After a string of car crashes and near misses during the past months, two Hamilton city councillors are renewing the push for more separated cycleways in Hamilton.
Councillors Mark Bunting and Sarah Thompson, who are avid cyclists, are calling on more support from their fellow councillors to create a connected and safe cycleway through the city, with the newly upgraded cycle friendly Claudelands Bridge the centrepiece of the network.
The two councillors said in an ideal world, they would reduce the width of footpaths along Victoria St, change the road from four lanes to two, and put separated cycleways alongside the footpaths with car parking on the road side of the cycleways.
"The way that we can do it will depend on the road, where there is a lot of driveways it will be more difficult to have a two way cycleway, with Victoria St there are lots of ways to cut the same cloth and make it incredibly safe," Mrs Thompson says.
Mr Bunting says separate cycleways will stop putting motorists and riders in the same environment.
"We have currently got them in a position where they oppose each other, and it does not need to be that way on some of these roads that are so wide," Mr Bunting says.
"We all try and squish through the same space all the time but it doesn't need to be like that."
Mr Bunting cites Christchurch as the example to follow, with the South Island city having more than 40km of separated cycleways.
Mrs Thompson says cycling is something the community really values, and the infrastructure is an integral part of changing people's views and behaviours.
The first term Hamilton city councillor posted video on her Facebook page of several school students on bikes having to cross four lanes of morning traffic at the Boundary Rd /Heaphy Tce intersection with no controlled crossing point.
Mr Bunting says the bike stores in Hamilton, including e-bikes, are doing incredibly well in the city but the infrastructure is falling behind due to political process.
"We go into an election year and we hardly get anything done, the fact that we got Claudelands Bridge done was a miracle, and then after the elections you have the process of bringing in the new councillors which takes time," he says.
"We want to connect the Western Rail Trail to Claudelands Bridge and all the way through to Wairere Drive," Mrs Thompson says.
Mr Bunting says the council should look at funding the School Links cycleway project which is on hold awaiting possible NZTA funding.
The project would see connected safe cycleways from Hukanui School, through to Peachgrove Intermediate and include Fairfield Intermediate, and St Pauls College, Southwell School and Hamilton Boys' High School.
In the current council 10-year plan, $20 million has been put aside for the School links project, with further funding needed from NZTA.
"It is getting to the stage where we now have to start thinking about doing this ourselves to do what we think is right for the city," Mr Bunting says.
"People grizzled about the slower speeds on Gordonton Rd and the new intersection [with Thomas Rd] — but there have been no injuries since.
"They grizzle about having to share Claudelands Bridge — but there have been no accidents since. Change is inconvenient, but no change can be fatal."