A Road Safety Initiative That Might Actually Work?

In Backchat on Saturday, Huia, one of our long time commenters, made some comments about her lovely day spent wandering about the sunny climes of the Coromandel. Part of that was the following observations and thoughts about motorcyclists.

Stopped off in Coromandel on the way back and it was humming, very busy. 
Headed home met several motor cyclists with a death wish, they seemed to be going for a track record by sitting on the white line leaning into our lane on corners. We were lucky (and so were they), no heads in helmets stuck on the truck anywhere which was good, because its a massive job to clean up when that happens.

Your wheels might be legal, but your head won’t care when you get clobbered.

Funny that Huia should make this observation just a couple of days after the ACC announced that they are instigating a new road safety initiative aimed at motorcyclists, in the form of a cashback allowance for riders who have completed their Ride Forever courses.

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A marketing opportunity gone begging


Artists impression of $4m boondoggle

Insanity prevails in Christchurch:

Huge 400 tonne soaring arches are being constructed near the airport as part of the $112 million State Highway 1 Russley Rd upgrade.

The gateway arches, designed by Warren and Mahoney, at their highest point will stand 27 metres near the intersection of Russley Rd and Memorial Ave.

NZ Transport said the arches and lighting will cost in the ?vicinity? of $4 million. ? Read more »


Driving in Ireland – My Impressions

Guest post

There are three kinds of roads in Ireland: “R” roads, “N” roads and “M” roads.

“R” roads are ‘Regional’ and the speed limit is 80km/h – although most are so bumpy, narrow and windy, you’d be hard pressed to reach 70km/h! These would be the equivalent of our rural back roads (but narrower and with no verge)

“N” roads are ‘National’ roads and have a 100km/h limit – these would be more like our State Highways. Again no verge and generally no passing lanes. However they are reasonably wide and have a yellow striped marking about three quarters of a lane wide on the left (both sides) where slower vehicles are expected to pull over into to let traffic past. And with few exceptions, this did occur.

“M” roads are motorways with a limit of 120km/h. And with absolutely no apologies to NZTA, these bear absolutely no resemblance to our so-called ‘motorways’. The on-ramps and off-ramps are usually kilometres apart (which is one of the reasons why the higher speed is viable), not 1.5 km apart or less. The closest we would have (I think) would be the Albany Expressway or Waikato Expressway, where, in the latter case, I think there has been talk of having higher limits…

On all roads, the limit is regularly posted and there are also many, many speed camera warning signs. Although the fitted GPS in the car sounded a wee warning when I was going over, I confess to have been driving a few (maybe 10?) kilometres over the limit on occasion. I never saw a camera, and hope I didn’t cop a ticket, but I guess I will know in the next few weeks. All in all, the traffic was a joy to drive in, heavy or not, as people seem to be less aggressive and more considerate. Although they tended not to use indicators very often…

And an observation: I suspect the number of tractors (big John Deeres, Fords and Fergs) driving on the country roads is close to 10% of total vehicles, outside the cities!!

Some of the R roads were pretty hairy – just wide enough for the car plus a bit, high hedgerows or stone fences right up to the edge of the road and poor visibility for oncoming traffic. But we made it with no dings or scratches, I’m pleased to say.

Over the distance I drove in Ireland, I think the worst driver behaviour I saw was a woman going through a roundabout a bit quick. Speed limits were mostly observed and traffic kept left.

Contrast this with the 50km drive home from Auckland Airport where I experienced tailgating, speeding (past me), slow traffic in the “fast lane” not pulling over, no headlights on (at night: several cars and one large truck) and an idiot diving from the “fast lane” across three lanes in front of a truck to get to an off-ramp.

I despair of NZ drivers!!

Iwi want to own the forest, but then want taxpayer to pay for doing the weeding

Iwi want to own and manage the forest and tell us all they are the guardians of Waipoua Forest for us all…but it turns out that they really mean for a price….to help with the weeding.

The Waipoua Forest Trust says the Transport Agency is putting Tane Mahuta and other giant kauri under threat by careless management of the road that runs through the Northland forest.

The conservation trust sent a report to the agency saying endangered plants have been weed-sprayed and rare trees chainsawed, and invasive weeds are running rampant.

The trust’s spokesperson, Keith Stewart, said the agency was ignoring its responsibility to protect the forest, and the iwi in charge of managing the roadside needed to take more care.

He said the agency was being cavalier.

“I think the problem lies with the NZTA [New Zealand Transport Agency], they’re the ones at the end of the day who have the responsibility for that road and for the forest it goes through, the problem that we have at the trust right now is that the response from NZTA has been to completely ignore our complaints, completely ignore them.”

The Transport Agency said it had met trust representatives to try to understand their concerns, and was auditing the management of the forest.

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Len’s latest boondoggle, the SkyPath, passes resource consent

The SkyPath cycleway has passed resource consent. The road maggots are celebrating. So too is the mayor.

That, however, is just resource consent. It’s way different from a suitable business case. And it’s potentially exposing the ratepayers to another assault on their wallets for subsidised transport options for the liberal elite.

Auckland’s SkyPath has won resource consent , but one councillor is sounding a warning.

Cameron Brewer says the proposed covered pathway under Auckland Harbour Bridge could result in unforeseen costs for ratepayers if usage of the tolled route falls short.

“I’m all for the private sector funding new capital projects, but the worry with SkyPath is that ratepayers could be liable for any operational shortfalls if very ambitious patronage targets are not met,” Mr Brewers says.

?In the past it has been proposed that perhaps ratepayers could make up the financial shortfall if patronage numbers fall below 75% of forecast. That?s a real worry when the promoters have forecast annual numbers at 781,384 ? that?s over 2,000 users a day on average in the first year alone,” he says.

“What?s more, promoters believe numbers will then continue to rocket to supposedly over 2.1 million users annually. It?s pie in the sky stuff.”

Although resource consent has been gained, Auckland Council also still has to approve the business case for the project.

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People are Stupid, Ctd

In the?continuing?series highlighting the general theme that people are stupid and do stupid things:

The NZTA is disappointed that thieves have taken lights designed to help keep motorists safe.

Thieves have made off with at least $5600 worth of safety lights from Rimutaka Hill Rd.

The 160 lights ? called side delineator lights ? were fixed to posts and fences on the Featherston side of the hill two months ago but started going missing.

There are none left.

New Zealand Transport Agency Wellington operations manager Mark Owen said that the lights appeared to have been stolen.

“We’re very disappointed with these thefts, as the lights were being trialled to help make journeys safer for motorists on the Rimutaka Hill Rd.”

The thefts had been reported to the police, he said.

No doubt they will now be gracing some bogan’s garage bar.