Cyclists call for a whole lane of the Auckland Harbour Bridge to be 'liberated' from cars

Cyclists calling for a lane of Auckland's Harbour Bridge to be "liberated" from cars will gather at a nearby park this Sunday, amongst them an MP, Councillor and a former Mayor. 

"This is the age of bikes and electric bikes," Sir Bob Harvey told The AM Show on Friday. "All we're asking is to borrow one lane for three months to give it a trial, give it a go."

The 80-year-old served 28 years as Mayor of Waitakere City, which covered the western part of the current Auckland Council area. Also at the rally will be Green MP Chloe Swarbrick and Auckland Councillor Pippa Coom. 

"I can't believe we're still protesting this," Coom wrote on Twitter, with a photo from her childhood. "Here's me in Trafalgar Square at a 'Reclaim the Road' rally in 1979! Different country, same shit."

A long-planned cycling and walking path across the Bridge, Skypath, suffered another setback in March when technical issues surfaced. Transport Minister Michael Wood said at the time it hadn't been cancelled, just delayed.

But cyclists don't want to wait any longer. Sir Bob said he reckons if a single lane was opened up on the bridge, 50 percent of those who would otherwise have driven would get on a bike. 

Rally organisers Bike Auckland say rather than causing congestion, once people realised at rush-hour e-bikes are actually faster than cars, more would switch - freeing up space for those who had no choice but to drive.

"Every bike making that journey relieves traffic, not only on the bridge, but also all the way along Onewa Road, the motorway approach at Northcote point, through Spaghetti Junction and up Parnell Rise," Bike Auckland's website states. 

"With fewer private motor vehicles on the wider network, those who need to drive will experience shorter overall journey times."

Sir Bob blamed right-wing local board members and Councillors for Auckland's inability to get a cycling crossing over the harbour organised, saying the city had been "betrayed, betrayed, betrayed".

"Wellington yesterday signed up for cycleways. Christchurch has always been pro. I know it's a little expensive, but why not? Every decent bridge from New York to Sydney has got a walking/cycling pathway - why not us?"

Asked if having an entire lane to themselves would make Auckland motorists hate cyclists even more, Sir Bob dismissed concerns, saying those people "probably hate cyclists anyway". 

The rally begins at Pt Erin Park on Sunday at 10am.