Whangarei cycling enthusiasts who defaced a government sign promoting a campaign to get to know those you share the road with have earned grudging respect from the people behind the scheme.
Drive Social is an initiative of the NZ Transport Agency and, via drivesocial.co.nz, lets road users put a face to the people they share the road with. Signs with large blue and orange overlapping circles and a smiley face promoting the campaign have been erected around the country.
But last week a large sign promoting the website at the bottom of Bank St, Whangarei, was cleverly defaced by people using black tape to put a bicycle frame over the two overlapping circles to make it look like a cycle safety message.
An NZTA spokesman said: "While we don't condone tagging or defacing of private property, it's encouraging that people are engaging with the campaign's 'drive social' message and adopting it for other modes of travel."
But the people behind the taped bicycle said they wanted to promote cycling as part of the campaign.
"It seems that a campaign encouraging you to drive to work in an isolating automobile, then use a computer device to communicate with a human, who is often metres from you, has its heart in the right place, yet is going about things in a very roundabout way," the anonymous spokesman said.
"Why not just ride a bike, and turn your head to talk to the person beside to you?"