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Make sure you care when you share!

November 1, 2010
East Coast Rd Share with Care

Bombing North towards Sunset Road

The recently completed “share with care” bike path along East Coast Road has been a great addition to my local cycling landscape. I ride to work on the road in daylight and on the commute home (in the dark) I use the path to keep me out-of-range of the bottles and hamburgers that are occasionally lobbed in my direction.

I still think separated “on-road” bike paths in each direction are the best solution for moving bikes along arterial roads (and also the safest) but these “share with cares” have proved popular with families and older riders and that’s reason enough to have them.

But, (and here’s always a but), just because you are cycling “off-road” doesn’t mean you don’t have to look out for cars. I was cruising along the section opposite the Pupuke Golf Club last week pulling my daughter in the bike-trailer. We were riding slow as there was an inorganic collection that week and all sorts of treasures were to be found stacked by the side of the road. Suddenly, and without warning, I sensed a car reversing very fast up their driveway towards us. It was the whine of the transmission that alerted me because a hedge was obstructing his view of any approaching pedestrians. I didn’t have time to get out of the way so I screamed “STOP”at the top of my voice and he hit the brakes pulling up a foot short of the bike-trailer. VERY scary stuff. My heart was pounding as I did a u-turn and only the fact he had actually stopped to apologize prevented a handily placed concrete-block joining him in the car via the back window.

There was no use screaming abuse, he knew he was driving like a dick and couldn’t speak english anyway, so I reminded him to slow down and use his eyes (as best and as calmly as I could) and we continued on our way. The dangers involved in such incidences are amplified tenfold when you have your children with you. It was a real wake-up call.

Sunset Rd Island

The New crossing point at Sunset Road.

I’ve also had problems with cars turning off the road into driveways at high-speed. The motorists are more concerned with getting rear-ended leaving the road than they are scattering pedestrians or cyclists in their path. Cars seem to think they have right-of-way crossing footpaths in NZ and it makes me more than a little angry. These people need to read the road-code!

Perhaps the council should drop some leaflets at the houses bordering these paths to remind residents of their responsibilities and not to reverse onto the road? It couldn’t hurt.

Do you use the “share with cares”? Had any close-calls?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 2, 2010 4:21 pm

    Yeah, definitely had a few experiences like that – as a pedestrian! The sooner drivers get the message that they don’t have right of way EVERYWHERE the better. I feel all the more terrified as we’re trying to teach the kids to walk safely to school, I don’t want to wrap them in cotton wool or anything but I feel like I live on a race track!

  2. Rosie permalink
    November 3, 2010 1:08 pm

    Good warning, I zoomed down it on my folder from Milford to Browns Bay yesterday, it was so fast apart for the bit where it’s still being built. Cant wait for completion!

    • November 3, 2010 11:03 pm

      Take care and good to see it’s being used. Because of the hours I work I miss the bike “commuters” and it’s usually just me, the pre-schoolers and retired folk burning rubber.

  3. November 7, 2010 5:27 pm

    First of all, I didn’t know about this website until I found the link through the cyclingauckland website. It’s good to see that biking has become so popular. I am a keen cyclist myself. And this has maybe to do with the fact that i come from The Netherlands, where everybody cycles. Over there it is a way of transport. Anyway, now living on this side of the world, I still enjoy cycling. But i have to say that riding a bike here can be very dangerous! I believe there are two problems here. 1. People can’t drive a vehicle. Why?? I think because they haven’t had decent training. Everybody should get their drivers licence through a driving school.
    2. Cyclist are not accepeted as road users. And the evidence is clear, when another car driver throws apples, beer bottles or ice creams at me. Well, I think these car drivers will have to get use to it, because the number of cyclist is only increasing.

    Maybe, one day, we will all share and care our public roads. But in the mean time: look out for idiots, and please don’t give up cycling, because of these idiots. Cycling is too much fun!!

    • November 7, 2010 7:26 pm

      I agree with both of your points Ronald. When I visited Europe I was really impressed with the standard of driving (except Italy!). Especially on the motorways where they managed to drive faster but with more consideration for the other vehicles around them.

      As to your second point I think that will only improve with greater numbers of cyclists using the roads. The more of us there is the safer it will be and the more we will be accepted as legitimate road users.

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