Riding the gauntlet on Totara Street

Steve Morris, Iain Bibby and Dawn Kiddie riding the gauntlet in Totara St. Photo: Shane Plummer.

Road safety improvements in Tauranga have been described as “a tummy tuck and a boob job” by a city councillor.

Last week, councillors Dawn Kiddie and Steve Morris rode what many call ‘the gauntlet’ on busy Totara St to get a first-hand idea of the challenges that cyclists face.

“The tragedy here last month has affected the whole community drastically,” says Dawn.

“We appear to be having a lot of cosmetic surgery on something like Elizabeth St, which is a boob job and a tummy tuck, where we could be spending a lot of that money on upgrading the infrastructure and roading for the safety of our community.”

She says the Council is considering a draft plan and what can be done to fix it.

A cyclist died following a collision with a truck at the intersection of Totara St and Maui St on May 29.

Tauranga City Councillors Dawn Kiddie and Steve Morris

“Council spend hasn’t been approved yet, it’s still got to go through the draft budget, so it was important to get out here and have a look,” says Steve.

“Also, looking at the longer term, widening the scope of the cycleway on Totara St, and taking it from a temporary to permanent solution.

“We’ve got some ideas for how we can find some money from within the budget to do that, but essentially we wanted to get down there and have a look first.”

Shane Plummer

Cycling advocates Iain Bibby and Shane Plummer joined the two councillors for the ride.

“Dawn and Steve will get a feel of the commute that cyclists do who go to work in the rain, in the sun strike, or when they’re in a hurry,” says Iain, who is a member of Bike Tauranga.

Steve had a couple of close calls on the ride from Tawa St to Hewlett Rd.

“If there was a cyclist there with a truck moving into the bike lane, and a van on the other side squeezing into the bike lane as well, then it’s definitely an issue.”

Cycle lane markings on Totara St

Further down near Hewlett Rd, the four stopped to look at the faded cycle lane markings near the accident site.

“It hasn’t been kept up in terms of the maintenance. It’s a significant accident spot,” says Steve.

“We need to look at having the entire cycleway off road here. It’s important to have your connection between the Mount and Tauranga but to have it on the road in this traffic is not safe.”

Shane says that cyclists have only had about 750mm of safety in a bike lane that’s been washed out.

“The bike lane has been neglected for over a year,” says Shane.

“If it was painted as it was – green – then possibly the truck driver would have taken notice that he was crossing a bike lane and that cyclist who was in it may have had his life saved.

“We went into the gauntlet which is the scariest situation I’ve ever seen in my life in a bike lane where you’re in between two trucks with less than half a metre either side."

Dawn also found the ride unnerving.

“We’ve got trucks and cars that go into the cycle lane which is not defined. It’s a really scary piece of road,” says Dawn.

The white bicycle memorial on Totara St

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Shared pathways

Posted on 24-07-2020 11:24 | By Lvdw

Why on earth do they just not start implementing shared pathways like they do overseas? That will take the cyclists off the roads. As a cyclist I would feel a whole lot better about that.

For goodness sake

Posted on 12-07-2020 22:09 | By wtf

That is a busy narrow road that is a big thoroughfare for trucks. Why people on bikes need to bike on that piece of road because they feel entitled is beyond me. Just bike on the footpath for goodness sake. Its not rocket science. The poor truckie has enough to contend with as well as motor vehicle drivers without bowing down to the almighty cyclist.


Posted on 12-07-2020 20:58 | By Told you

Anybody that cycle on Totara St must have a death wish, it’s no use blaming the council as the road was built for Cars and Trucks not Bicycles.


Posted on 12-07-2020 20:20 | By The Caveman

on Totara Street has a death wish - thats a simple fact. It is the major access to the Port, and the industrial areas around it AND a State Highway - regardless of whatever speed limit is in place!!! The same fact applies to Hewletts Road !!

golly gosh

Posted on 12-07-2020 19:46 | By old trucker

Morris and kiddie, for goodness sake ride on the footpath,i bet you a penny this is the first time on totara st,gosh kiddie saying look at all these big trucks in cycle lane,yes these are upto 60 ton, the trucks pay $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ thousands a year in road users BIKES NOTHING SO why should bikes get looked after,morris says to get money in budget to look to fix problem, (PROBLEM FIXED)RIDE ON FOOTPATH,keep your wits about you,cross safely down by Hewletts road to other side and go behind wall ,for CRYING OUTLOUD use commonsense,TCC should be trying to save money not waste it on this,how many bikes use this, i put in a PLAN for TOTARA ST but it went in the to hard basket and because they did not think of this its NO GOOD, MY plan was AWESOME anyway,Thankyou Sunlive No1 in News, 10-4 out. phew.


Posted on 12-07-2020 13:07 | By Honesty is the best Policy

Ride on the foot path for goodness sakes. Go for a ride in a truck mr morris i no what these truckies are on about carnt blame them its to narow some cyclists ride side by side witch is a pain in the but

Totara st

Posted on 12-07-2020 09:46 | By Mallyg

Mr Morris why not came for a ride in a truck and look at the other angle you will see there is no room for bikes on that road it is too narrow plus its the main entry to the port and all the industrial area cheers malcolm

Unfortunately it's unsafe to bike

Posted on 12-07-2020 09:30 | By Womby

Wrong colour clothes, poor lighting, weather conditions, change of light, sun strike, riding up the inside, riding between cars, riding way faster than the jammed traffic, not aware what the truckie can see in his mirror, treating the green strip as safe at all times in all conditions. As a long time cycle rider and also a motorcycle rider I reckon these are some of the problems with bikes, and perhaps some places are just unsafe to put yourself in on a bike

Cycling lanes

Posted on 12-07-2020 08:22 | By Robin

Why aren’t the grass verges turned into cycle lanes, surely this would be the cheapest and easiest solution. Much safer for cyclists . There are a lot of places around Tauranga with plenty of wide grass verges that could be converted instead of cycle lanes painted on the road between lanes of traffic. The main expense would be shifting some lights and power poles in some areas.

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