Monday, August 28, 2006


Where footpaths are available in Japan, cyclists ride safely with ease among pedestrians.

In New Zealand, cyclists have literally been legislated to death (11 killed and God knows how many injured so far in the 2006 year period) by being forced into the 'combat zone' where most cycling fatalities occur
- while our valuable footpaths are sanctioned off and left as an under-utilised resource.

The law which prohibits the use of footpaths by cyclists (except by delivery workers) may have been appropriate in the era in which it was passed when people used to walk to get around and when traffic was much lighter and slower- moving than it is in today's world.
This by-law is obsolete and needs to be reviewed and rescinded.

The footpaths in Japan are no different from the footpaths in New Zealand.
There are just as many driveways with cars coming out of them and a lot more pedestrians and certainly a lot more cyclists using them.

The maneuverability of cycles makes the chance of collision with pedestrians extremely low (whatever the asserted perception by pedestrians is on this matter) while the reality is that cyclists vs. car collisions have much graver consequences for all involved.
Cyclists have the benefit of being able to hear everything that drivers can't hear from inside a car, - such as the sound of cars approaching intersections and pulling out of drive-ways.

The use of bicycle bells should be encouraged .

The Christchurch City Council has the power to change by-laws to relax the restriction against cyclists using footpaths although it seems they have been told by their legal advisers that amending existing by-law which prohibits use of footpaths by cyclists would open them up to law-suits.
All care, no responsibility:
-So where does Local Government start taking real positive action to promote utility cycling?

The CCC could take the lead in changing prevailing attitudes which are currently against allowing cyclists to invade the sanctity of our precious pavements by running education campaigns which focus on promoting the benefits of having cyclists use them and to help assuage the fears of the pedestrian public.
Bicycles can be relatively fast moving but because they are highly maneuverable they can move quite safely among pedestrians, even in densely populated areas such as shopping malls and on city pavements.
Compelling cyclists to dismount and walk their bikes when passing through some areas (such as shopping malls) may seem from the perspective of non-cyclists to be reducing the risk of collision but from the cyclist’s perspective it is (usually) a nonsensical imposition which does nothing towards eliminating what they see as an imagined threat.

See this article on the pros and cons of allowing cyclists to use footpaths....
  • Cycle paths are much preferred by cyclists over cycle lanes, even if their actual safety is not as good as the on-road solution. If NZ wanted to be able to start using pathways alongside roads as a promotional measure, central government needs to review the existing give way rules. In Europe, cyclists on a pathway have right of way over turning traffic, whereas in NZ, all other traffic has right of way over a cycle path, even motorists turning from a side street into a main road. Without such a give way rule revision, cycle paths would never offer a level of service acceptable to the majority of the existing cycling population. ( June 2007 )
The New Zealand Rode Code for cyclists



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