A short note of caution for Auckland cyclists

In my mind, vehicular manslaughter isn't a very funny joke

Hi,

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:

David.


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.

David.


Update:

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!

Okay.

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.