Wellington Scoop

He’s right, they’re wrong

island bay cycleway at last

A doomed cause. That’s the correct verdict today from the DomPost, assessing the threat of court action against the Island Bay cycleway.

The DomPost says it seems a lot of residents just don’t want the cycleway. But …

The Government wants more cycleways and has launched a $100 million urban cycling fund, of which $20m is earmarked for Wellington. As Prime Minister John Key said last year, there has been “underinvestment” in cycling, while on the other hand the health and traffic congestion benefits of cycleways are beyond dispute.

He’s right, they are. This is true also of Wellington, with its narrow, winding streets. More bikes will mean less congestion. Island Bay critics talk about “the cycleway to nowhere”, but this is wrong. In due course, it will join up with other parts of the proposed city-wide network. Council research suggests the number of cyclists using the southern corridor would almost triple with the right infrastructure, and this would cut peak-time congestion.

Work starts next Monday to build the Island Bay cycleway. The cycleway website has summarised the arguments in favour:

Much has been said about how The Parade is already “one of the safest places in Wellington to cycle” but if that’s true it just goes to show how appalling our cycling infrastructure in Wellington really is. Would you honestly feel comfortable about a young child cycling down the current bike lanes right next to cars, trucks and buses travelling at 50 kph, with or without an adult close by? As the father of a seven year-old and a nine year-old I certainly wouldn’t.

cycleway danger

Others may feel more confident about their child riding next to a 12 tonne bus as it approaches a bus-stop but the reality is that most kids riding a bike along The Parade ride on the pavement. As Enrique Peñalosa, the former Mayor of Bogota, once said “a bicycle way that is not suitable for an eight year-old is not a bicycle way”. The converse of the argument that The Parade “doesn’t need bike lanes because it’s already safe” is that it’s precisely because The Parade is flat and wide that it is the perfect place for Wellington to try protected bike lanes for the first time, in a relatively risk-free environment.

And as to the wrong-headed allegations of lack of consultation, There’ve been not one, not two but three consultations: in April, September and December last year. There were 1200 formal submissions, and they’ve been analysed and re-analysed.

Let’s give the last word to this morning’s DomPost:

It would set a woeful precedent if opponents managed to scupper the Island Bay cycleway. After all, the suburb has a wide main street where a cycleway looks more promising than on many other city streets. Given that Wellington needs more cycleways, a political route will have to be found. If the opposition in Island Bay is hoping to scrap Wellington cycleways altogether, their cause is doomed.

Everything you need to know about the new cycleway


  1. Curtis Nixon, 22. September 2015, 12:52

    Right on the money. What more needs to be said?

  2. Patrick Morgan, 22. September 2015, 13:46

    I can’t wait to see loads of people on Wellington’s new Island Bay cycle way. Expected opening date: February 2016. [via Twitter]

  3. Island Bay Rules, 22. September 2015, 18:46

    The “insert loved one here” photograph is scaremongering when The Parade sports an unblemished safety record and it’s an insult to our bus drivers who are trained to avoid situations like these and attend special workshops to co-exist with cyclists on the road. In the meantime the Island Bay Cycleway lies untested by the formula in the Cycling Framework which is now a legal Council document. Please sign the E-petition below.

  4. Vicki Greco, 22. September 2015, 22:44

    It’s well known the editor is pro cycling and does not print the letters opposing the cycleway, therefore can’t take his rants seriously.

  5. lindsay, 23. September 2015, 12:26

    Are you suggesting there are people in Wellington who are anti cycling? Surely not. And if you’re so well informed, then you ought to know that the Editor of the DomPost is a woman. And that her editorial this week could not possibly be described as a rant. No way.

  6. Ruz, 23. September 2015, 12:49

    Editorials are not always written by the Editor. They can be written by editorial staff and are usually opinion pieces considered by some to be the official view of the newspaper. So we don’t know for sure who wrote the DomPost editorial as there is no attribution.

  7. Phil, 23. September 2015, 13:14

    Island Bay Rules – the only people scaremongering are the opponents of the Island Bay cycleway by trying to claim it is not safe. Bus drivers do a great job but if you ask them whether they would prefer cyclists to be on the road or in a protected cycle lane we both know what they will say. The Parade is a very busy bus route and separating cyclists from buses is just common sense. Why even take the risk of an accident if we don’t need to?

  8. Sally Hewitt, 23. September 2015, 15:43

    Same old propaganda! Yawn Yawn! This sort of article creates the us and them divide – I’m right and you’re wrong! Sounds very school playground if you ask me! It is such passive aggressive behaviour which does your cause no good! I think you will find that Mr Dooley who is behind the Island Bay Cycleway page is just the puppet front for The Mare. It is scaremongering, and has not helped to create understanding but rather inflamed the situation. I suppose only time will tell what comes out of this.

  9. Roger Pickering, 23. September 2015, 15:46

    Who has done the analysis of those submissions? Oh yes Regan Dooley of the Island Bay Cycleway facebook page! If you took those stats in its correct form (not lumping them all together) and added the comments that went with them, you may find that there is a very different picture. But with this lot it is all about the Spin!

  10. Luciana Bellini, 23. September 2015, 20:04

    I am really disappointed with the style of reporting on Scoop lately. It is apparent that the ‘journalists’ do not write in a balanced manner and this article reinforces my thinking. This article is a snide piece of writing that just attempts to rub people’s nose in the issue. The headline is the perfect example of this. Do you really think that people are going to embrace and celebrate having a cycleway? I think not! My support for the cycleway is very much waning! I do not consider this journalism but rather a great piece of propaganda for this cycleway.