Cy­clist warns of dan­ger

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By KA­RINA ABADIA

CHANGES to the lay­out of an Eden Ter­race cy­cle­way are a recipe for dis­as­ter, res­i­dent Lizzie Sul­li­van says.

She’s keen to raise aware­ness of safety is­sues at the Takau St stretch of the north­west­ern cy­cle­way where she re­ceived mi­nor in­juries af­ter be­ing struck by a cy­clist on Jan­uary 29.

Sul­li­van was en­ter­ing the bot­tom of the slope from Vir­ginia St West. She looked be­fore cross­ing the path with her bike but didn’t see any­one.

The cy­clist must have been ob­scured by the bushes, she says.

‘‘I heard him yell and then I yelled. I stood there like a stunned mul­let and he ploughed into me. The next day I saw his brake marks and they started on the black [as­phalt].’’

Sul­li­van was lucky to come away with only mi­nor back and knee in­juries as a re­sult of the col­li­sion, she says.

It wouldn’t have hap­pened if the cy­clist had obeyed the painted yield sign, but it’s the road lay­out that’s to blame, she says.

Her part­ner Jeff Har­ri­son, 27, has started an on­line pe­ti­tion to gather sup­port for the in­stal­la­tion of a safety bar­rier, as was there pre­vi­ously, or an­other mea­sure that protects peo­ple cross­ing the cy­cle­way from Vir­ginia St West.

‘‘I’ve al­ways thought the cy­cle­way was a bit sketchy’’, he says. ‘‘If Auck­land Trans­port ex­pects cy­clists to stop, it’s got to be more than a painted line.

‘‘Things like this are fine if you have a few cy­clists ev­ery hour but as it gets busier it’s only go­ing to get worse.’’

Cy­cle Ac­tion Auck­land com­mit­tee mem­ber Max Robitzsch agrees it isn’t a very safe lo­ca­tion.

But the pro­posed Ian McKin­non Drive Cy­cle­way, which is one of the Auck­land City Cen­tre Ad­vi­sory Board’s pri­or­ity cy­cle­ways, will link to this in­ter­sec­tion of Takau St so the lay­out is likely to change in the fu­ture.

‘‘Any tem­po­rary changes be­fore then should make sure that a new bar­rier is not more danger­ous than the ac­ci­dents it tries to pre­vent,’’ Robitzsch says.

‘‘Putting steel bar­ri­ers at the bot­tom of a steep slope is far from an ideal so­lu­tion.

‘‘Pos­si­bly the tem­po­rary de­sign could use flex­i­ble posts that bend when some­one hits them.’’

Auck­land Trans­port spokesman Dai Bind­off says a safety rail was re­moved late last year be­cause of safety con­cerns.

‘‘On-site ob­ser­va­tions showed that there was a ten­dency among cy­clists trav­el­ling down­hill of en­ter­ing Takau St on the right-hand side of the cy­cle rail.

‘‘Pedes­tri­ans com­ing in the op­po­site di­rec­tion were gen- er­ally keep­ing to their left.

‘‘This in­creased the risk of cy­clists and pedes­tri­ans com­ing into con­flict.’’

Mark­ings have been added to en­cour­age both cy­clists and pedes­tri­ans to keep to their left and to en­cour­age cy­clists to slow down and give way as they ap­proach the in­ter­sec­tion, Bind­off says.

Photo: KA­RINA ABADIA

Danger­ous spot:

Lizzie Sul­li­van and her part­ner Jeff Har­ri­son. Sul­li­van col­lided with an­other cy­clist on the Takau St cy­cle­way.

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