ChainLinks, June 2021
The newsletter of Cycling Action Network
Advocacy works: Huge wins in Wellington and Hutt Valley for fair cycling budgets
Caption: Eliza and Davy make the case for cycling, at WCC long term plan hearings.
Thanks to decades of advocacy, relationship building and a massive response from our supporters, Wellington City Council voted for a fair cycling budget in May.
In Lower Hutt, advocates persuaded the Council to up their game. Cycling and micro-mobility infrastructure in Lower Hutt got a last minute boost during Long-Term Plan deliberations by Hutt City councillors.
Pop up bike lanes win support
May was a huge month for everyday cycling in Wellington. The events of the last few weeks have resulted in a major turnaround of votes for the Long Term Plan at Wellington City Council. In the end the most ambitious plan was voted in, securing $226M to fund a complete cycling network across Wellington in 10 years!
Wellington's newest bike lane opened on 24 May, in response to safety concerns. The lane is on Adelaide Rd, Berhampore. It was built by community volunteers from the Urban Repair Crew.
Caption: Cycle Wellington co-chair Alex Dyer and CAN Project manager Patrick Morgan ham it up for the Stuff camera.
“Everyone deserves the right to get around safely”, said Patrick Morgan. “Despite decades of talk, our Council has failed to deliver bike lanes our community needs. So we're doing it for them.”The group had a working bee to build 15 planter boxes from recycled pallets, to protect the bike lane. The cost was a few hundred dollars.
One planter box was made from years of Council reports. Mr Morgan said Wellington Council is prolific at producing reports, but have been far too slow to deliver actual bike lanes.
“We can't ride your ghost bike lanes.”
Auckland Harbour Bridge rally - Liberate the Lane
Bike Auckland invited people to a rally by the Auckland Harbour bridge in May, to make the case for change. Following the rally, around a thousand people walked, ran, skated and biked across the bridge. David Slack tells it like it is.
Bike Auckland is calling on Waka Kotahi (NZTA) to liberate a lane on the Harbour Bridge for cycling, in a three-month trial this summer. Sign our petition!
Skypath has stalled, and people trying to board ferries with their bikes and e-scooters are being turned away due to lack of deck space. We cannot wait five years for another solution.
Spokes Canterbury news - More action needed on truck safety
From Spokes Canterbury Chair, Don Babe: "May was a sad month for those interested in cycling as two people were killed by being struck by trucks on consecutive days towards the end of the month. It reinforces the range of uses we put our roads to. Trucks are obviously important to move the goods we make and need from the place of production to the place of consumption. However, there are problems when these huge vehicles come into conflict with the most efficient transport option available, the humble bicycle. There are rules to cover these conflict points but they should not be relied on to make sure everyone gets home safe. Rules make assumptions about the equipment and operators involved. For instance most rules for vehicular transport assume the operator has good visibility for 360 degrees around the vehicle and up to a point not far from the edge of the vehicle. Those of us who have seen the Share the Road demonstrations and sat in a stationary truck know this is far from the truth. In fact there are some areas around a truck where an entire rugby team could be standing and the driver would be ignorant of their presence.
Without prejudging the possible Coroner's enquiry, my knowledge of the Fyfa Dawson fatality on Springs Road a couple of years ago was caused by this phenomenon. It may have been a factor in the May fatal crash on Halswell Junction Road too.
Some people are keen to call victim blaming when suggestions are made about how to cycle safely. I am prepared for that but do want to advise people that when a truck is stopped at a road junction please stay behind the truck and wait for it to move before going through the intersection. I have heard people say that there is a painted cycle lane on the left and the cyclist is entitled to be there. That is correct but is an example of a rule that is not failsafe, look after your own safety first.
I have made contact with the CEO of the NZ Trucking Association and we have committed to do some more work on what needs to be done to avoid these crashes. The truck operator suffers when these incidents occur too. Often the driver will not drive again and it is hard to replace an experienced driver.
Any other ideas of what they could do to firstname.lastname@example.org please.
Announcing the CAN Board
Dea Majstorović (she/her) is CAN's new Chair, following our AGM in May. She is a bike commuter and advocate from Christchurch.
Dea says her weekday cycle commute, to work and back, is always the highlight of her day. She wants to spread that same enjoyment to others, across all sectors of Kiwi society.
"Through the diligence and passion of many, CAN's achievements over the years have impacted each and every cyclist in Aotearoa. As CAN Chair, I'm dedicated to furthering that impact on the ground." More here.
Bike to the future
CAN speaks up for cycling
CAN is filing complaints to the Media Council and Broadcasting Standards Authority following harmful comments about people on bikes.
The cycling debate is not about lycra. It’s about power
Dr Kirsty Wild from the University of Auckland says the use of dehumanising language about cyclists (lots of vermin metaphors) is dangerous. "An Australian study showed this type of language is significantly correlated with aggression toward cyclists.
A vital part of CAN's work is to voice your concerns to Government. Recent work includes:
CAN responds to Climate Change Commission report
While it's inevitable to see the Commission tackle transport emissions, they could have given stronger advice to the Govt on the huge potential for cycling investments to crush carbon. Most urban trips are just a few km long, a distance perfect for riding bikes. Cycling also has compelling co-benefits for health, busting congestion, and affordability.
Ministry of Transport: Hīkina te Kohupara – Kia mauri ora ai te iwi: Transport Emissions: Pathways to Net Zero by 2050
The Ministry of Transport has released Hīkina te Kohupara as a discussion paper for targeted engagement. The paper is a review of the opportunities across the transport system that might be used to reduce transport emissions. Transport contributes a significant amount of carbon emissions to our atmosphere and quick and bold effort is required to take steps to reduce these emissions. The outcomes of feedback on Hīkina te Kohupara will help the Ministry with the transport chapter of the Emissions Reduction Plan.
Making the case for cycling – our voice on social media
Project manager Patrick Morgan (pictured above with Bevan Woodward from the SkyPath Trust) says that with cycling in the news in the past month, CAN's social media presence has ramped up, tripling in the past 28 days.
Follow @CyclingActionNZ @PatrickMorgan
Ministry of Transport - Reshaping Streets scoping summary
The Ministry of Transport scoped a project to accelerate widespread street changes to make our cities and towns more liveable, accessible, sustainable, and inclusive.
"We want to understand what the challenges and opportunities are for accelerating widespread street space reallocations to support public transport, active travel, and placemaking. We will explore whether any changes could/should be made to the transport system (including rules, regulations and incentives) to accelerate widespread street changes."
CAN collected more than 100 responses from our supporters, and sent them to the Ministry team. They covered land use for parking, inappropriate consultation, status quo bias, safety, and the need to free up space for people on bikes.
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Improving inclusivity and diversity
We’ve had some wins, but the hard truth is too many people are turned off by how we advocate. It’s not easy to hear that, although well-intentioned, the impact of our advocacy too often comes across as unwelcoming, especially to women and marginalised people.
We need to do better – to be inclusive, to be effective, and because it’s the right thing to do. This affects how we moderate the Cycle Wellington Facebook group, when and how we meet, and how we advocate.
As an initial step, Cycle Wellington ran a workshop to hear concerns and work towards solutions. More here.
A powerful and effective submission - A plea to Wellington City Council
27 May, 2021, to Wellington City Council at the Long Term Plan meeting, from Jen Lawless
"Thank you for the opportunity to speak. I’m submitting just not for myself but for my family, and my brother Ben. Ben is the big boy in the photo I keep in my son’s room, so he knows that he had an uncle who loved him very much. More here.