Future-Pipe Bridge - Bayswater
A pre-build concept plan but this is pretty much what it looks like – a fantastic walking/cycling SHARED facility

This is a call to the cycling community to help us call to heel a ‘small minority’ of people cycling who are causing grief on our beautiful new Bayswater walking and cycling bridge.

The bridge replaced a hopelessly narrow structure know as the ‘pipe bridge’, which was widely used by local cyclists, dog walkers, scooter riders, young mothers walking children to school etc. We all had to queue up to wait for people on the bridge to pass over in single file.

Now the pinchpoint of the bridge has been replaced by a generously wide bridge and downhill approach path, we’re hearing that many more cyclists are using it (great!), and that the behaviour of a few is threatening local pedestrians.

We have been told of cyclists riding 3 abreast and others who are riding too fast and using abusive language to pedestrians they regard to be ‘in their way’.

The opening festivities - a great day for walkers and cyclists
The opening festivities – a great day for walkers and cyclists

We are told that local teenagers know about the local culture of path courtesy, and are model citizens. Apparently the inconsiderate behaviour comes from people in their 30s-40s, who claim the route is a cycleway, they have right of way and are entitled to abuse local pedestrians.

These stories are hugely frustrating. Many elderly people walk the route as their daily constitutional, revelling in the sun and wide harbour views, meeting and greeting other walkers. Some use a walking stick and others are recovering from hip or knee surgery. Young mums and dads now accompany  their kids to school, with younger children in push chairs. The last thing these people deserve is to be intimidated and scared away from using the route.

Last year we began working with locals, Auckland Council and AT on a programme called ‘Same Path’ as there was apprehension that the wider dimensions of the bridge and downhill approach path could cause a few problems. It looks like we’ll have to escalate the programme and the interventions.

These signs are prominent but not registering with all cyclists
These signs are prominent but not registering with all cyclists

If you know anyone who rides this route and may be contributing to the problem, please talk to them about courtesy on shared paths. Let them know the consequences of their actions, and that they’re letting the rest of us down.

Bridges Cycling safety General News
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26 responses to “Cyclists Letting the Team Down on New Bayswater Bridge and Path

  1. I realise everyone should be considerate but this is a very valid issue with the ‘shared path’ philosophy that both AT and NZTA are continuing with. For instance, if the NW ‘shared path’ gets much more popular then there will be similar issues. We need bike infrastructure. Just like the Dutch do. The dual mode, fast bikes on the road, slow on shared paths, is a poor outcome for both people on bikes and pedestrians.

  2. If the Greenhithe path is an example the cyclists riding tend to keep left but the pedestrians ignore this basic and treat the path as a footpath and wander all over the path. The strange markings at Greenhithe do not help either. Then there are the wandering dogs, the owners seem to think once off the road they can let them go loose

    I agree with Bryce cyclists and pedestrians are actually less compatible than bikes and cars. Pedestrians complain of speeding bikes but one assumes unless otherwise stated a lane has the same speed limit as the adjacent road? Cycling down Greehithe Bridge at less than 50 kph requires constant braking. I cycled over this road bridge for twenty years without incident and within two weeks of using the new, and compulsory, path had four near misses two with cars and two with pedestrians.

    Shared paths are certainly not a safety panacea.

  3. I don’t know the situation on the above path but on the north western, cyclists keep left, pedestrians wander all over. Luckily there are not many

  4. You guys are totally right – pedestrians wander all over shared paths – they are also often wearing headphones and do not hear you. Note sure what children are taught now but 30 years ago you were taught to walk on the left on footpaths – I do notice a large number of immigrants walk on the right. To me there needs to be a education program done by the authorities on pedestrians keeping left – not sure what the road code says.

    1. Yes, just like “all” the cyclists running red lights – “all” the pedestrians wear headphones and wander all over the path or dont know to walk on the left? Many of the people complaining on the bridge are older people – unlikely to be listining to headphones and would instinctively walk on left.

