Mo­tor­cy­clists shut out of plans

The Wellingtonian - - Front Page - RUBY MACANDREW

Welling­ton’s mo­tor­cy­clists are fed up with be­ing left out of the city’s trans­port con­ver­sa­tions, but the coun­cil says it won’t back the ‘‘in­her­ently dan­ger­ous’’ mode of trans­port.

Mem­bers of Bik­ers Rights Or­gan­i­sa­tion of New Zealand (BRONZ) be­lieve they aren’t be­ing given the same at­ten­tion when it comes to the city’s long term trans­port fu­ture, and they’re right.

The coun­cil’s city net­works chief trans­port ad­vi­sor Steve Spence con­firmed this sub-sec­tion of mo­torists is often de­lib­er­ately left out of con­sul­ta­tions.

‘‘The po­si­tion taken both at lo­cal and na­tional level has been that mo­tor­cy­cling can’t re­al­is­ti­cally be en­cour­aged as a mode of trans­port be­cause it is in­her­ently dan­ger­ous when com­pared with, for ex­am­ple, travel by car or pub­lic trans­port.’’

Other main cen­tres didn’t take that stance, with no sim­i­lar coun­cil poli­cies in place across the Auck­land, Hamil­ton and Christchurch city coun­cils.

‘‘Mo­tor­cy­cling is not a pri­or­ity mode for the city but we do see them as a vi­able trans­port choice to achieve our strate­gic out­comes for net­work ef­fi­ciency,’’ Christchurch City Coun­cil’s head of plan­ning and strate­gic trans­port, Richard Os­borne said.

Hamil­ton City Coun­cil net­work op­er­a­tions team leader Robyn Den­ton said the trans­port unit did not dis­cour­age any trans­porta­tion types, but over­all sup­ported in­creased pub­lic trans­port.

Auck­land Trans­port spokesman James Ire­land said the or­gan­i­sa­tion did not ‘‘ac­tively dis­cour­age mo­tor­cy­cling’’ but was very ac­tive in pro­mot­ing safe mo­tor­cy­cling.

In the past five years to date, 232 peo­ple have lost their lives in mo­tor­bike ac­ci­dents – in­clud­ing 22 this year alone.

In com­par­i­son, since the be­gin­ning of 2017, 175 peo­ple have died in car ac­ci­dents and nine cy­clists.

BRONZ pres­i­dent By­ron Cum­mins said it was dis­heart­en­ing to hear so much talk from the Welling­ton City Coun­cil about ca­ter­ing to cy­clists, while mo­tor­cy­clists were largely left out.

‘‘There are mil­lions of dol­lars ear­marked for cy­cles and nothing – zero – for mo­tor­cy­clists. It’s not even on the table.’’

But Spence said: ‘‘Un­like cy­cling, there are no ob­vi­ous health ben­e­fits [of mo­tor­cy­cling] to counter the safety dis­ben­e­fits.’’

De­spite that, grow­ing num­bers of peo­ple are com­mut­ing by mo­tor­bike – or power cy­cle – na­tion­wide.

In the most re­cent 2013 cen­sus, more than 26,000 peo­ple said this was their main means of travel to and from work, up from 19,692 in 2006.

Mo­tor­cy­clist Mark Hill, be­lieved mo­tor­bikes were a ‘‘prac­ti­cal and vi­able al­ter­na­tive to a car in all weath­ers’’ and should be cham­pi­oned by the coun­cil.

‘‘The rise of com­mut­ing grade scoot­ers, which hap­pily cruise at max mo­tor­way speeds, come with weather pro­tec­tion, anti-lock brakes and stor­age.’’

Cum­mins often at­tended the coun­cil’s Safe and Sus­tain­able Trans­port Fo­rum to en­sure, at the least, the num­ber of park­ing spa­ces was main­tained.

‘‘Since 2011, they ba­si­cally tabled look­ing at any­thing to do with mo­tor­bike park­ing which, on one hand, means they won’t up­set the sta­tus quo but it also means they’re not in­ter­ested in ex­pand­ing it any fur­ther.’’

‘‘We’re part of the cure, not the prob­lem but we seem to just keep get­ting pushed fur­ther out.’’

But Spence said the coun­cil’s fo­cus was on get­ting the pub­lic, mo­tor­cy­clists in­cluded, to con­sider safer, more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly trans­port op­tions.

PHOTO: KENT BLECHYNDEN/STUFF

Park­ing around the cen­tral city is one of the main con­cerns con­tin­u­ally raised by Welling­ton mo­tor­cy­clists.

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