A few years ago Cycle Action Auckland saw itself as working mostly for commuter and everyday cyclists. Road cyclists were another breed who did their own thing, and were not part of our world.
All of that changed the day that Mark Taylor from Mt Eden Cycles asked Cycle Action to help improve bunch riding on Tamaki Drive. This brought us in touch with road cycling leaders from shops in Central Auckland to develop the Good Bunch protocol, which in turn taught us more about the different needs of road cyclists. It was timely that we should gain this knowledge and wider cycling community, as road cycling issues occupy a lot of my time as Chair of Cycle Action Auckland. The old game of ‘hate on the lycra cyclists’ is still alive to some extent, but I am pleased I have learnt more about road cycling, have more road cyclists amongst our advisers, and can call on these new mates to help out on various programmes. Cycling in Auckland is stronger because of this collaboration.
I notice that this collaboration doesn’t seem to be happening in other cities across the country. Cycle advisers/advocates still occupy one world, and the road cyclists seem to be in another. I think that’s a shame. The reason why I say this is demonstrated by the May/June issue of the NZ Road Cyclist magazine in bookshops now. I recommend you get a copy. Road safety features throughout the magazine, from the front cover – where it lists ‘Cycling’s No 1 Issue – How to stay safe on NZ’s roads’ , to the editorial ‘Lead Out – Don’t Try this at Home’ , a number of very balanced and worthwhile ’Letters to the Edito!r, and several feature articles.
This magazine highlights what a tight bunch the Auckland cycling community is becoming, as more of us make cycling a centrepiece for our lives – whether it be for transport, relaxation, sport, or touring- and keeping safe becomes a vital priority. As Chair of Cycle Action I celebrate this – we need everyone on board to change Auckland for cycling.
We would love to have more road cyclists as members of Cycle Action, as getting more money for cycling safety is about public visibility and strength in numbers. It costs bugger all, and means you are backing the hardest working team in town lobbying to improve cycling conditions across the Auckland region. Think about it, and join up! www.caa.org.nz
Yesterday’s brutal attack on an Ironman cyclist near Taupo was shocking. It was quickly picked up by the media who are asking us “Is road rage against cyclists on the rise, and what can be done about it?”
Our response: “Road rage against cyclists is generally less common than a few years ago. But let’s be real, this is massive ‘summer of cycling’, with day after day of brilliant riding weather and record numbers of cyclists taking to the roads. More cyclists on busy roads means more random incidents between motorists and cyclists. As cyclists we need skills to handle these without losing control, as we’re likely to come off worst in any conflict. It’s not easy when motorists are arrogant or plain stupid in not giving us enough road space.”
That’s where Good Bunch is useful. It was created by Tamaki Drive cyclists concerned about escalating aggro on the road during early morning rides when big bunches were mixing with stressed commuting motorists. Bunch leaders to took the initiative – launching a pilot programme to promote a safer road culture. With the help of Cycle Action and AT (Auckland Transport) the Good Bunch protocol was born. One of the 5 key points is ‘Courtesy works – a smile and a wave’ As the message spread we found that cyclists were able to stay in control, engaging with motorists in a polite, respectful and confident way.
Thanks to more help from AT we’re now spreading the protocol across Auckland. First off, we want to do a survey so we have basic info on the rides (easy, med, tough) and a contact for new riders to find out how to join in. We also want to map the routes of Auckland’s bunch rides.
AT would like to use this info to consult ride leaders on roading works proposed on their routes, so they are designed to cater better for cyclists during the construction phase and long term. AT also intends to text/email early warnings on up-coming road works affecting particular rides etc.
You can beat the rush by getting hold of the survey first, so your bunch gets the early bird benefits we have in mind. Send the contact details for your bunch to firstname.lastname@example.org
Are we on the right track to make bunch riding safer and easier?
Great to hear that cycle tracks are being rolled out at more and more schools – getting new generations of Aucklanders on wheels, maybe for their first time.
This time, it is Onepoto Primary, in Northcote. Read about it at the Harbour Sports website.
As always, cheers also go to Bike On who pioneered the concept and was also involved in this getting this one realised.
Are you a keen mountain biker, BMXer, triathlete, track or road cyclist? We need your input to help build a Bike Facility Plan for the Auckland Region.
The plan is being developed as a partnership between Auckland Council, Bike NZ, the cycling codes within the Auckland region, the Regional Sports Trust Alliance and Auckland Transport, and will be used to identify demand and to guide future facility developments.
The aim of the plan is to identify the current demand and facilities used, project how demand is changing and to identify what facilities are required.
Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey by Friday 15 Feb. Remember – if you don’t ask, you don’t get! Spread the message around your networks. The more input the better.
…then Auckland Transport wants to talk to you.
They are running two workshops about how road safety could be improved in that area, and would like to see cyclists attend. They have reached out to a few cycling groups, but maybe you aren’t linked to any particular group, but would still like to have a chance to join the discussion?
6pm-8pm, Wednesday 14 November – Clevedon Community Hall
6pm-8pm, Thursday 15 November – Te Puru Community Centre
Join them for a sausage sizzle at 6pm, workshop to start at 6:30pm. Please contact Aaron at AT if you want to attend.