February Newsletter

February Newsletter


 Bicycle Fix it  13 February 1-4           Linwood Community Arts Centre,
Cnr Stanmore Rd and Worcester St

A group of enthusiastic volunteers are running their fifth free bike maintenance workshop. Bring along your bike and we'll give the tyres a pump, fix the punctures, oil the chain, tweak the brakes, regrease the bearings etc*. We'll also show you some basic bike maintenance skills if you're that way inclined.

Have you any unwanted bikes, parts or helmet? We'll collect it, restore it, and pass it on to someone who really needs it. Have you any bike maintenance skills? We'd love to have you come and help. Other non-mechanics are welcome to help with tracking fixes, preparing refreshments, and making smoothies on the bike blender etc. 

So far we have done over 80 repairs and given away 30 bikes over the 5 events.

The ICECycles (Inner City East Cycles) Group is a project of Te Whare Roimata promoting and enabling cycling - for health, enjoyment and self-sufficiency.

Supported by: www.cycletrailers.co.nz, Spokes, CDHB.


Go By Bike Day Free Breakfast 2011 

The annual Bike Wise Go By Bike Day Breakfast will be held on Wednesday 16 February. In addition to last year's locations (at CPIT corner Madras and St Asaph, Oxford Tce opposite the boat sheds and Victoria & Peterborough Sts run by other organisations) this year Spokes are hosting a site in Victoria Square, next to Queen Victoria's statue.  

We would like to hear from people willing and able to help with the event. Jobs (unpaid!) include setting up tables, gazebo etc, laying out food, through to serving and clearing away left overs, plus if enough people are available, directing cyclists to the site from nearby streets. 

The event runs from 7:00 to 9:00am if you would like to join us for all or part of the time. Contact Nigel - spokes_chch [at] can [dot] org [dot] nz or 377-2820. 

In any event be certain to cycle and encourage your friends and family.


Bikewise Month

Bikewise NZ is a national level organisation promoting cycling. The bike to work breakfasts is part of their activity. To find out what else they are up to check out their website at: http://www.bikewisechallenge.co.nz/ You can sign up for their e letter to win prizes.


Avon Heathcote Estuary –Ihutai Estuary Edge Master Plan

Consultation has started on the draft for this proposed plan. There will be a drop in session to discuss proposals at the Mt Pleasant Community Centre, McCormacks Bay Road, on Tuesday 15th February 2011 5.00pm - 6.30pm.  Submissions close on 1 March at 5pm.  Background documents are at: http://www1.ccc.govt.nz/haveyoursay/ConsultationView.aspx?ConsultId=768

This document will be very important for validating long term plans for both a "family friendly" Sumner to City cycling route, and a walking and cycling link on public land past the sewage ponds adjacent to the estuary edge.  Spokes is promoting this second route both as an important link between NE and SE Christchurch, and as part of a recreational and tourism cycleway linking the Avon & Heathcote rivers, the estuary, Hagley Park and the City centre. However, there is some opposition to this proposal from within Council. If progress and funding are to be achieved in our life time it is crucial that you to take part in this process, and support these initiatives.


Active Cycle Warning Signs - Where are they needed?

In the January Spokes newsletter, we told you about the recent initiative by NZTA to install dynamic ("active") cycle warning signs on the approaches to the narrow SH1 Ashley River Bridge - these flashing signs are only activated when cyclists approach. For more details about how these look and operate, have a look at the presentation given at the 2009 NZ Cycling Conference, which explains some installed near Nelson - http://cyclingconf.org.nz/system/files/05a2-Cycle-Warning-Signs.pdf.

NZTA Canterbury are interested in where else such warning signs might be useful. For example, any highway location that has narrow (or no) shoulders, is unlikely to be prioritised for improvement in the near future, and features a reasonable cycling demand. This might include some of the other narrow bridges around Canterbury, or narrow winding sections of highway (Akaroa Hilltop anyone?). If you have any suggestions, please contact spokes_chch [at] can [dot] org [dot] nz and let us know - we will be meeting with NZTA again mid-April.


Annex Road underpass will remain closed until 9 May

Frustrating news for those who use this useful route.  Apparently there have been problems with the motorway earthworks.  There is a less direct alternative route via the Curletts Road off road path, using the crossing lights to Lunns Road and then back on to Annex Rd.  Unfortunately part of the path is within the Motorway works corridor, and this affects the surfacing.  Travelling on along Annex Road to the Blenheim RD intersection is NOT recommended due to the lack of cyclepaths and high number of trucks on this route.

