Auckland has parking problems:
Richard raised the issue of getting in and out of angle parks.
Apparently the is law that one must go front first into angle car park or you risk a fine. That is OK but the problem is when you leave and have to back out. In the last two years my wife and me have had four bumps backing out of angle car parks always with others also backing out.
Its not our bad driving, at least not mine. Rather it is easier and safer to take the time to back in because you can watch the vehicles either side and you should know when to stop?
I think this issue could be a game changer in politics but have not worked out how.
Entering an angle park frontwards as they’re designed now would require an awkward manoeuvre, going past the park, then reversing back into oncoming traffic.
Even if there was a change in direction to make going in backwards easier, I’d prefer to back out into open space than into a confined area between two other vehicles.
However, visibility when backing out can be restricted, especially if there’s a bigger vehicle beside you.
Angle parks take less space than parallel ones but whichever way they’re angled and which ever way you tackle them, entering and exiting requires care.
Year after year remits at National Party conferences sought to ensure fuel taxes and road user charges went in to
roaring roading and not the consolidated fund.
The AA and other organisations with an interest in transport lobbied in support of that too.
Eventually they succeeded.
Fuel taxes and road user charges have been directed at roads and not treated as a general tax since 2008.
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says Green Party Finance Spokesman Russel Norman’s plan to raid the National Land Transport Fund to pay for his “Rent to Buy Housing Scheme”, shows a complete lack of knowledge of public finance in New Zealand.
“Mr Norman seems unaware that roading funding is collected from road users through fuel taxes, user charges and fees. That money is then dedicated to the National Land Transport Fund, to pay for road policing, public transport and road maintenance.
“This dedicated funding or ‘full hypothecation’ was introduced in 2008.
“The Greens can’t have it both ways – paying for houses from road taxes would cause serious problems for the funding of core transport services such as public transport.
“The lack of investment in new roading projects would create long term bottlenecks in our transport system and create congestion, leading to greater fossil fuel use.
“”First it was crank up the photocopiers to print money, now its let’s rob Peter to pay Paul.” said Mr Brownlee.
Cactus Kate found the Green Party housing policy is aimed at people suffering from entitilitis:
Sharissa Naidoo, 25, and her partner have been renting together for four years and say they are desperate to buy their first home.
“The concern is if we’re wanting to start a family and move into a house that’s more than one bedroom, we can’t afford that,” Naidoo said.
Naidoo recently graduated with a Masters Degree in Sociology.
She is now sick of renting and expects the net taxpayer (you) to underwrite a home for her to live in with her “partner” (hate that word) of four years.
All of this, not even one year after her graduation ceremony in May 2012. . .
Taxpayers shouldn’t be funding people’s wants and taxes collected from road users should stay in the transport fund.
New Zealand cities should go up rather than out, Federated Farmers’ chief executive Conor English says:
Manhattan-type cities that accommodate more people and stop urban sprawl is New Zealand’s farming leader’s latest vision for a prosperous economy.
Federated Farmers chief executive Conor English says New Zealand needs to lose its small-country mindset and get smart about growth.
That included “taking the lid off our cities”.
“Human capability is critical to all parts of our community and economy. In most parts of New Zealand, except Auckland, the population is flat or in decline. There are not enough people to produce the exports, provide the services, pay the taxes and build a future at first-world income levels. We simply need more people.”
Auckland needed to stop building out and start building up. . .
I was in Auckland three times this month.
Each trip required the long, slow journey from the airport to the central city and back.
It’s such a waste of time and fuel.
Could going up rather than out help solve the city’s transport problems and would Aucklanders want to live in high-rise apartments rather than houses with sections?
When the flashing lights came on behind me I knew I hadn’t been speeding but there was no other car in sight so I pulled over.
The police officer stopped behind me, came up to the window and said only one of my rear lights was working.
I told him I’d only just got a warrant of fitness.
He replied, that meant the car was fine on the day, it didn’t mean it would stay that way.
I’ve been thinking about in light of the conversation about proposed changes to Warrants of Fitness regulations.
With WoF and CoF inspections acting as a trigger for vehicle maintenance for many owners, it plays a key role in maintaining the state of our fleet at a very basic level. MTA will be providing a strong submission to Government to retain current inspection frequencies, but believes the inspection process can be improved to take into account the many new safety technologies in today’s vehicles.
There should be no changes to the current system unless there is a stronger commitment to education on maintaining vehicles and significantly more police enforcement. While that might be achievable in the longer term, it is likely to result in a transfer of costs from motorists to government thereby defeating the very aims the reforms set out to achieve.
Stronach says “While you might save $45 a year and perhaps 40 minutes out of your day, there may well be increases in other costs, including higher insurance premiums. We think all motorists want to have confidence that every vehicle on the road is safe, not just theirs, regular and comprehensive inspections are a good value for money way to achieve this.”
