Cycle safety

There has been quite a bit written recently about the safety aspects for cyclists on our roads. With more and more cyclists on our roads, we are seeing more and more accidents.

I have been cycling for many years and have clocked up tens of thousands of kilometres on a bike. I have completed the Around Taupo cycle event eight times, and this requires many hours of training.

I have never had an accident while cycling. One of the reasons for this, I believe, is that I make myself very visible. I always have a rear flashing light and wear bright clothing.
I am amazed at the number of cyclists who wear dark clothing, have no lights and blend into the colour of the tarseal.

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Motorists find cyclists are very difficult to see in most conditions. This is more of a problem in busy city traffic and on the open road.

Road cyclists are very conscious of how they look. Have a look at a local road race and you will find that nearly all of them are colour co-ordinated from helmets to the shoes. Even the tyres often blend in. Unfortunately at the moment black seems to be the popular colour. So they dress in black and make themselves invisible. (Perhaps they think they are in the NZ cycling team).

My advice to all cyclists out there is quite simply to make yourself visible. Hi-viz vests are very cheap, as are LED flashing lights. Our local road racers could set an example, and perhaps the local club could make rear flashing lights compulsory.

KEVIN O'SULLIVAN
Parkdale


WDC rating

Your reporter's analysis (October 5) of the Whanganui District Council's performance thus far had important errors of fact and memory.

We four elected as group, Whanganui Beyond 2030, had only one objective before the election campaign began: to break the despair that Wanganui residents had shared for more than 10 years, serious divisions between councillors, lack of new jobs and population growth, lack of ambition and real direction.

Then copies of 2013-14 correspondence from the Ministry of Health fell into our hands, advising the then council not to sign a contract for a new sewage plant, until the main contributors to the solid waste (the "wet industries"), had signed to pay their share.

These contracts are still not signed, and soon we will have a fully ready, very expensive sewage plant. Commencing early in 2018, the full costs of running this plant look like being paid for by residential ratepayers. When we published this information, the election campaign came alive.

After the election, the next annoyance was Mayor McDouall frustrated our attempts to get a review of the contract, which had been signed only 17 days before we were elected,
and there were some weeks before we were inducted formally. To "un-sign" a contract for which work had already begun had potential risks of a serious compensation claim.

We were in a no-win situation and didn't have sufficient support to win a vote on a serious review of what had been done before our arrival on council.

More is likely to be revealed on this once management reports the situation with the wet industries and we have enacted a wastewater bylaw.

Nevertheless, as the year has progressed, we are a working, reasonably talented and collegial district council.

We support Mayor Hamish because he was elected mayor, but he must exert his leadership. For our part, we haven't given up on growing the city's population to 60,000 by 2030 - which, incidentally, will help pay for the sewage plant.

Along with all other councillors, we are focusing on growing our city by having a single objective, to which all other promotional activities are focused and support. Grow Whanganui!

For this financial year we argued for a zero rate increase but agreed reluctantly to 2 per cent.

Next year the target will be similar but harder to achieve, with cost increases like the wage and salary claims being sounded out now and major increases in domestic sewage costs, rural roading, insurance premiums and Fire Service levies.

There are also many worthy projects that need to be supported, but can they be afforded?

DAVID BENNETT
Whanganui Beyond 2030 Team


Go Taranaki

Congratulations, Taranaki - you did us all proud, and I would like to dedicate your win to my very good friend Stu Erb, who passed away earlier this year and who took us on many rugby tours. I am sure he would have been looking down on his amber-and-blacks
.
This reminds me of when Andy Slater and his boys lifted the Ranfurly Shield off Auckland in 1998 (I think), and got a heroes' welcome home - just like the boys got at New Plymouth airport on Saturday. Well done, the 'Naki fans.

Down by 24 point to Canterbury, our boys showed guts and determination and never gave up ... they grew another leg. Dead-eye dick Marty McKenzie was really on fire, and it made my night.

To Colin Cooper, well done, mate - I wish you all the very best in your new role.
Proud to still be, and very much, a Taranaki supporter.

GARY STEWART
Foxton Beach