      We really need to practice what we preach and look after other more vulnerable road users. Not see them as an impediment to going as fast as possible.

      Perhaps that is an Auckland driving attitude we are bringing to our cycling? Some of these comments are starting to sound dangerpusly like NZ Herald motorists’ comments.

      What next? Registration for pedestrians to make them accountable?

  5. Judging by the comments above the Orakei boardwalk would be similar to Greenhithe and the North Western. Same along the Onehunga to Otahuhu shared path.

    Life’s too short to be stressed about people or their dogs wandering around. Well maybe dogs off leash are fair game 😉

    Just slow down and roll past considerately. Then step on the pedals and call it interval training if you like. It’s still far preferable to riding on the road.

    So I disagree that bikes and cars are more compatible than bikes and pedestrians, and I don’t think that’s what Bryce was saying to be fair..

    But it’s better for everyone if cyclists have their own segregated infrastructure, right?

    Meanwhile, the Bayswater hooligans need to pull their heads in.

    1. “So I disagree that bikes and cars are more compatible than bikes and pedestrians”

      Amen! Risk of injuries is so different it is almost north worth comparing – the risks of ped/cyclists collisions are there, but mostly it is a matter of not making ped’s lifes unpleasant.

      This will be an issue for a long time to come, even if we get more separated cycleways, so lets play nice.

    2. You got the gist of what I was saying Tim. Sure, people doodling along on a bike are one thing but once you get a few bikes, even moving at a relatively sedate 20 or so km/h, and a few pedestrians, things start to get busy and the whole point of being on a bike is to get somewhere a bit quicker than walking (wheeled pedestrian). This doesn’t mean I think we should be sharing with cars at on 50kmh streets either. We need actual bike infrastructure.

      1. What more, if sports cyclists are using this route, what does that tell us about Lake Rd facilities?

        1. They definitely are Bryce, a lot to get to the Bayswater ferry via Bayswater Ave.

          This bridge is only a few hundred metres long. We are always telling motorists they need to chill out and carefully pass cyclists. Well I would say the same to those sport cyclists – just relax and take it slow over the bridge.

          As with motorists, if you need to speed to get to your destination on time, then you need to manage your time better. It is not like cyclists are even stuck in congestion.

          Whatever we think of shared paths and bridges, they are a reality right now and we need to parctise what we preach.

          1. So the brand new bridge should have been built wide enough to allow bike paths and pedestrians. We need to atop penny pinching on this expensive infrastructure and build for the future. That future is a huge increase in cycling numbers.

      2. Yeah, agree.. shared paths can very quickly become a victim of their own success.

        Take Orakei boardwalk.. it wasn’t even there five years ago. It’s still great at commuting times, but on a Sunday afternoon, it can be crowded. When the Hobson cycleways / shared paths go in, it will need to be widened or another one built alongside.

        Which by the way would still be very small change compared to any road project anywhere in Auckland.

  6. Pedestrians have right of way, if it doesnt work for you then the alternative is the or road.

    Personally a bike path does not equal sharing with pedestrians as each travel at differing speeds and a non present walking person bumping into another non present walker equals no injury as opposed to bike and walker.

    I have ridden in Singapore with their shared paths which work very well if your just riding at 50-10kmph

    1. Although I agree with you in principle (as I have said above), saying “Pedestrians have right of way” on a shared path is equally incorrect.

      This bridge and the paths on both sides is a shared path. That means both pedestrians and cyclists need to make space for each other and respect each other. That means no mode has “priority” over the other.

      That means cyclists need to travel at safe speeds that will allow them to stop if necessary, certainly no more than 20km/h. Correspondingly, pedestrians need to be ready to step aside to make space if possible. Cyclists need to wait patiently if until that is possible.

      That seems pretty reasonable and about the same as runners and walkers on a footpath.

