Here are facts as extracted from the police statement to the court and discussion with Alex Mann.
Extract from the Police statement
On 14th May Alex Mann was convicted in the District Court of impeding traffic while biking up Dyers Pass Road. The incident occurred on 2nd October 2014 at 1.35pm, just before the turnoff to Victoria Park, when a slow moving van with two occupants (one taking photos) began to follow Alex who was cycling at 20km/h (GPS data verified, 6m/s), with a police officer on a motorbike behind the van. Because of substantial amounts of ice grit on the side of the road making it very dangerous to pull onto the Victoria Park turning bay, and the fact the van had been following him for only a few seconds, Alex did not move into the Victoria Park turning bay, expecting the vehicle to pass on the next straight. The vehicle attempted to slowly edge pass on a blind corner but backed off, fortunately before causing a head on collision. The vehicle successfully passed after following Alex for a total of 400m. The officer rode alongside Alex suggesting he rides further left than his existing line, approximately 200-500mm to the right of the white line. Alex politely suggested that was a dangerous practice.
The road code states that “road users should keep as ‘near as practicable’ to the left side of the roadway. This means that you should keep left, but not to the extent that it compromises your safety”. Alex’s safety would clearly be compromised by having to move into the ice grit at the side of the road
The road code further states “If the road is too narrow to safely allow vehicles to pass, you are in danger of being run off the road or hit by a passing car. In this situation it is acceptable to ‘take the lane’ and move further out into the path of traffic to prevent other users from passing you.” http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/roadcode/cyclist-code/about-cycling/cyclist-responsibilities.html
The officer did not accept any of this and stopped him and issued him with a ticket for impeding traffic, which the District Court upheld, fining Alex $230 ($150 + $80 court costs).
The police’s version of the story differs slightly from Alex’s, stating that the incident began a few metres before Alex’s version of events, but both agree that it took place over 400 metres and lasted approximately 60-90 seconds.
Questions that should be asked of the powers that be are:
- Why did Alex get a ticket when there are thousands of tractors, boats, trucks, caravan’s etc. impeding traffic for much longer than 400 metres or ninety seconds constantly around New Zealand every day?
- Why did Alex get a ticket when cycling exactly as the road code recommends?
I was very dismayed to hear that Alex Mann was convicted for ‘impeding traffic’ in the Christchurch District Court on 14/5/15. The conviction followed him receiving a ticket for impeding traffic while biking up Dyers Pass Road on 2nd October 2014. According to the police report, Alex was biking approximately 500mm to the right of the white line (Alex claims 250mm), which is exactly what the road code states he should do in a narrow lane. (http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/roadcode/cyclist-code/about-cycling/cyclist-responsibilities.html). The police report also states that they were travelling at 20km/h, that the traffic was impeded for only 400m, which was between one minute and two minutes (72 seconds if 400m is travelled at 20 km/h).
There was one turning bay Alex could have moved into, but it was full of ice grit and would have been very dangerous on his road bike, so it is completely reasonable he prioritised his safety over slowing a couple of vehicles for only a few seconds.
There are thousands of tractors, boats, trucks, caravan’s etc. impeding traffic for much longer than 400 metres or 72 seconds constantly around New Zealand every day? Why did Alex get a ticket when all these other vehicles are never even considered for ticketing?
Why did Alex get a ticket and a court conviction when cycling exactly as the road code recommends?
Can you please launch a full investigation into these matters and provide me with satisfactory answers to these questions.