Fishing line tied across Queenstown mountain biking track

By Louise Scott at Otago Daily Times

The fishing line was spotted on the walking and cycle path below Ben Lomond Scenic Reserve's tree line. Photo / Google
The fishing line was spotted on the walking and cycle path below Ben Lomond Scenic Reserve's tree line. Photo / Google

Police are investigating the ''moronic'' actions of a person who tied fishing line at head height across a Queenstown track.

Queenstown Mountain Bike Club member Allan Birkett was cycling to work yesterday morning when he spotted something on the walking and cycle path below Ben Lomond Scenic Reserve's tree line and Lakeview Holiday Park, just before 8am.

He believes the fishing line was maliciously placed to cause injury.

Birkett "luckily'' spotted it and ducked to avoid it.

"It snapped across my helmet and when I went back to look it was a poorly set up, but definitely man-made, trip wire. Effectively, to catch people on the throat, presumably bikers, but it would also be about the same height if someone was running.''

A police spokeswoman confirmed they were making inquiries and urged witnesses to come forward.

Birkett, a teacher at Wakatipu High School, told the Otago Daily Times the line was placed between a large rock and fence, connected to a piece of wood by a nail and concealed with cardboard. He described it as having the potential to maim.

"It was badly made but intentionally hidden.''

Queenstown Mountain Bike Club president Jimmy Carling described the actions of those responsible as "extremely dangerous''.

"If you are travelling at speed, a fishing wire is pretty strong. It could definitely break skin. If you catch it around the neck it is not going to be pretty at all.

"I am not sure who is to blame but it is a pretty moronic move because a lot of people who have kids ride those tracks with baby seats.

"Whoever they were trying to target, they could have ended up hurting those they didn't intend to. I don't know if it was specifically aimed at the mountain-bike community but it is just a foolish move by whoever did it ... Someone with half a brain trying to make a statement.''

While it appeared to be an isolated incident, he urged track users to be vigilant and report suspicious activity to police or the club.

Queenstown Lakes District Council spokeswoman Michele Poole said it was taking the matter, on council land, "very seriously''.

"It's a matter for the police. If they seek any assistance from QLDC in their investigations, we will certainly be co-operating.''

- Otago Daily Times

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