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Wellingtonians as Italians

  • May 21st, 2008

Which comes first, a cafe culture, or “Italian” pedestrian and driving habits? Recent Wellington history suggests a clear correlation. The question was raised while friends were speculating on  Wellington Central issues for me.

One proposed the dangerous habits of Wellington pedestrians, and the drivers who accommodate them. 

Wellington pedestrians consider their right to the roads to be only intermittently subordinate to cars. Bus drivers hold lordships far above any others. Next come car drivers, then professional truck drivers, then pedestrians, and finally cyclists.

In a classless category all their own (like New Zealanders in the UK) are courier cyclists. With some minor courtesy they are accepted as being above all rules and outside all rank.

I could not take up any aspect of this issue without hypocrisy. I’ve become so dangerously steeped in Wellington habits that I’ve found myself all alone in the middle of a roaring Auckland traffic stream. I absent-mindedly step out of the crowd and off the curb into a gap in the traffic flow, ignoring the lights. Two lanes later I realise the crowd are still where they were, patiently waiting for the cross signal.

Wellington drivers would take this in their stride, like Italians. In Auckland they’re alarmed, so the risk is doubled.



But nowhere else in the world have I witnessed the insanity of having simultaneous green lights for both vehicles and pedestrians.


be careful on the roads Stephen,
many of those Auckland drivers are angry,
keep a flag with you as you cross the street,
it [ the flag] says
Tax cuts, Prosperity to our country again:
This way you safe bro..

  • jcuknz
  • May 22nd, 2008
  • 9:30 am

The problem is that pedestrians, particularly students here in Dunedin, do not appreciate that they are ‘road users’ and as such should obey the road rules and show courtesy to other users.

  • Ed Snack
  • May 22nd, 2008
  • 9:51 am

I think you spend too much time in Wellington Stephen, my experience is that Auckland pedestrians are more numerous, and generally evade the cars rather better. Wellingtonians are so slow that they get mowed down regularly, a fact that I put down to the majority of government workers around and their apparent belief that the world (including cars) should bow down before their obvious superiority.

Couldn’t dispute your ranking of buses as #1, they tend to win every argument they have as well.

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