Cyclists may be back in path to peace

By John Cousins

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Peace could be restored to a disputed scenic Tauranga walkway by the erection of "share with care" signs.

Conflict between walkers and cyclists along Bureta's Harbour Drive walkway led to council staff banning cyclists from the 1km concrete path.

But the no-cycling signs stunned Harbour Drive resident and cyclist Phil Simpson who argued it was unfair to single out cyclists.

His 74-signature petition, gathered in just two hours from path users, was tabled at a council meeting yesterday.

It sparked questions over whether the council had over-reacted, with councillor Bill Grainger wondering if all that was needed was a bit of common sense and courtesy. The council postponed making a decision until it had received more information.

Mr Simpson told councillors that the path which ran along the foreshore of Harbour Drive was flat and straight with good visibility.

He said pedestrians and cyclists had been sharing the path with courtesy and consideration. "I was stunned when I saw that the council had erected signs beside the path."

He said many cyclists used the path because the road was substandard, with erratic vehicle parking and manoeuvres. "Forcing cyclists to use this very narrow roadway is dangerous and irresponsible."

Mr Simpson said it was a mystery why cyclists were suddenly not trusted to apply the share-with-care guidelines that applied to other city walkways.

Transportation manager Martin Parkes said the signs went after complaints that pedestrians were being verbally abused by cyclists.

It was illegal to ride on footpaths unless it was a postie or a child's cycle or tricycle. The council would have to spend $45,000 widening the path by one metre for it to become a dual walkway and cycleway.

Cyclist Stewart Wright said he was told "in no uncertain way" to get off the path by a lady walking her dog. He had just returned from a week's holiday and had not noticed the new signs.

Mayor Stuart Crosby said there needed to be respect between all users.

"We should not over-regulate things because of a few problems."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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