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Ask Phoebe: Copters likely on police mission

By Phoebe Falconer

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From your description it would appear that it is the police helicopter. Photo / Christine Cornege
From your description it would appear that it is the police helicopter. Photo / Christine Cornege

Why there are so many helicopters flying over Mission Bay? They seem to be increasing and it can be very intrusive. I'm sure we're not the only ones having to pause the TV and conversation ... I've even had people on Skype ask me what the noise is.

Obviously the Eastern Bays is on the flight path for the rescue helicopter and others heading to the Gulf islands and probably Coromandel. But I'm talking about helicopters circling overhead multiple times on random evenings at least a few times a week. Is it the police helicopter or traffic spotters? It's hard to believe Mission Bay has that many regular traffic or crime problems! Or is it chartered sightseeing trips?

Knowing what it is may not make it any less annoying but I'm still curious to know. It's definitely not the rescue helicopter (wrong colour) so sounds like it must be the police one. I'm wondering if they're doing training flights or it's a routine fly-over for some reaso ... it's not usually accompanied by sirens which suggests it's not incident-related.

- Dee Smith, Mission Bay.

From your description it would appear that it is the police helicopter. It may be on a mission or, as you suggest, training flight. I hear it frequently over my house as well, and you cannot always hear a siren.

I would like to know if all those motorcycles riding between lanes of cars are doing so legally. It seems so dangerous. They do it when cars are waiting at lights also, to get ahead.

- Sally Vandal, Auckland.

This is known as lane-splitting or filtering, and while it is not recommended practice, it seems that it is legal. Lane splitting is where you can ride between vehicles that are moving slowly or are stationary.

A motorcycle may overtake a vehicle on the right within the same lane if it is safe to do so. The traffic must be stationary or slow-moving and the way ahead must be clear. A motorcycle may overtake a vehicle on the left only if that vehicle is stationary or if it is turning right. It must not overtake on the left if the vehicle is turning left.

Therefore when traffic is stationary at the lights you can lane split on either side; if traffic is moving slowly on the motorway then you must only lane split to the right of a lane. You must stick within 20km/h or so of the speed of the other traffic otherwise you will likely be stopped and charged with careless or dangerous driving.

From the Northwestern Motorway, the Auckland Harbour Bridge looks more or less like the outline of Rangitoto. Was the bridge built to resemble the island?

- Amy Richardson, West Auckland.

Not as far as I can ascertain. I think it's just serendipitous.
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Do you have a question for Phoebe? It can be about transport or any Auckland issue. Email askphoebe@nzherald.

- NZ Herald

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