Flashback Friday: Solutions to traffic queues

I’ve had two occasions recently where I had to bike to locations across town right at the peak start and end of the day when commuters are trying to get to or from work, mostly in their cars. Often I miss the brunt of this on my normal bike times in and out of my own workplace, but it was quite stark just how much everyone was going nowhere fast in their queues while I was able to happily pedal past. It highlights a distinct advantage of biking in rush-hour (although, even the biking numbers are getting rather congested in some locations in the morning!). And it was something that Steve Muir picked up on too when he first blogged about this, back in Mar 2017

I was impressed with this image from a story on Auckland’s traffic congestion which suggested Aucklanders spend 4 weeks a year stuck in traffic.

It’s a great perspective with the queued traffic snarling to a standstill while the lone cyclist has plenty of space to zoom along having a great time. I do have to ask myself the question ‘why aren’t there more people on that cyclepath’? Cycling seems like the perfect solution to me, but there’s obviously a lot of people very grumpy about being inconvenienced by construction of our new cycleways who are not so enthusiastic about cycling. A couple of examples are the irate business owners complaining to Christchurch Council and the dairy owner on Colombo St.

Over the years I’ve noticed some of these stories focus on public transport as the solution (which is a good thing) but some never  mention cycling as a practical solution. Why don’t frustrated motorists get on a bike more often? If they live far away, get on an electric bike! If it’s occasionally raining, put on a jacket! It’s not that hard!

I was pleased to see NZTA is trying to change this attitude with its recent ad which is encouraging people to commute on a bike more often, with a “ride-more, feel-more” message that cycling to work makes you feel more alive. Helmet hair is portrayed as a positive, which may be a stretch for some people, but overall a great message I thought.

Do you find biking in rush hour an advantage over driving?

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