I had an experience the other day while walking along the Beach Rd pathway with my wife, brother-in-law and our dog that I want to share.

While admiring the view and stunning day we were all surprised to have a nearly silent electric bike pass uncomfortably close to our group at what I would estimate was well in excess of 20km/h and being ridden by a chap old enough to definitely know better.

My concern is the speed and disregard for the safety of others sharing the space.

These bikes are motorised, motorbikes are banned from these areas, and these bikes should be too, or have a strict speed limit of say 10km/h imposed, which is about running pace.

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If any of us had stepped toward the waters edge or our dog had moved unpredictably, it could have been disastrous! With the growth in the popularity of these bikes, I believe this needs to be addressed by the council before there is a serious incident.

Evan Campbell
Tauranga South

Pokie debate

Sandra Conchie's article in the Bay of Plenty Times (News December 14) about the proposed changes to Tauranga's pokies policy failed to provide readers with the other side of the issue.

Pokies are the most harmful form of gambling with more than 40 per cent of the money lost coming from people experiencing harm from gambling.

While many worthy causes accept funding from pokie trusts, the funding model poses an important ethical question of whether New Zealand should support a system which determines that some people are selectively benefited while others are substantially harmed; usually those in our high deprivation communities.

Tauranga City directly received more than $8.5 million in funding for community organisations between January 1, 2017, and September 30, 2018.

However, the losses during this same period were $60,760,481 making the return to Tauranga communities around 14.4 per cent of the spend.

The level of gambling harm in Tauranga is difficult to determine because research tells us that only about 10 per cent of people seek help for a gambling problem.

A sinking lid is the best policy to keep the numbers of these harmful machines down.

It doesn't impact community funding as the amount of money going into pokies is increasing, and machine numbers reduce slowly.

We applaud the council for proposing a sinking lid on pokies. (Abridged)

Paula Snowden
Chief Executive
Problem Gambling Foundation of NZ (now trading as PGF Group)

Bus services

Tauranga residents will (in general) be grateful for the improved (for many) and more frequent bus services that have recently been instituted.

But how much longer will those users – many of them elderly - at the "B" embarkation point be left without shelter from the rain, cold and wind – of winter – and now the hot baking sun of summer sun, while waiting for their bus to arrive?

A considerable amount of ratepayer money has been contributed to establishing the close-by "Our Place" container village.

How about spending a few dollars on providing some much-needed shelter!

Eddie Orsulich
Otumoetai

Bus lanes

They must be kidding with a proposal for bus lanes down Cameron Rd (News, December 12) as all it will do is negatively affect retailers, motorists and city residents.

It seems to me that there needs to be an urgent change in the staff at the top of the TCC Transport Department has, in my view, for many years this city has constantly done things that have created even greater gridlock around the city without seemingly ever supporting motorists and their needs.

Just look at the Greerton upgrade opposed by almost everyone except the people in the transport division of the Council and look at the result ... further gridlock.

Rotorua and Taupo have very few pedestrian crossings, with the goal being to have pedestrians and motorists working together but the goal in Tauranga seems to have as many as possible with each crossing basically removing 8-10 car parks.

I also believe the Tauranga Transport Department probably purchases more yellow paint than any other council in NZ as yellow lines are everywhere throughout the city.

Time for change at the TCC.

Mike Baker
Bethlehem

Maori language

Bill Capamagian (Letters December 14) wants more time spent teaching basic literacy and numeracy because 40 per cent of our senior high school students are not functionally literate or numerate.

If the way we are teaching literacy and numeracy at present fails 40 per cent of students then spending more time doing it the same way does not seem like common sense.

Common sense would be teaching literacy and numeracy better not spending more time on it.

Furthermore, Nikki Kaye the National Party spokeswoman on education has a bill for Parliament, supported by the Labour Party, to have all primary schools teaching a second language.

For most schools, Māori language is the most realistic second language to teach.

The common sense reason for teaching all students a second language is that we no longer expect businesspeople and tourists from other nations to communicate only in English.

It actually puts food on the table for us if we can speak to overseas citizens in their own languages. (Abridged)

Peter Dey
Welcome Bay