After cycling hundreds of thousands of kilometres on Hawke's Bay roads, police inspector Dean Clifford knows the highways will never be completely safe for the growing number of people taking to their bikes.
But the same goes for all traffic, he says.
"Roads are inherently risky. Risky for vehicles, risky for cyclists, risky for pedestrians."
He was commenting amid new cycling safety concerns after Napier doctor Amy Symonds recorded the close calls she'd had while biking to and from her work at Hawke's Bay Hospital in Hastings and showed it to district councillors as she pleaded for a clip-on bike lane on Chesterhope Bridge.
Mr Clifford, formerly police Hastings area commander and now cycling between cities each day to his new job at police Eastern District headquarters in Napier, said the Hastings council had to be congratulated for its cycling strategy, but cyclists still had the responsibility of keeping themselves safe.
He said much had improved in the past decade, with cyclists being more safety-aware and motorists, apart from the odd "hoon," being more considerate.
Fellow inspector Kevin Kalff, who was Napier area commander and who also has experience of inter-city commuting by bike, said he tried to be "highly visible" on the road, and to make sure he was alert at all times. He did not "ride with earphones".
Meanwhile, a University of Auckland public health physician with a special interest in transport, and cycling, has called for urgency in stepping-up cost-effective investment in cycling infrastructure.
Alex Macmillan, who cycles the busy Auckland roads to work almost every day, said the budget for transforming Hastings into a "model cycling community" was so small that councillors had little chance of making it happen.
Shoulder-tapped by the New Zealand Transport Agency in 2010 to become a city where walking and cycling were "simply irresistible", Hastings has a budget of $16 million over the next decade, 1.7 per cent of the transport budget.
Dr Macmillan said it was "a budget so small and spread so thinly that enthusiastic councillors have little chance of making a real difference to cycling safety or the attractiveness of it as transport".
"On the contrary," she said, "the model communities are at risk of making cycling slightly more attractive, but at the same time more dangerous."
Dr Symonds' recording "should serve as a wake-up call - not to share the road better, but to rapidly act on changing the built environment".