A short note of caution for Auckland cyclists
In my mind, vehicular manslaughter isn't a very funny joke
This Webworm is a break from your regular programming.
It’s so specific to Auckland, New Zealand I haven’t sent it out as an email newsletter, but instead just posted it on the Webworm site.
This was basically going to be a series of tweets, but then I thought I’d far rather lay it out in a more readable fashion than what Twitter allows.
As usual, if you want to support Webworm, you can sign up here if you haven’t already:
A warning to Auckland Cyclists:
Some dipshit has created and event in my hometown of Auckland, New Zealand, which he’ll probably say is a “joke” — but now has 100 confirmed guests, and a lot of them also massive morons.
Which is why I’m writing this.
The Facebook event is called “Liberate The Lane”, and its purpose is to encourage cars to drive down an Auckland bike lane at a specific (busy) time.
I dunno about you, but I am not into vehicular manslaughter. The image at the top of the event page is not subtle.
So to any cyclists in Auckland, be aware: at least 100 idiots think it’s a fun idea to do this on Sunday from 10am till midday.
“We will use the cycle lane from the corner of Ngapipi Rd & Tamaki Drive, to the start of Quay St, and show what a great surface it is to use.”
New Zealand is often seen as this calm, quiet place filled with calm, quiet people. But when it comes to our driving, there is this weird rage that exists. I don’t cycle (I am too scared to cycle on our roads), but I drive — and New Zealand drivers are fucking awful.
On the open road, we are terrifying: we love to aggressively tail-gait anyone who dares stick to the 100km/hr limit, and we overtake other cars like complete morons.
Our road tolls are always excessive and preventable.
We are a mixture of bravado and rage, with a giant sprinkling of entitlement. “I am a car. Get the fuck out of my way” is the general attitude.
And drivers hate cyclists. New Zealand drivers kill cyclists. Google isn’t subtle about it.
So yeah, Beinn Chapple-Law - an “automotive photographer” according to his facebook profile — decided to create this event, set to take place this weekend.
Again: “We will use the cycle lane from the corner of Ngapipi Rd & Tamaki Drive, to the start of Quay St, and show what a great surface it is to use.”
From what I know of Auckland, this is a pretty popular place for people to bike, winding around next to the waterfront, heading out towards Mission Bay.
Why did I scrub out his face? Ugh, I dunno — he’s a kid. He’s a kid with a personalised plate and a brain full of beans.
Maybe the event page was a joke — some cunning satire (with instructions on what to do), but I know Auckland drivers, I know the hatred many feel towards cyclists, and I know 100 people signed up for this event.
So yeah — this is a little PSA. Cyclists around Ngapipi Rd & Tamaki Drive on Saturday, just avoid the lane I guess.
But then where to from here? We now know 100 people think this was a great idea. What’s stopping them swerving into a bike lane to make a point any day of the week?
If you’re on a bike, stay careful out there. People literally love the idea of hitting you with their car. Fuck, if you’re a cyclist you already know this.
If you want to share this, it’s webworm.co/p/cyclists.
Beinn started posting on my Facebook page — saying that he had changed the wording to the event.
He also couldn’t resist using the word “snowflake”, wonderful coming from a resident of affluent Mission Bay
Beinn also sent me a long message on Facebook, giving me a short lecture on being a documentary maker who doesn’t look at both sides of a story.
Here is some of his rant. I’ve left out his unsubstantiated allegations about assaults he’s suffered at the hands of cyclists.
I never told anyone to drive on the cycle lane, I said we will “use” the cycle lane as in walk on it. This protest is about voicing our concerns of poor government budgeting, poor policing of our roads and poor planning by AT/NZTA. Cyclists being on the road? Great. But abide by the same laws as everyone else. Every single day we see cyclists on Tamaki Drive taking up an entire lane, run red lights and break other road rules.
Zero violence will come from our side at the event, although I am concerned for the safety of those joining me as cyclists can be extremely short tempered and violent, especially when people call them out for breaking the rules. The wording in the event apparently wasn’t clear enough for some, but jumping to conclusions and stating that I am an idiot who wants to injure cyclists is far from the truth.
In regards to “jumping to conclusions and stating that I am an idiot” — I’d refer to his monetised YouTube channel with videos like this:
“Pulled over doing double the speed limit!”
PS: To any drivers going “but cyclists use our roads too! So we can use theirs!” — you are sitting in a giant piece of metal being driven at magical speeds by a giant guzzling engine, seatbelt tight and comforts close. Cyclists are human bodies sitting entirely exposed. These two things are not the same.
Great thing for these types of people in NZ is that running cyclists over in your car or truck is the easiest way to get away with killing someone. Check out the sentencing statistics for when there’s been a death, let alone just for an accident.
My steel framed beautiful bike was bent 45degrees in half by a septuagenarian in a massive 4x4 ignoring the give way rules at a roundabout and barrelling through at 60kph.
Saw my life flash before my eyes as it hit me with full force no brake, how I’d never see my family or my wife or newborn or son again, somehow I was thrown clear and again had this time to imagine how my internal injuries had already killed me or I was about to be run over as I skidded along the road by the car that hit me.
Guess what the police did? Take me to the hospital? Arrest the driver for attempted murder? Failing that put him in the cells? Maybe even give him a fine? A warning? Nope.
They thanked him for stopping and seeing if I was ok (traffic had come to a standstill and there was a bunch of witnesses) and then proceeded to question me about whether my light was turned on, whether I’d been biking ‘too fast’ and completely refused to do anything even when I made a complaint to press charges.
I asked what would have happened if I’d have died and they said it would have been unfortunate but not much they could do.
Haven’t ridden on the road since and my children can’t understand why dad doesn’t ride bikes anymore after spending so much of his life on them, fixing them and encouraging them too.
Sorry for the long reply. Got a bit caught up remembering all this. The bike haters are starting from the point of having all the power, the numbers, the space, the system, the money, the budgets and the policies and laws behind them. The people who would like to safely ride bikes? We’d be happy for even 1% of any of it. We’d be lucky if this “culture war” didn’t cost the country far more than all of it put together.
If there’s one thing I know to be true in life, it’s that guys who proudly bag out cyclists are always massive, and I can’t stress this enough, MASSIVE losers.