The Automobile Association thinks the changes could improve road safety:
“Some of the opponents of change to the WoF system seem to be cherry-picking information and not mentioning the time and cost benefits for motorists from a revised testing scheme nor the changes we can make to improve vehicle safety,” says AA spokesperson Mark Stockdale.
As part of the AA’s analysis of the changes being proposed, we looked at the data on every fatal crash in New Zealand over five years from 2007-2011. We did this to understand the possible safety impacts of any changes.
The crash data showed that out of 1640 crashes, there were 89 (or 5.4%) where a vehicle fault or factor was found that may have contributed to the crash.
Of the vehicles in those 89 crashes, 39% did not have a current WoF and 52% had a tyre fault.
Analysis of overall NZ road crashes indicates that vehicle faults contribute to about 2.5% of all fatal and injury crashes and to 0.4% where the fault is the sole cause of the crash.
To put that in some context, the most common factors contributing to fatal crashes are alcohol or drugs (36%), a driver losing control (34%) and going too fast for the conditions (32%).
“Vehicle faults do play a part in a small number of road crashes but it’s misleading to simply claim that changing the WoF frequency will lead to that number increasing,” says Mr Stockdale.
“Nearly 40% of the vehicles with faults that were involved in fatal crashes didn’t have a WoF anyway, so how frequently they are supposed to be getting one is not the issue.
“Worn tyres are another key factor in crashes but there are other ways to target this than solely through a WoF.
“Rather than having a regime that is testing the majority of motorists excessively we need to focus more on enforcement to get vehicles without WoFs off the road and investigate ways to better monitor tyre condition.”
Less regular checks would put more responsibility on drivers to check tyres and keep up with other maintenance that we ought to do anyway.
That could make vehicles safer because as I found out getting a warrant doesn’t mean everything keeps working as it ought until the next one.
The AA has more information on the issue on its website.
The truck was travelling at about 80 kilometres an hour.
As it got to a passing lane it pulled left and the bus behind it followed.
The four wheel drive vehicle behind the bus indicated and entered the passing lane.
When it was about half way past the bus it (the bus) pulled out and started passing the truck.
The only place for the 4WD to go was right and onto the wrong side of the road.
Had there been any on-coming traffic it could have been a tragedy almost certainly resulting in injuries and death.
As it was the road ahead was clear and the 4WD was able to get past the bus and back onto the correct side of the road safely.
But the bus driver hadn’t finished. He compounded his dangerous driving with a lack of consideration.
Instead of pulling back into the left lane once he was clear of the truck he stayed in the passing lane, meaning the cars behind couldn’t pass. I was driving one of them and was stuck behind the bus, travelling at 80 to 100 kph for several more kilometres.
The government has made some welcome changes to simplify rules for agricultural vehicles.
Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges says changes to the rules for agricultural vehicles will reduce compliance costs while still ensuring safety. . .
The changes establish a two tier system for agricultural vehicles based on a 40km/h operating speed. Vehicles operating below this speed will be exempt from warrant of fitness and work time requirements.
A new licence endorsement will allow car licence holders to drive a greater range of agricultural vehicles once they prove they have the skills to do so. Other changes will improve and simplify the rules on pilot vehicles, work time variation schemes, hazard identification and vehicle visibility.
“Safety remains a key factor. The changes include a requirement that agricultural vehicles use a flashing amber beacon. This will better alert other road users to the presence of agricultural vehicles and associated hazards.
“The changes also reflect the Government’s focus on better and less regulation by improving compliance and providing greater operational flexibility for agricultural vehicle owners.
“Farmers and contractors sometimes work long and irregular hours. For instance, crops need to be harvested when they are ready and when the weather is right. The laws on the use of agricultural vehicles need to be fit for purpose and the proposed changes better reflect the needs of this very important industry.”
These are commonsense changes which will save time and money without compromising safety.
More information on the planned changes is here.
Bigger parks for women, what’s wrong with that?
A small German town has made headlines by introducing easy-access parking spaces reserved for women.
The scheme, introduced by Mayor Gallus Strobel in the south German town of Triberg, sparked international interest after Mr Strobel said the women-only spaces were introduced because females were worse parkers than males.
That’s where he’s gone wrong, he’s making a generalisation and acting upon it.
In doing so he’s maligning women who have no problem with parking and doing nothing to help men who do.
He should keep the bigger parks but change the signs to show they’re available for anyone who needs more room. That could include anyone with passengers who need assistance getting in or out of the car as well as those of either gender whose spatial awareness isn’t up to scratch.
For the record, I hate small car parks, especially when I’m in a modern car from the driving seat of many of which you can’t see the vehicle’s extremities.