      I have been abused by pedestrians on the shared paths on the footpath in Devonport on Victoria Road for using that shared path. This was while I was stationery on my bike and (silently) waiting for two ladies to get past a pinch point on the shared path with their dog. This despite the cycle stencils literally under their feet. So it goes both ways.

      1. With my past experiences, I am beginning to wonder if pedestrians see the white bike stencil and assume that is a pedestrian island for them to stand on, when cyclists are cycling in the cycle lane.

  7. I think we might be starting to see the first signs of active mode congestion. Not a bad problem to have, but it shows it desperately needs more funding.

    1. Yes Ben. My comment above was not against the gist of the post but more a case of looking into the future. If induced demand leads to roads being built oversized ‘for the future’ then we also need to be taking these same kind of issues seriously for active modes. Build for what we want, not what we’ve got. Although the NW cycleway is being rebuilt as a 3m wide ‘shared path’ I think we are going to see the same issues crop up there in the near future once the links from Waterview, the Grafton cycleway is open and the Beach Rd link are built.

  8. Bells? Anybody… Not that hard to ring and actually quite joyous of sound.

    1. Bells are great , I cycle along Henderson Creek everyday for my commute. Pedestrians respond to the bell, I think, for its nostalgia appeal ( no pun intended). At times I feel like I’m liberating Paris for the positive reactions I get. Vive la clochette.

    2. Love the bells, I think there appeal( no pun intended) is partly nostalgic. I cycle commute along Henderson Creek everyday, the sound of my bell is greeted with a very positive response, sometimes I’m treated like I’ve liberated Paris. Vive la clochette.

      1. Yes in this case its not a lack of infrastructure, awareness, space, delineation or compatibility.

        Its a lack of communication.

        Ding ding.

  9. In Melbourne, all the shared paths have a centre line, with signs reminding walkers & cyclists to keep left, and cyclists to ring their bell when passing. Here are some photos. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/f8hipj8vpa1a2t5/qjtAzEpLj4

    I figure there are 4 main ways of dividing shared paths.
    1. Split Direction split modes (like some of Stanley Park in Vancouver)
    2. Split direction mixed modes (like much of Melbourne)
    3. Mode split (like Tamaki Drive)
    4. Chaos.

    Does anyone know why the the preferred option for Shared Paths in Auckland is option 4. Option 1 requires more space, but option 2 and 3 don’t.

    After visiting Melbourne, option 2 seems like a great solution to me.

  10. Hi Brendan – the key difference I see in all those images is that they don’t show cross-movement caused by people coming from parked cars, entering driveways, entering houses or shops etc…

    Here in Auckland we too often do shared paths in the wrong environment, where we should do protected lanes. Shared paths like the northwestern work reasonably well, and I agree that 2 is the way to go (and as far as I understand, it is the preference of the future AT standards too).

    However, in some areas where there is not enough width, or other issues exist, we will need to keep with other options, including Option 4, which I wouldn’t call “chaos” but slow-speed share with care. Horses for courses.

    1. I cannot agree with mixed modes as a preference. We need to be setting ourselves up for a huge increase in cycling. Mixing large numbers of bikes with pedestrians will cause problems.

      1. I agree Bryce, mixing large numbers of bikes and pedestrians doesn’t work.

        Tamaki Drive is an example of a mixed mode which doesn’t always work well for cyclists in some places because of issues with the quality of the surface, the width of the path, the curves and blind corners, the door zone from all the parked cars and the number of pedestrians of all ages. It’s well past its use-by date.. and changes are planned, including segregation.

        The NW is ostensibly similar in width and surface quality in places but is generally straight, has no parked cars and far fewer pedestrians (and dogs). It could work well for years yet.

        Orakei boardwalk is somewhere in between. Transformational to have it at all, compared to the lengthy, hilly, busy, alternative on-road routes, but getting much busier and in due course will need upgrading.

        I suspect most shared paths need to be understood as at best a means to an end.

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