Cyclist Really 'Impeding Traffic'?
Opinion Piece on Cyclists 'Impeding Traffic' by Don Babe, Chair of Spokes Canterbury
Alex Mann made a legitimate choice when he decided to travel by bicycle the day a police officer fined him for impeding traffic.
He obeyed the road code by keeping left but not so far he was in danger of falling in the drain or becoming unstable in the grit and debris often present on road edges.
He was aware that there was at least one vehicle behind him and believes he rode in a fashion that most of us would recognise as a signal that the vehicle should pass. Unfortunately these signals were not acted upon by the following vehicle either because they were taking photos or they were from a different culture and did not recognise the signals.
Most motorists will have done this at some time in their life, going a bit slow for some reason and moving to the left but the vehicle behind does not pass.
When the vehicle did finally pass the ticketing policeman was on his motor cycle in the queue.
The resulting ticket seems excessive. This situation arises often with tractors, mowers and even those pulling trailers that are limited to 90kmh on the open road often causing traffic to slow down.
The road code is definitely in support of Mr Mann's actions.
Dyers Pass Rd in the proximity of Victoria Park was used by people before motor cars came along.
It was retro-fitted to allow motor cars to use it but not designed as a modern road with easy curves and good sight lines. Motor cars are able to use it now cautiously.
Mixed use by any modes of transport results in all traffic being compromised. This does not mean other modes should not use it; just accept it for what it is, a narrow, windy hill road.
Requiring cyclists to move off the road whenever a car comes up behind them would make the road unusable for cyclists.
Cycling is becoming a more popular transport choice throughout New Zealand and this has been shown to have huge benefits for society, motorists and the cyclists. Considerate and courteous behaviour is required whenever two modes of transport share a space and it is good to see that in this case it seemed to prevail.
It is unfortunate that Mr Mann was ticketed for behaving properly and even more unfortunate that the judiciary upheld his conviction. These institutions do not produce perfect outcomes but thankfully we have a society that respects the outcomes and lets us voice our disappointment from time to time.
Photo by David Walker for Stuff/Fairfax.