Police suggest cyclists get off the road

Following the conviction of Alex Mann for ‘impeding traffic’ for 400m while biking up Dyers Pass Road, there was an interview on Radio New Zealand featuring Alex and senior sergeant Scott Richardson (Radio NZ interview link). He made the suggestion that cyclists should pull over and get off the road whenever a car approaches.

cyclist get off your bike

Having subsequently discussed this with Scott it appears the 1min or so Radio interview cut out the 10 min he spent talking about the need for cars to overtake responsibly and safely, which just goes to show you need to treat any media report with strong skepticism as its often designed to increase the hysteria and not to find constructive ways forward.

One big question I have is how to make that road safer. A reduction in the speed limit from 70km/hr on the uphill section of Dyers Pass Road would be a huge help, as would painting yellow no passing lines on the dozens of blind corners. Dangerous overtaking by cars will only become more & more of an issue when the mountain bike park brings thousands more cyclists up there every week, so lets get campaigning for a safer road.

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18 Comments

  • Criggie
    19 June 2015, 11:20 am

    There’s minimal room for a cycle lane, and it is one of two roads over to Lyttelton.

    One option is to move the cyclists off to their own path/road but without forcing out the walkers and runners on the walking track.

    Is there any complaint about the lower part of Dyers Pass road (the steep bit?)

    There’s an alternative route through Victoria Park, but there’s no road/path from the turnoff up to the top.

    And there are no other options at all on the south/Lyttelton side.

    REPLY
  • Gregory
    19 June 2015, 11:21 am

    Reblogged this on Sustainable Wellington Transport and commented:

    This precedent has nasty implications for Wellington’s narrow and hilly areas. The legislation clearly allows for cyclists to take the lane if it’s unsafe to move left, but there’s an implication from the police here that if a cyclist needs to stop in order to pull over safely, that’s better than impeding traffic. This is clearly discrimination of transport modes.

    REPLY
  • Gwyn Clarke
    19 June 2015, 1:42 pm

    I’m certain that the Police just don’t get what it’s like to be a cyclist. Firstly, Alex rides a road bike, with cycle shoes, so his feet are locked into the pedals. He’s committed on this uphill leg of his ride, he can’t just dismount easily whenever he likes.
    Secondly, he’s an experienced cyclist, 18 years riding this route 3-4 times a week. He knows the road, he knows the traffic conditions. He wasn’t being a prat about this, he was legally allowed to be on the road he was on. The disparate speeds between himself and other vehicles is inevitable.
    Thirdly, the Police officer here obviously had an axe to grind. I know what this is like: about 40 years ago I was prosecuted for “inconsiderate use of a motor vehicle” because a couple of stones flicked up off my rear wheels at someone on a motorbike when going through a section of road works. This was back in the day when the Ministry of Transport was separate from Police. In my case, the complainant was Sargent MP Caldwell, who was the Prosecuting Sargent for Christchurch Police. It turned out he had an ongoing ‘joke’/rivalry with the MoT’s senior officer, and I was just a pawn in his ongoing game to have a dig at the MoT. The bizarre thing was that I actually knew Mr Caldwell – I used to sit next to him in the Addington Workshops Brass Band several years prior. Anyway, similar to Alex’s case, I chose to contest the charge but was convicted as the JP chose to take the officer’s version of events.
    Naturally, with Alex’s case, the Police won’t now admit they got it wrong.

    REPLY
    • Roger Cleave@Gwyn Clarke
      19 June 2015, 10:28 pm

      But Alex IS a pratt Gwyn 🙂

      REPLY
      • Criggie@Roger Cleave
        20 June 2015, 9:12 am

        I remember being pulled over by a cop for speeding once, years ago. However I wasn’t mouthy or full of attitude. In fact I was honestly surprised at the speed the car had been going.

        Cops have a huge leeway in how they apply the law, and politeness and respect goes a long way.

        I’m supposing that Mister Caldwell may have come across the wrong way, resulting in a more punitive response from the officer than was strictly required.

        TL;DR? A little politeness goes a long way.

        REPLY
      • shermo@Roger Cleave
        20 June 2015, 10:10 am

        Criggie – so we should cower and ask for forgiveness whenever we deal with police? Perhaps that’s the reality of it, but I’d rather my fate not be at the whim of someone who spent 6 months in police college.

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      • Criggie@Roger Cleave
        20 June 2015, 7:10 pm

        No need to kiss arse, but no need to be an “arrogant cyclist” the ones who give us all a bad name.

        REPLY
  • Doug
    19 June 2015, 7:27 pm

    If anybody receives a an instruction from a police officer that endangers their safety, and they can argue the case clearly, they should considering laying a complaint with Independent Police Conduct Authority: http://www.ipca.govt.nz/. Keep in mind the IPCA does not deal with contesting infringement notices and concentrate on the safety aspects.

    For example, I would complain if an officer attempted to force me to ride in the door zone.

    REPLY
  • Guppy pierce
    19 June 2015, 8:10 pm

    Unfortunately police are now governed by revenue and not necessarily logic. I was a cop when mot merged with police . A very bad day in my opinion. Now the money rolls in but as a consequence joe blogs gets pissed off with receiving minor infringement notices and ( I am one of them) because of this attitude by police many will not assist them when in my opinion it is important to solve CRIME. Alex Mann’s situation is typical. I am a competitive cyclist. I have a bus, heavy truck and trailer, car license . Pay all the relevant fees,taxes yet some morons say I shouldn’t be on the road on a bike because I don’t belong on a bike.

    REPLY

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