25 May 2021

More pop-up bike lanes to come until cycling safety improves - advocate

From Checkpoint, 5:55 pm on 25 May 2021

Cycling advocates who installed a pop-up bike lane on one of Wellington's busiest roads are promising more of the same, until the council ups its game.

- Video by Dom Thomas

Yesterday, the Cycling Action Network installed a makeshift bike path on one of Wellington's busiest roads into the city. 

The bike lane was made from a series of homemade wooden planter boxes to separate cyclists from motorists. 

Wellington City Council quickly disassembled the cycleway yesterday afternoon by moving the wooden boxes onto the path, but this morning volunteers from the cycling group simply moved them back. 

The activists took their planter boxes away again later in the morning, but Cycling Action Network spokesperson Patrick Morgan said they were not finished with them.

"We can build these pop-up bike lanes anywhere, today we're back in Berhampore, next week who knows where we'll be," Morgan said.

"This is going to keep happening until the council commits to delivering safe streets." 

He said they were fed up with the council doing so little to improve cycling in the city, so they had taken matters into their own hands.

"Last week was road safety week, unfortunately two cyclists died last week because we've been too slow to build safe streets. 

"Our message to the council is pull your finger out, do what you say you're going to do and deliver a safe cycling network within 10 years."

Council spokesperson Richard Maclean said putting the boxes onto the road was especially dangerous in areas with heavy traffic. 

"We just want to have an adult conversation and say 'look, we know what you're frustrations are all about', but as an organisation that's in charge of keeping the roads safe, we can't let this keep going on."

Maclean said the council was concerned the bike lanes could cause confrontations between other road users. 

The council is promising to spend more than ever before on cycleways. In its upcoming Long Term Plan, which will be finalised on Thursday, there is a proposal to spend $120 million on bike lanes.

Cycling advocates said they wanted $100m more invested, which could build a complete cycle network across the city.