News | 12 December 2017

New sensors to make Karori Tunnel safer for people on bikes

New sensors installed at each end of Karori Tunnel will detect people on bikes as they approach the tunnel, and flashing signs will let drivers know to slow down and let the bikes go first.

Cycle detection loops have been cut into the road on the approaches to the 90m-long tunnel and these will trigger the electronic signs, similar to the one operating at the Spotlight car park exit on to Hutt Road. 

Wellington City Councillor Sarah Free, the Portfolio Leader for Walking, Cycling and Public Transport, says the new technology will help to make Karori Tunnel a much safer biking route and encourage drivers to share this narrow road.  

“These improvements are part of the Council’s cycling programme to provide safer and easier ways to get places by bike around Wellington. The new system will help to avoid the possibility of a serious crash happening here. Even though there are double yellow lines, some drivers still overtake people riding bikes through the tunnel.”

On average 140 people on bikes use the tunnel between 7-9am on weekdays along with 1800 motor vehicles.

Cr Free says there have been reports of near-misses in the tunnel, particularly with the bends at each end which make it hard to see oncoming traffic. 

“We hear from people who cycle through here that riding in the centre of the lane or staying as far to the left as possible often doesn’t deter people in vehicles from overtaking or tooting their horns. 

“Wellington’s geography can make it challenging to travel around the city but we’re encouraging everyone to share the road.”

The $35,000 cycle detection system at Karori Tunnel will be fully operational this week once final testing is completed. The Council plans to install the same technology at Seatoun Tunnel in 2018.