Wellington Scoop

Conor Hill wants cycling improvements completed urgently

Media release from Conor Hill
Wellington mayoral candidate Conor Hill wants an environmentally friendly city that is safe and easy to travel around. He wants to see safer speeds on busy streets and the urgent delivery of planned cycling improvements. Together these changes would make cycling much safer for many, particularly those in the CBD and eastern and southern suburbs.

Hill said today: “Our city needs to be safe for everyone. We need safe speed limits of 30 kilometres in busy areas, where peak traffic moves slowly anyhow.

“The first target will be schools, as our children deserve to be safe wherever they are, however they travel. We also need to introduce safe speed limits in areas with a large number of people – the CBD and all suburban centres including Newtown qualify here.”

The second part of Hill’s cycling policy is to provide some urgency to cycling improvements identified in Let’s Get Wellington Moving and Newtown Connections.

Hill said “Delivery has been a real issue for the current council. Cycling improvements outlined in Newtown Connections have been identified, but instead of delivery, the approach seems to be to merely consult and delay for years at a time.

“We cannot afford to wait, and we need to move now to make a city safe for all its people to move around. I will work to get delivery of both Newtown Connections and many of the cycling improvements outlined in Lets Get Wellington Moving underway without further delay.”

Hill said “It’s when people can cycle safely around many different parts of a city that cycling really begins to take off. The combination of the above projects with existing infrastructure will get us close to having a safe cycling network to allow people in the south, east, and CBD to travel between many places. It’s at this point that exponential gains to peoples health, travel time and the environment begin to occur. We have no time to waste. Let’s get on and make our children safer, our people healthier and our carbon footprint smaller.”

More about Conor’s cycling policy.


  1. Harry Welsford, 26. August 2019, 9:46

    Wellington just isn’t designed for cyclists. You’ll never cycle safely as the roads are not safe and you can’t make them safe. The people in charge are forgetting the needs and safety of the majority (other than cyclists) on the roads.
    This morning I had a nightmare drive due to “entitled to ride slowly in rush hour in middle of road”, an undercut the bus, a ‘do a dangerous lane change without indicating almost crashing into a van’. Generally most of the cyclists I saw were acting dangerously and not obeying rules .

  2. Chris Calvi-Freeman, 26. August 2019, 10:17

    All good Conor, but have you cycled (or driven or walked or taken a bus) around Pt Jerningham or along Cobham Drive recently? Lots of great work happening there at present.

  3. Traveller, 26. August 2019, 11:07

    Harry: With respect, separated cycleways, which are now being built, do ensure that cyclists can ride safely.

  4. Chris Calvi-Freeman, 26. August 2019, 11:29

    Hey Harry, three questions for you:

    1. Would you have described your morning’s travel as a “nightmare drive” if you had been delayed by other cars “entitled to” drive “slowly in rush hour in middle of road”?

    2. Did any part of your journey by car (presumably with just you or maybe one other on board) contribute to a “nightmare commute” for the dozens or hundreds of passengers in buses whose journeys were slowed by your car and other cars driving “in rush hour in the middle of the road”?

    3. Have you ever thought how congested the roads might be if everyone traveled by car?

  5. Harry Welsford, 26. August 2019, 12:49

    Hey CCF my experience was not a once off. In answer to your questions no I don’t drive 20k in 50k areas in rush hour. No I don’t dangerously undertake buses. And when I change lanes, I indicate. As long as there are unaware people (people who do not pay attention) on roads, the roads will remain unsafe.
    Traveller: some of the cycle lanes have created hazards so I disagree they are safe.

  6. Roy Kutel, 26. August 2019, 12:55

    CCF – the average number on a bus in Wellington is 7 (it used to be 8 before GWRC wrecked the services). Where I live, there are more buses with no one on them apart from the driver (NIS/Sorry buses) than with any passengers. Must be all the empty running to the Kaiwharawhara depot. I’m not too sure whether buses are worth having. Diesel fumes are coating my fence black with soot marks and I’m thinking my lungs can’t be any better.

    Just giving everybody an electric scooter each would be cheaper and we could do away with all the expensive lawyers looking after the bus contracts (oh and the GWRC as well) and we could save on WCC bus shelters and the $50k each that planners spend looking after them.

  7. Conor Hill, 26. August 2019, 13:56

    Hi Chris – agree that’s a good project 🙂
    Also agree that by and large Wellington isn’t designed for cyclists. This policy is about changing some aspects of that design.

  8. Jane C, 26. August 2019, 14:44

    I agree with Harry. Cyclemania is another costly obsessional fixation under the guise of “safety.”

  9. Tim Jones, 26. August 2019, 15:57

    I think Conor has got this key part right: “It’s when people can cycle safely around many different parts of a city that cycling really begins to take off.”

    What I’d like to see is this key observation rolled into broader policies to ensure that people can cycle, and walk, and use other forms of micromobility safely and in a way that works well with mass transit and public transit. The more we can make those things work well together, the better our city will be, and the more quickly we can move away from car dependency.

  10. Rich, 26. August 2019, 16:23

    Harry: So let’s design it so it does gets safer! It is not true that Wellington is unsuitable for cycling; my partner and I cycle every day, no matter the weather. It just takes a bit of a different mindset. I know lots of able bodied people who get in the car to drive a few kms into town. Then moan about the ‘nightmare drive’…

    On the cyclists who cycle in the middle of the road. There are a lot of places where you can see ‘sharrows’ on the road. Cyclists are encouraged to ‘take the lane’ as there is not enough space for a car to pass safely. I do this and don’t believe I hold up traffic, although some people behind me might think I do (those who race from light to light on their nightmare drive).

