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GIVE US BACK THE BUS LANES!

An announcement by the British transport secretary that a bus lane on the notorious M4 motorway is to be given back to ordinary motorists presents an interesting example for our transport planners in New Zealand.

Currently the bus lane can be used only by licensed black taxis, motorcycles and buses, but latest analysis has shown that journey times at peak periods would be reduced for car drivers and hauliers without significantly affecting vehicles currently allowed to use the lane.

Given the huge volumes of traffic which uses the M4, the move is a significant one. In New Zealand cities traffic densities are not nearty so big, but it CAN take a long while to get in and out at peak periods. Opening up the bus lanes would certainly help traffic flows, and it would be interesting to see if this would slow down the buses to any large degree.

Certainly as far as transit lanes are concerned there is a strong case for abandoning these altogether, as they quite often create uneven traffic flows and even cause traffic to back up unnecessarily in the ordinary lanes while the transit lanes are almost devoid of traffic.

This is most noticeable to us at NZ4WD, where a transit lane near our office is rarely used by vehicles with two or more people in the car, and only the occasional bus, yet the other lane becomes choked and traffic inches forward at snail's pace.

Of course, there IS another problem - the new council would lose a lucrative source of revenue in fines for those unfortunates unlucky enough to be caught for using the lanes, often because they have overestimated the legal distance they can spend in the lane when turning a corner!

The British transport secretary Philip Hammond had this to say when he made his announcement - and it's something perhaps our own transport officials would do well to read: "I want to keep traffic moving and improve journey time reliability through making the most of our existing roads.

"The M4 is a vital strategic route and therefore it is important that we do everything possible to reduce congestion on it.

"My intention is to scrap the bus lane permanently as I believe excluding road users in this way is unfair and damaging to the economy."

Of course common sense rarely rules in these matters, but at least there's one consolation in that the Government has finally decided to do away with our silly left turn rule, albeit only in two years' time.

New Zealand is the only country in the world to use it, and when you review its history that is even more incredible.

The rule was "invented" in Australia to give trams the right of way when turning right, but was later abandoned by that country.

However despite the general absence of trams in New Zealand we have persisted with it.

OCT 30-31 WAIOURU Charity fundraiser. Army personal will guide participants through a wide variety of terrain, with opportunities to wallow in mud and take in great scenery seldom seen by civilians. In aid of Variety Bash and Variety, the Children's Charity, it's a two day event on army and farm land with a gymkhana on the Sunday suitable for shinies through to club level. Meals provided. Contact Robert Stout (06) 385 9435; Kandy Matt (06) 358 8090; [email protected] co.nz ph/fax: 063858090 mob: 021744573 Address: R D1, Ohakune.

NOV 7 RIMUTAKA. Eastbourne Scouts Jamboree Fundraiser 4WD rally rom Rimutaka State Forest Park, Wainuiomata, and scouting around the rugged southern coast through Orongorongo Station to Ocean Beach in the Wairarapa. Suitable for any 4WD with adequate clearance; a fun and exciting family day trip under the guidance of 4WD experts Lin Rod and the Featherston 4x4 Club. Ends with BBQ food and drinks stalls and beachside activities on Ocean Beach. Entry S75 per vehicle, limited places. Contact Hans van der Wilt 027 2301045, Dean Goble on 0274 404 010 or email [email protected] gamebreaker.co.nz

NOV 12-14 THERMAL THUNDER winch challenge. The Hamner4WD Park has new owners providing bigger and better stages. 4x4 Events NZ Inc's inaugural event and final round of the Mainland Winch Challenge Series. Location: Pucker Park Hamner Springs, spectators welcome, limited to 40 vehicles. Contact Rick (03) 3651909, www.4wdaccessories.co.nz

NOV 13-14 EIGHTH ANNUAL Ahuroa Volunteer Fire Brigade Fundraiser. Organised by Rodney Offroad Club, one hour's drive north of Auckland. Hard and easy optioned trips. Overnight camping. Full day Saturday. Evening meal, half day Sunday; truck wash available. Vicki (027) 572 2595; email [email protected] or Brent White [email protected]

NOV 14 NATIONAL TRIALS Round 1 - Bay of Islands. Hosted by Bay of Islands 4x4 Club. Okaihau. See www.4x4trials.co.nz for more details and entry forms.

NOVE 19-22 TOTALLY TOYOTA weekend. Postponed because of the effects of heavy rain. East Cape back country - Friday and Monday optional. Mud tyres only - all club level prepared Toyotas welcome. Contact Grant Brew (06) 867 0222; [email protected].

NOV 20-21 RANGITIKEI Hunt Club 4WD Trek. Encompassing the Kawhatau and Rangitikei River Valleys, the trek is run over Saturday and Sunday with camping available in the Mangaweka camping ground. Fully catered including a cash bar Saturday night. Family orientated. Full details and entry forms contact Alex and Fi Dalgety on (06) 322 8460 or 021222 i or [email protected].

NOV 21 FREE ENTRY NZ4WD magazine Have a Go Day. Jeep Woodhill 4WD Park, Helensville, Auckland. Come and try your hand on an easy circuit for free, or try out the whole park at a reduced rate. Food and accessory stalls, a great family day 9 am to 3 pm. Mud play area for those who want more, and you can sign up at a special reduced rate if you want to tour the whole park (open until 5 pm).

NOV 28 CCVC WELLINGTON 40th Anniversary 4WD Tag-along. Run along the south coast from Ocean Beach, Wairarapa to Orongorongo station, Wainuiomata following the footsteps of the first CCVC trip in 1970/1. S125 per vehicle (up to four people), Numbers limited on first come basis, contact [email protected] com for registration. Fees include BBQ lunch.

JANUARY 2-4 2011 4WD Track n' Trail NZ. Bridge to Nowhere. Cost includes, two nights' fully catered accommodation, jet boat travel, land access .Email [email protected] for more details.

JAN 8 2 NATIONAL TRIALS Round 2, Valley 4x4 Club

JAN 15-21 NORTHLAND KAURI COAST SAFARI. In association with Kauri Coast 4WD Club. Dargaville through beach and forest ending Friday. Local schools used for overnight camping and schools provide a meal every night. Proceeds for participating schools and other local organisations. The full itinerary soon. Contact inquiries to Chris and Leanne Kemp (09) 434 6005, Serena Carran (09) 439 0064, owrite to PO Box 18, Dargaville or email: [email protected]

JAN 28-31 MOTU SCHOOL East Cape Safari. Auckland Anniversary weekend. Four-day event starting and finishing at Motu school in reverse direction from previous years. Well organised and takes in farm land, forestry areas, DoC land and remote river valleys. A great long weekend getaway Details contact Motu School, Paul and Shelley Cornwall. Phone or fax(06) 863 5804. After hours: (06) 8635 002. email; [email protected]

JAN 30 NATIONAL TRIALS Round 3 Hosted by Eastern Bay Twin Diff Club at Matata. See www.4x4trials.co.nz for more details and entry forms.

GOT AN EVENT? WANT TO SHARE?

Email the details to: editor® nz4wd.co.nz or post to: PO Box 65-092, Mairangi Bay, Auckland.

We cannot guarantee inclusion or take responsibility for changes, or inadvertent inaccuracies.

2 November 2ulu

John Oxley

Email. [email protected]

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