The number of road closures/ disruptions to cycling routes around the city (not all of them earthquake related)  is an on going source of frustration for cyclists.  Manchester Street is partly re-opened, but Colombo Street lanes are still blocked off, and sewage mains work on St Asaph has completely blocked eastbound access from High Street to Ferry Road (not to mention on-going tram tracks works on High Street itself).  We are advised that the person to raise these types of issues with at CCC is Steffan Thomas on 941 8075 or steffan.thomas[at]ccc.govt.nz.


Dutch Turn to Cycles to Ease Congestion 

The Dutch are committing up to 80 million Euros to build high quality cycle routes to alleviate traffic congestion. The goal is to give drivers a real alternative to sitting stuck in traffic. This is the next phase of the rapid cycling routes initiative started in 2006.

See: http://tinyurl.com/6xbk9f3


CBD to be Rebuilt as Parking Lot

The Council has appointed a business led panel to guide the rebuilding of the CBD. Per the Press their recommendations are for parking, free parking, better access for cars, business promotion, and tax breaks for CBD businesses. Envision the CBD rebuilt as a big suburban mall.  see: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/4601726/Five-ideas-to-revitalise-central-city

This is especially disappointing after the Council spent $314,000 on the Gehl report which recommended adding residential units to the CBD while making it pedestrian and cycle friendly by reducing car numbers and speed. CCC seems to go for "world class" when it goes for planning documents, but prefers "world class 1960" when it comes to actual development. View the Gehl report at: http://www.ccc.govt.nz/cityleisure/projectstoimprovechristchurch/publicspacepubliclifestudy/index.aspx


Your Chance to Shape Christchurch's Rebuild 

The NZ Institute of Architects and CCC are sponsoring forums to discuss options for the CBD check out http://www.beforeafter.co.nz/ To be held at the Art Gallery on Thursday eves at 6 the first is 17 February. These forums may well be the only chance you get to try and shape the future of the CBD. It is important you check out the web link and go to as many of these as you are able. Speak up respectfully to request that the CBD be rebuilt for the future, and not on the basis of car centred approaches of the past. Remind the Council that the Gehl report did not support the business leaders parking fantasies.


Portland Oregon USA to Increase Cycle Numbers

With about 8% of all trips by cycle Portland Oregon is similar to Christchurch. Unlike Christchurch they have created bike boulevards to reduce transportation expense and improve resident's health. With a view to have 25% of trips by cycle by 2035 they are adding more paths and lanes. The goal is to have a quality cycle way within 80% of all homes connecting them to a complete cycle network.

Meanwhile Christchurch will build more parking lots and looks forward to an expanded Northern Motorway to compliment the new Southern Motorway.


Ghost Bikes

The Press has had several articles recently on Ghost Bikes. Some may recall the piece in the June Spokes e-letter. Ghost Bikes are white cycles placed near the scene where a person lost their life on a cycle. At last count three to four victim's families have requested a Ghost Bike memorial for their loved one. Work is underway to make this happen. CCC has expressed concern that we will be faced with ghost pedestrians and motorcycles in future and have asked that crosses be the standard.

How Ghost Bikes are received is a concern. Will anti-cycle politicians point to them as proof that cycling is dangerous and cyclists must be restricted from main streets "for our own good"? Will people see them as reminders that they would be suicidal to take up cycling? How can we get the real message out? That real people lose their lives when we are not careful and considerate? And that it's actually relatively rare?

As cycling has increased in popularity accident numbers have typically remained the same or actually lessened. There is safety in numbers. Drivers learn to accept cyclists as a normal part of the traffic mix. That said, cyclists must learn to ride with greater care and consideration. With petrol headed past $2 a litre many new cyclists have joined us and need to learn basic skills and safe practices.   Reminding drivers & riders of the consequences of less than competent driving may be required.


Safe & Considerate Cycling

Part of sharing the road with the increasing number of cyclists is remembering we are not all the same. Some are slower and/or less confident. When passing another cycle ring your bell or call "on your right" prior to starting the pass. Be sure that the slower cycle will not be soon veering to the right to avoid an obstacle. Cycle on cycle crashes may not be deadly, but they can sure hurt!

Try to keep a metre out from parked cars. Car doors opening into a cyclist are all too common. Watch out for drivers returning to their parked cars. Many seem to think that it is perfectly OK to block the cycle lane with their door as you have seen them and can simply veer blindly into traffic to avoid them.


Spread the Letter

Spokes does its best to bring you information you can use. Please tell others about us and encourage them to subscribe. Simply send an email request with email address to be subscribed to editor [at] spokes [dot] org [dot] nz



"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn." 

-         Alvin Toffler



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