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Ask Phoebe: Slower users go first on shared path unless signs say otherwise

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All users on shared paths must by law use shared paths fairly and safely, and to try and not hold anyone up. Photo / Michael Craig
All users on shared paths must by law use shared paths fairly and safely, and to try and not hold anyone up. Photo / Michael Craig

Please can you find out what the rules are for cyclists on shared foot/bike paths such as that on Tamaki Drive? I ask as sometimes I have no choice but to run on the cycle section, then get abused by cyclists for being on there, when I understood that cyclists have to always give way to pedestrians.

- Andrew Parsons, Auckland.

The road code has the following to say: "Some councils have created shared paths that both cyclists and pedestrians can use.

"Sometimes the shared path is sign-posted to let you know what type of user has priority, and in this case, you need to give way to the user who has priority. When a shared path does not have priority signs, you should give way to the slower user. However, if you encounter a horse on a shared path it is sensible to give way to the horse, as they are easily startled." (Good to know - Ed.)

"All users on shared paths must by law use shared paths fairly and safely, and to try and not hold anyone up. If riding on a shared path you should:

• Keep left

• Let pedestrians know you are there by politely calling out or ringing a bell when you are approaching from behind them

• Pass on the right when possible unless the pedestrians are on the right, in which case pass them in the safest way you see fit

• Ride defensively and cycle at a speed that does not put others at risk

• Watch out for traffic going in and out of driveways. Vehicles from driveways do need to give way to those on the shared path, but often drivers may not expect fast traffic on the shared path

• Take care at intersections and give way to motor vehicles if you need to."

And, happily, in similar vein:

Recently I have seen a few people walking on the new cycleway that runs alongside Nelson St. I thought this to be a bit hazardous. Is this allowed? Or is the cycleway still considered part of the road and pedestrians should not be on it? Also as the cyclists have the cycleway, are they supposed to be on it rather than the road?

- David Matthews, Auckland.

According to Auckland Transport's website, the cycleway is a mixture of shared pedestrian and cycling paths and two-way, on-road cycle lanes are separated from the general traffic by raised buffer islands.

However, also according to AT's website, the cycleway is not a shared path for its whole length. Thus, any pedestrians using this facility need to be very wary of approaching cycles, especially from the rear.

It is not mandatory for cyclists to use cycleways but the separation from cars makes it a safer option.

- NZ Herald

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