Cyclists, buses don’t mix
CRAMMING cyclists into busy bus lanes is doing little to encourage cycling on Auckland’s congested roads, a cycle advocate group says.
The lanes are part of the partially completed Regional Cycle Network, which aims to make Auckland a more cycle-friendly city.
However, Cycle Action chairwoman Barbara Cuthbert says combined bus and cycle lanes deter a lot of people from biking.
‘‘There’s no doubt many cyclists are intimidated by sharing a lane with a bus.’’
Although recent figures suggest more Aucklanders are opting to bike, a survey by Auckland Council revealed just 23 per cent of people see it as a safe option.
Luke Chivers took up cycling to university last year to save money and train for a half ironman. But just one week after starting he was knocked off his bike after a car failed to give way.
The accident dashed the 20-year-old’s hopes of an ironman and left him on crutches for four weeks.
Mr Chivers says he has not been completely put off cycling and considered biking to university again after moving to a new flat in Mt Albert at the start of the year.
However, he has decided not to because the Dominion Rd cycle lane is also used by buses and motorcycles.
‘‘There are so many buses that go down there, that they have to go around you – they can’t just stay behind a cyclist all the way down Dominion Rd.
‘‘All it takes is one [driver] to look for a bus in a bus lane, forgetting it’s a cycle lane and just pull out. Instantly you’re cut off and you’re going to fly over the top of them.’’
Auckland Transport admits it is aware of the issues with the Dominion Rd cycle lane but says the width of the road limits any new development.
the lanes are not only a danger to cyclists but are also inefficient for buses that are constantly held up trying to pass cyclists.
‘‘We have to have bus lanes where they can actually travel along like the Northern Busway or at least, ideally, not have to negotiate with cyclists.’’
Auckland Transport says it will spend $30 million on new cycleways over the next three years as it tries to connect the gaps in the Regional Cycle Network.
However, that offers little comfort for those sharing existing cycle lanes along busy stretches like Dominion Rd.