The relentless rise in the popularity of cycling in the United States has suddenly challenged the hegemony of cars over roads. The same process (and the same angry and ill-informed response from car users) can be seen in New Zealand. You only need to look at some of the, frankly quite disturbing, comments that were posted on this blog when John Tangiia died back in January.
The Economist has posted a video looking at the purported issue of “rogue cyclists” and how some jurisdictions have dealt with this.
You may recall that in a lot of European cities, such as Paris, people on bikes are allowed a free right turn (so left in New Zealand) and in Idaho people on bikes can roll through stop signs and red lights (after of course checking there is no traffic).
This could be seen as favouritism for people on bikes over people in cars. But I have always been of the opinion that a person on a bike is much more of a wheeled pedestrian than a form of two wheeled, human powered car (which I see as more of a vehicular cyclist attitude). And we don’t expect a person on foot to act like a car or walk in traffic.
I really hope one day New Zealand can move on from a “them and us” attitude and start talking about how our streets can be given back to all their users – not just the ones in cars.