    And yeah, there are cyclists who don’t follow the rules, same for drivers. Most cyclists are drivers. Would be good if the reverse was true as well for a bit of mutual understanding.

    I always find it hard to understand that the people who complain about cyclists are the same people who also complain about new cycling infrastructure (which would separate modes of transport) and they are the same people who complain about being stuck in traffic. They expect that nothing they personally do that contributes to the problem should change, because it is everyone else’s fault! Doesn’t make sense.

  11. Chris Calvi-Freeman, 26. August 2019, 16:49

    Harry, I was remarking on your complaint that a cyclist was riding slowly in the middle of the road (the inference being they were holding you up), not your assertion of dangerous riding. Sure, some cyclists ride dangerously; some drivers drive dangerously too. There’s no benefit in generalising those observations to the whole set of road users, but if you do want to generalise, please consider that the difference is that a cyclist riding dangerously usually causes harm to himself/herself only.

    Roy, I think it’s a fair bet that there are more than 7 or 8 passengers on each peak hour bus in the peak direction, which is where it really counts in terms of contributing to congestion reduction.

    Conor, yes, good cycling infrastructure requires a lot of design, a lot of consultation, a lot of time and a fair bit of courage!

  12. Harry Welsford, 26. August 2019, 17:28

    Rich: As I said you can’t make the roads safe especially with the inattention and the state of minds on it. On a positive note you may be one of a very few cyclists who don’t cycle rush hour in the middle of the road going 20k in a 50 k zone, you don’t undertake buses and are not a danger to yourself and others using the road. Well done but trust me there are now record numbers of rude inconsiderate cyclists on the roads.

  13. Craig, 26. August 2019, 18:06

    Rich: The next time you see a cyclist doing something “rude or inconsiderate”, ask yourself if what they are doing is so they can be safer? When you are the object of irrational hatred just because you are on a bike, it doesn’t take long before you do start cycling in the middle of the lane. Especially in places where you know idiots will pass you even if there is no room to do it safely. You may feel inconvenienced but I’d rather not be dead.

  14. Andrew S, 26. August 2019, 18:46

    Yip the new cyclemania is not safe and some cyclists are haters feeling hated. Now inconsiderate convenience cyclists (drivers when it suits) are cycling slowly in the middle of the road just so I can’t pass them.

  15. Anna, 26. August 2019, 20:09

    I don’t drive. I also don’t cycle. It’s Wellington, I notice when it’s pouring down with freezing cold rain and blowing a gale, the number of cyclists dramatically decreases. Yet these cyclists say we should get rid of cars and buses….Would be nice if all the cyclists who barrel through the Basin Reserve on the footpath and cut off all the pedestrians trying to cross on the crossing would learn the road rules.

  16. Jonathan Coppard, 26. August 2019, 20:24

    I like your policy focusing improvements around schools. I work teaching cycling in Wellington Primary and Intermediate schools and many such schools are surrounded by dangerous streets with absolutely no provision for active transport. The speed of traffic on these roads is scary, with vehicles often exceeding 50km/h. Active transport policies should be created for every Wellington school and infrastructure developed to support them.

  17. Steve Doole, 27. August 2019, 5:01

    Conor’s idea of safer school transport has a reasonable history, although NZ seems a bit slower than other countries to formulate programmes to address traffic levels. ‘Safe Routes to School’ focuses on routes between pupil’s homes and school, including speed restrictions, changes to curbing and crossings, walking buses, and training pupils for walking and cycling. ‘School Travel Plans’ monitor awareness of options and change to numbers of pupils travelling by various methods.’School Streets’ prohibit traffic on streets by schools for an hour or so at start and end of school, which means parents cannot be near school gates with their vehicle. (Rain-coats will definitely be required some days.) http://www.saferoutesinfo.org
    Chris, has WCC pursued similar?

  18. Odette, 27. August 2019, 5:53

    I’m all for safer cycleways (not like the Island Bay or Victoria street ones) but find some of the anti-car rants by an increasing number of people who cycle unfair and in some cases unjustified. I’m neither fat nor lazy because I choose to take my car. I’m undergoing cancer treatment, chemotherapy the works and I don’t have the energy to cycle to and from the hospital – and the bus system from where I live in Strathmore is a joke, so what choice do I have?

  19. Sam Donald, 27. August 2019, 7:38

    Jonathan: There’s a lot of general congestion related to school drop-offs/pickups, plus safety issues with those numbers of vehicles around schools. A lot of private vehicle trips into or from the CBD would be related to the school run so this policy focus around schools would have multiple positive impacts around improved safety, carbon reduction, lowering congestion, health benefits of active transport etc.

  20. Douglas C, 27. August 2019, 10:14

    Consider the majority of school kids can walk and they are just taught to be lazy by parents. Its more a case of teaching and telling the kids to walk to school than spending more money on unnecessary changes.
    Agree with you Andrew this is a govt with cyclemania-itis .

  21. Stephanie Cairns, 27. August 2019, 12:17

    Great to hear this kind of support coming from a mayoral candidate. If you don’t think there’s a safety problem for people who ride bikes in Wellington, then you obviously haven’t been on one recently. The status quo is not acceptable and improvements are needed for the sake of the people who already ride, as well as those who don’t purely out of fear. Improvements around schools are a great approach – kids love riding their bikes, but they don’t want to get squashed!

  22. Jane C, 27. August 2019, 13:15

    Kids have ridden their bikes for decades and I agree now that their lazy parents taught them bad habits they need to be taught to walk to school .

  23. Groggy, 27. August 2019, 17:02

    Kids used to ride bikes, but now scooters are the norm.

  24. Mary M, 27. August 2019, 18:19

    And scooters and little feet going to school can and do all use existing infrastructure ie the footpath without getting squashed .