I feel some education is needed for cyclists. Every morning, on my work commute, there are several road maggots who behave like the rules don’t apply to them.
It’s Wellington and there is a steep and narrow street, not wide enough for traffic to pass in both directions at the same time. The rule is that traffic heading downhill pulls to the left where there is space, and waits for the traffic coming up to pass. There are not many places to stop, so often the traffic backs up for most of the way uphill. It’s no drama. Once the lights change the traffic moves really quickly and you are rarely held up for more than one light sequence. But that is not good enough for the cyclists. They charge on down, in the space left clear for traffic to come uphill. They are important you see: no need to wait or observe rules. Rules are not for cyclists.
One day soon a car will turn into the street from the bottom and the cyclist will literally be a hood ornament. There may even be a red mist. I will have no sympathy for the cyclist. I will feel sorry for the driver, who has to scrape them off the hood and get their car repainted.
And that’s just the first peeve of the day.
Next, we come to the traffic lights. No need for cyclists to stop if the light is red. They are ‘special’. Everyone else will take evasive action. Rules are there to protect them, not to be obeyed.
Just this morning, while I was waiting patiently at my red-turn arrow, a cyclist passed me on my left, went straight through the red light (remember red lights are not for cyclists), went up on to the footpath (because they own those too) and then rode across not one, but two pedestrian crossings, and got the jump on traffic waiting obediently at the lights. What could I do? No licence plate to take down. No way to report them as a dangerous driver. If I said, “He had a red bike, a black beard and a fat backside in skinny Lycra pants”, well, I would have just described half of the cycling population of Wellington.
But I’m not even at work yet. After I park there is a short walk to the office, across a pedestrian crossing and along a few hundred metres of footpath. Cyclists do swerve to avoid me on the crossing, I will give them that but they should stop, behind the painted line, as cars are required to do, and wait until the crossing is clear. But, they don’t. Rules don’t apply to them you see.
I continue, on the footpath now. Safe as… well… actually, not safe at all. They ride on the footpath. Rules don’t apply to them you see. And, if you dare suggest that they should not be riding on the footpath, you usually get an earful of consonants. Like, somehow, you are in the wrong for suggesting that they be decent citizens.
Let’s take a look at what the NZTA has to say about cyclists and rules. Now, it’s OK. I will be repeating the important bits as I know it’s a lot to take in and it can be confusing when you are a cyclist. Quote:
What drivers would like cyclists to know
[…]Drivers expect cyclists to obey the road rules and to be courteous, ie using hand signals and not cycling through red traffic signals. […] End of quote.
Drivers expect cyclists to obey the road rules, not cycle through red traffic signals.Quote:
What pedestrians would like cyclists to know
[…] If you are on a footpath with your cycle you should be walking with it, unless you are delivering mail or are cycling a wheeled recreation device that has a wheel diameter less than 355 millimetres (normally a tricycle or small child’s bicycle). […] End of quote.
If you are on a footpath with your cycle you should be walking with it.Quote:
Sharing with pedestrians
[…] If you want to use a pedestrian crossing to cross the road you must get off your cycle and walk. The exception is at crossings with special traffic signals for cyclists – here you may cycle across the crossing when the signal shows a green cycle symbol. See Using shared pedestrian and cycle crossings for more information on these types of crossings. […] End of quote.
If you want to use a pedestrian crossing to cross the road you must get off your cycle and walk.Quote:
[…] It is normally illegal to ride on footpaths, unless delivering mail or when cycling a wheeled recreational device that has a wheel diameter less than 355 millimetres (normally a tricycle or small child’s bicycle), but some councils have created shared paths that both cyclists and pedestrians can use.
Sometimes the shared path is sign posted to let you know what type of user has priority, and in this case, you need to give way to the user who has priority. When a shared path does not have priority signs, you should give way to the slower user. […] End of Quote.
Once more for the dummies:
It is normally illegal to ride on footpaths.
When a shared path does not have priority signs, you should give way to the slower user. Quote:
If you are riding on a shared path you should:
[…] let pedestrians know you are there by politely calling out or ringing a bell when you are approaching from behind them
ride defensively and cycle at a speed that does not put others at risk. E-bikes should be in the lowest power setting. […] End of quote.
The sound of a dinging bell from a bicycle gives me the urge to shove the bell up the nearest orifice. If your nose happens to get too close, you might just find that’s where the bell ends up. You have been warned. Fortunately, that’s only a suggestion rather than a rule, so use a bell at your peril.
But, do ride defensively and cycle at a speed that does not put others at risk.
Registering cyclists has a range of benefits, not least of which is the ability to prosecute the many who chose to not only ignore the rules but to blatantly flout them thereby putting others at risk. No other lawbreakers get off so easily. We need to get tough on cyclists.