There is a new bike path on Quay st near the viaduct. This is great in and of itself but it begs the question, who has the right of way?
If a pedestrian chooses to walk on the bike path or on any shared path should the cyclist go around the pedestrian or should the pedestrian get out of the way of the cyclist?
I believe that legally the larger a vehicle is the more it is culpable for damage to the slower moving vehicle. So in effect if a car and a bicycle are in an accident it it the car’s fault and if a bicycle and a pedestrian are in an accident then it is the cyclist’s fault. The justification for this is that the larger vehicle can damage the smaller one so they must take more care.
Well we all know about the dangerous drivers in Auckland and the amount of cyclists killed or injured each year is horrendous. So I now I would like to shift the focus to the extensive Bitch path systems in Europe to see the possible future of bike paths in New Zealand. In my travels through Europe I have consistently experienced the same disdain from cyclists towards pedestrians that cars exhibit towards bicycles.
If a pedestrian accidentally walks onto the bike path in Germany or the Netherlands then the cyclists will furiously ding their bells and shout abuse to the pedestrian. The people walking about in Germany actually share the footpath with bicycles so that it becomes a dangerous proposition to walk on suburban streets in Berlin and Hamburg. In Amsterdam there is more separation but the pedestrian cannot just casually enjoy a stroll without constantly glancing around for violent cyclists.
I don’t think this is the cyclist’s fault. The fault lies the road being used for cars. Roads just are not designed for multiple types of vehicle.
Perhaps if roads were dedicated to a trams in the centre, flanked by bicycles and then pedestrians roads would become safer. Then cars would only be for longer distance journeys rather the average daily commute of 20 kms.
So in light of the European model it is my sincere hope that the shared path on Quay st can circumvent these issues. It has a few features in it’s favour. There are large plant boxes with grow trees in them that separate the walkers from the bikers. Also the footpath is enormous in this area so it is unlikely that pedestrians will have to wander unless drunk of course. Here’s hoping it can be a model that could be followed in other areas of Auckland.
Riding through the streets of Auckland I see a lot of incredible, weird and broken things at the small end of the night. A lot of folk having the ride of their life: A lot of people devolving. These are my reflections.