Drivers main deterrent for cyclists - TVNZ news

TVNZ news is reporting on research by Ben Wooliscroft, Otago University on factors that deter people from cycling: ""We saw petrol being important, workplace facilities, cycle lanes are important as well, but the biggest barrier to people cycling was their fear, essentially, of drivers," says Wooliscroft." also comment from NZTA and BikeNZ


This is presumably why Auckland City is promoting cycling on the pavements ;-) The BigLittle City advert (the one with the bicycle in it) has been spotted in Copenhagen. Check out:


Auckland Cycle Chic

The right to ride a bicycle in safety without fear

Having enjoyed 10 years as one of Japan's 86 million unhelmeted pavement bicyclists and having endured the last 3 years 'sneakling' around the back streets of Christchurch, for me the greatest fear is that of persecution and prosecution by the police for my deliberate choice to segregate myself from the rivers of steel ( by riding on pavements where I deem this to be the safer option) . Bicyclists in New Zealand are subject to a $200 fine for riding on the pavement and $55 fine for refusing to wear a helmet, and it is aggressively enforced.

Of the 98% ( whatever the number) of New Zealanders who refuse to get around by bicycle, there may a large number who might otherwise choose to if they were encouraged ( by a change in the law and education campaign) to use existing extensive, but currently under-utilised segregated facilities.( i.e.'footpaths') and to ride without the imposition of having to wear a helmet.

I'm pretty certain that if all cyclists in Japan were forced to share the road with motor vehicles ( and to wear helmets), that we'd see a similar abandonment of cycling to that which we have here.

Japanese bicyclists (from all demographics) are patently aware of the obvious danger that sharing the road with comparitively large fast moving motor vehicles involves. The difference there is, that their authorities allow them the right to choose the safer path,-which overwhelmingly they see as being, where they exist, the pavements.

Alan Preston in Mangawhai,Northland

Is it Safer to Ride on the Footpath?

Many of you will have seen the AA’s recent call for allowing children to ride their bikes on the footpath.
Ignoring all the related issues about driver behaviour, child freedoms, etc for now, let’s have a look at some
of the safety evidence about cycling on roads and footpaths.

The first important thing to remember is that by far most cycle crashes do NOT involve motor vehicles on
the road. People fall off or hit objects for various reasons, and they also have many crashes on off-road paths
with pedestrians, dogs, and other cyclists. In a recent New Zealand study (Munster et al 2001), it was
estimated from hospital data that four times as many cyclists are injured from cycle-only crashes on the road
or footpath than those involved in a motor vehicle collision (note that this doesn’t include off-road
mountain-biking track accidents either). When looking specifically at children, Safekids (2001) concurred,
with 85% of NZ hospitalisations for bicycle-related injuries to children during 1992-96 not involving a motor
vehicle. Similar findings have been found overseas (Moritz 1998, Carlin et al 1995).

continues at

There appears to be an exception - if you are delivering flyers, mail etc.
Wonder if this has been tested in law?

Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 (SR 2004/427) (as at 01 August 2008)

11.11 Riding cycles or mopeds on footpaths, etc

(1) A person must not ride a cycle or moped on a footpath or on a lawn, garden, or other cultivation forming part of a road.

(2) Subclause (1) does not apply to a person who rides a cycle on a footpath in the course of delivering newspapers, mail, or printed material to letterboxes.

Freedom to choose and freedom from fear.

The main theme of this thread is the extent to which fear is a factor in dissuading New Zealanders from taking up cycling as a means of transport.
My contribution is inspired by the stark contrast between my experiences as a cyclist in Japan (most recently 4 years in Kyoto) and more recently (3 years in central Christchurch) in New Zealand.

My experience of cycling in Japan was overwhelmingly of freedom: freedom to chose the non-confrontational path, freedom to ride slowly, freedom to not wear a helmet etc.. but most importantly of freedom from fear: freedom from the fear of being hit by a car, freedom from the fear of injury and freedom from persecution by the authorities.

Anyone who wants or needs to cycle in Japan, does.
You could not generalise as to what 'demographic' is most well represented among cyclists in Japan.

In New Zealand, anyone who chooses to ride a bicycle is subject to restrictions on where we can ride, being forced to 'share the road' to ride as fast as we can go ( by implication,being on the road) and to comply,- or else to endure the fear of being prosecuted by the police.

Consequently cycling is limited to a very narrow demographic of (mainly)assertive young(ish) what I call
ófficer class'cyclists.

I have found riding in New Zealand to be fraught with restrictions and fear and I believe that until those advocating in the interests of cyclists accept and start addressing this aspect to promote cycling to the general public ( as opposed to just those who are willing to comply with the legal status quo) , we are only ever ( given the current automobile dominated environment) going to get more of the same....

Alan Preston in Mangawhai, Northland.

As a member of the demographic being discussed (lady of a certain age) I whole heartedly concur with Alan. I always ride on the pavements were possible; in fact, if I had to cycle on the roads (thankfully, there are very rarely any police officers around to enforce the law) I would stop cycling as I consider cycling on the roads in New Zealand simply too dangerous and terrifying. Until there are real cycle lanes (see -, not those daft little green patches (see - or more often no cycle path at all, I will continue to ride on the pavement and quiet back streets. I love that idea about leaflets by the way – mental note: make flyers for Auckland Cycle Chic and keep them on bicycle

I also have children and I would suggest that the reason most accidents for this demographic are not on roads is because parents like me don’t let their children cycle on the roads but instead insist on their children cycling on the pavement or staying in carparks, playgrounds etc. Falling off ones bicycle is a key part of growing up and allows children to learn about the world and test limits; I would rather not have my children squashed under a car while they figure this stuff out. We have a serious obesity problem in our children - look around any school classroom, the picure is grim - we need to get them out on their bikes in a safe environment. Come to think of it, this goes for the New Zealand public as a whole.


Auckland Cycle Chic