Misleading Expressway Story

Giving the Kapiti highway a bad rap

By Roger Childs

Cyclist riding illegally on the expressway?

Kapiti readers picking up their paper off the driveway today, would have been mystified by the front page news.

There, blaring out at the bottom of page one was the headline: Cyclists fall victim to high expressway kerbs.

But the Expressway isn’t open until later next month, so were these cyclists riding illegally on the new highway? No they weren’t.

So was this a case of don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story? Yes to that.

Twisting the truth

The $630 million Kapiti Expressway has claimed several victims, a month out from its likely opening. Dominion Post, 12 January 2017

Cyclists hurt on the expressway?

Definitely not the Expressway, and not several victims. The story explains that it is new kerbing in Te Moana Road in Waikanae, that has caused problems for three cyclists. Accidents of the sort mentioned in the article are not uncommon, and, as every cyclist knows, getting too close to  any kerb with your pedals or tyres can be a recipe for a mishap.

It is regrettable that the accidents mentioned in the article have happened, but it is inaccurate to claim that the … Kapiti Expressway has claimed several victims … (“Victims” is a very loaded word.)

Accuracy and balance

The front page story was designed to be critical of the Expressway. The kerbs may be too high, but the work done on the streets and properties close to the new routeway, have seen significant improvements to road surfaces and width, footpaths, fences and walls.

Fair enough to cover the recent accidents, but some balance in outlining the considerable benefits for the communities close to the Expressway should have been provided.

Cyclists in Waikanae have been left with shattered bones… This is very unfortunate, but reporter Joel Maxwell, should have mentioned at the start, that there were two in this category.

Front page headlines and stories in the daily press need to be accurate and not misleading.