryan. Shocking but understandable when the infrastructure is so anti-bike and the driving so poor. The only reason there aren’t more deaths is that so many people are scared away from using their bikes.

    @Paul. I dislike the word ‘mong’, but if you mean lacking in ability and utterly unaware of it, I couldn’t agree more. See my answer to Andy’s comment.

  5. The government has a vested interest in keeping the population dependant on their (our) private cars: tax.
    The fuel companies obviously want to keep us dependant on motor vehicles.
    The motor vehicle industry is huge (see how many people are employed in car related work) and also has an obvious vested interest in keeping people off bikes.
    There is little chance of change unless……
    the price of petrol goes up.

    On my commute I ride past at 3 petrol stations, and every time I see that the price of petrol has gone up I cheer.

    • I used to think that, but now…

      We’ve had decades of car-centric land use planning, and hence a severe underinvestment in alternatives, such as public transport and bicycle roads. The simple assumption was that cars were the future and everyone would want to drive because it would be quick and easy. Subsidising wide roads and plentiful parking would allow all these future car owners the freedom to get around. And this made sense in 1960s transport logic. They didn’t know much about ‘induced demand’ in those days. No matter that motorised traffic was more dangerous when it ploughed into soft traffic (ie. people); when everyone drove, this problem would disappear.

      However, the generations suckled on this no-alternatives 1960s mindset are now mentally and physically addicted to their cars. See how the vast majority of car trips are an easily bikeable distance (I don’t mean by sporty ‘cyclists’, but by normal people on sturdy bicycles), but very few safe routes for bicycles remain. (I really have nothing against cars per se, but they’re really rather inappropriate within most urban areas.) Only a very courageous politician, or one with a granite-solid mandate, will now stick their head out to reverse the car subsidies and neglected alternatives, to begin the long psycho-social process of car rehab. It’s ‘path dependence’ – what you did in the past shapes your future options.

      Some options:
      -organise change at a grassroots level
      -write to local/national officials requesting changes (better if done as an organised group)
      -sponsor field trips for local/national officials to see how things are done elsewhere
      -retrain as a city planner and get a job with local council / national planning department

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