Have you noticed chaos and confusion as a result of the change to the give way rule for vehicles turning left and right or at T-intersections?
In the couple of months since the rule change came in I’ve had to pause just once when I thought someone turning right was going to cross my bows when I was turning left and have had no problems at T intersections.
AA Insurance hasn’t noticed a spike in claims since the change.
“The low volume of claims suggests that New Zealanders understood the changes and drove more cautiously at intersections by reducing their speed and taking their time, preempting any rise in incidents,”said Suzanne Wolton, Head of Corporate Affairs, AA Insurance. “The handful of claims we received related, for the most part, to driver confusion about how to apply the catchphrase, ‘Top of the T goes before me’.”
In these cases AA Insurance customers who were turning from the top of the “T” were hit on the front driver’s side by third parties turning right from the bottom of the intersection.
The low volume of claims suggests that the new way, which is after all a return to the old way and the way traffic in most if not all other countries has to behave, is the right way.
The Easter road toll was zero for the first time since records began in 1956.
Police believe the fatality free weekend is because of good weather conditions across the country and the decision to change the speeding threshold from 10 to four kilometres.
The roads weren’t free from inconsiderate drivers, though.
A woman was charged with driving too slowly between Levin and Palmerston North.
We were caught behind a couple on Friday who could have faced a similar charge.
We came upon the first driving considerably slower than was both safe and legal a few kilometres west of Omarama although in this instance the second vehicle was at least as much at fault as the first. We were the third car in line and there were a few opportunities where we might have passed one vehicle but the second made no attempt to pass the first and was too close to the first for us to pass it by itself.
We finally got past them then several kilometres on in the middle of the Lindis Pass we gained on a line of vehicles. When the road straightened the leading car pulled over and let several vehicles pass but pulled out again before we and the car behind us could pass. We had to crawl along well under the speed limit for about 10 more kilometres before we could safely pass.
If ever there’s a call to design purgatory I’d suggest a road like that with long queues of traffic led by a driver who shows no consideration for those caught behind with oncoming traffic preventing passing at every straight.
The changes to the road rules, which happen at 5am tomorrow morning, are worrying some people, but how hard can it be?
Jim Hopkins, with tongue in cheek says it could be tricky:
It’s going to be chaos. There’s no two ways about it. The very best place for any of us come 5am on Sunday will be between the sheets, not on the streets. Better bed than dead is the advice, unless, of course, we’re happy to let chaos reign and the scuppers run with gore.
Because that’s what will happen, sure as eggs. We’ll be like Lamborghinis to the slaughter out there; dithering, dallying and desperately trying to remember what we’re supposed to do and when we’re supposed to turn. . . .
But seriously, it isn’t that hard: give way to the right except when turning left; and give way when turning right unless you’re moving from a through road covers the main changes.
The effect of this is that left turning vehicles will no longer have to yield to those turning right and those turning right from the terminating leg of a T intersection will have to give way to anyone turning right form the through road.
A pot hole appeared in the road, again.
Some blokes from the council sealed over it, as they’d done when it had appeared several times before.
The next time it rained the pot hole reappeared.
The blokes from the council came back and patched it again.
It’s a very graphic illustration that if you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got.
It applies just as much to politics as pot holes.
If you’re thinking of buying a car, or wondering how safe your current one is, you can check its safety rating in the Australasian New Car Assessment Programme .
You can search for a type, make or model so you don’t have to trawl through all the pages to find a particular vehicle.
It makes sobering reading and is a reminder that in spite of improvements to car design, driving to prevent accidents will provide better protection than any vehicles.
We live about an hour and a half from Timaru Airport, two hours from Dunedin Airport and three and a half from Christhchurch.
Although it’s further away we usually fly to and from Christchurch. There are more flights to and from there and they are usually significantly less expensive.
Provincial airports do have a cheaper airfares but there’s never very many and you have to book ages in advance which we aren’t usually able to do.
Air New Zealand decision to buy new and bigger planes for provincial routes might change that:
Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe says the airline has ordered seven of the planes off the French manufacturer, with an option to purchase a further five, and says the aircraft will open up regional New Zealand to cheap flights.
“This order potentially doubles the size of Air New Zealand’s ATR fleet and will put a further two million seats into the New Zealand regional market annually.
“For our customers that will mean a big increase in the number of business timed seats and seriously cheap ‘grabaseat’ fares we have on regional routes every day,” he says.
Improved returns from farming, tourism and technological advances which make working away from cities is helping to reverse the population decline in the provinces.
Being here is great but getting in and out isn’t. The upgraded provincial fleet will help make it a ltitle easier and possibly cheaper.
The crash which injured 35 children after the school bus they were on was rammed by a logging truck provides a compelling argument to back up Rural Women’s call for active signs on school buses.
I think those signs, reminding drivers to slow to 20 kilometres an hour when approaching and passing a slowing or stationary school bus, would be a good idea.
But we must be careful to keep a balance between making roads safer and making them so safe they become dangerous because drivers relax and stop taking responsibility.
No matter what is done to enhance safety, the responsibility to remain alert and prepared for the unexpected lies with drivers.
The public is being consulted on proposed changes to give way rules.
Proposed changes to New Zealand’s give way rules released for public comment today are expected to reduce intersection crashes and improve safety for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, the NZ Transport Agency says.
New Zealand’s current give-way rules place complex demands on road users, and changes were identified last year as a road safety priority in the Government’s 10 year Safer Journeys road safety strategy.
Intersection crashes currently account for 17 percent of fatal crashes on New Zealand roads, and over 80 percent of intersection crashes causing injuries occur in urban areas. In the ten years to 2009, the number of crashes involving pedestrians and turning vehicles at intersections doubled.
It is expected that the proposed changes to the give-way rules will reduce intersection crashes and improve safety, especially for pedestrians and cyclists, as the proposed changes will result in less complex decision-making at intersections.
When in doubt give way to the right generally applies on our roads so in theory a vehicle turning left at an intersection should give way to an on-coming one turning right.
But it doesn’t work well in practice. It requires the driver of the left turning vehicle to check mirrors to ensure there’s no vehicle approaching from behind to which the on-coming one would have to give way; and the right turning vehicle has to be certain the left turning one is going to yield. This leads to hesitation and confusion.
Giving the left turning vehicle right of way is merely applying the guiding principle of right turning vehicles gives way to all other traffic.
The other change applies to who gives way at T-intersections. At the moment a vehicle on the through road turning right gives way to one turning right from the trunk road which often leads to congestion as it holds up traffic behind.
Both changes ought to make traffic flow more easily after the initial inevitable period of confusion, when most drivers will hesitate because either they won’t be sure whether or not they have the right of way or whether or not the other driver will yield to them.
If you want to check your knowledge of current give way rules, the NZ Transport agency has activity cards here. I got all but # 11 right.
On Friday evening I drove down state highway 1 from Totara, south of Oamaru, to Invercargill.
Traffic was heavy and the journey was made worse by slow vehicles whose drivers showed absolutely no consideration for those following them.
A couple of times it was the second vehicle in line which was the problem – it’s driver didn’t take opportunities to pass but kept too close to the slow one in front to enable anyone behind to pass them separately.
At one stage I was eighth in line travelling at between 70 and 80 kph for more than 10 kilometres before we got to a passing lane which enabled the first five vehicles to pass. It was another six kilometres before the remaining car in front of me and I were able to pass safely.
When I turned off the main road at Clinton I caught up on a four wheel drive vehicle travelling behind a car travelling at 90 kph which stayed in the right hand lane when we got to a passing lane.
I didn’t have to be in Invercargill by a particular time which helped me stay patient and not take silly risks but it wasn’t a pleasant drive and took more than half an hour longer than usual.
Yesterday evening I drove up state highway 6 from Invercargill to Queenstown then over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Traffic was much lighter but drivers were also more considerate. The few times I caught up on slower vehicles they slowed at the start of a straight stretch to allow me to pass.
The trip took a little more than three hours – and I wasn’t speeding. Not having to slow down made it a faster, and much more pleasant, journey.
Moaning about road congestion in the south of the South Island is a bit like complaining to Australians about dry weather. Many roads further north are worse than those in the south and have a lot more traffic.
But regardless of the state of the roads and number of vehicles, consideration for other drivers makes travelling safer and more pleasant.
The intersection of the road we take to town and State Highway 1 used to be controlled by a Give Way sign.
A few weeks ago that changed and it’s now controlled by a Stop sign.
If there was any consultation or advertising about this I missed it and so did a lot of other people, including several who have been ticketed for not coming to a complete stop.
It’s a driver’s responsibility to notice signs. But when you’ve been driving the same route hundreds of times, have a clear view of on-coming traffic for at least a couple of hundred metres and turn to look right for that traffic rather than left where the sign is, it’s easy enough to miss it.
That’s made it easy picking for the cop, or cops, who’ve been issuing tickets.
Not surprisingly those ticketed aren’t very happy. Stop means stop but no-one understands why this one has to be a stop and not a give way. It hasn’t been an accident trouble spot and there’s a merging lane which allows turning traffic to enter the main road without interfering with on-coming traffic.
Given that, it would be much better PR if the police tried education and warnings to ensure people knew the sign had been changed and understood why before they issued tickets. In the absence of this, it is this looks much more like revenue gathering than road safety.