Hamilton's popular river paths are busier than ever as more people exercise locally, but not everyone is remembering to share with care, according to Hamilton City Council.
The run of good weather and Covid-19 rules on exercising close to home are encouraging more people to get out onto the river paths.
Hamilton City Council says its transportation data scientists recorded a daily average of 900 river path users last week, the first full week since the country went to Alert Level 4. Normal weekday usage is fewer than 500 people.
Many of the paths are less than 2m wide – the distance people are advised to maintain from people not in their bubble.
With increased foot and bike traffic, path users need to be especially careful about physical distancing.
That may mean stepping off the track where it's safe to do so and waiting for other people to pass by, parks and recreation manager, Maria Barrie, says.
The council's message to path users has always been to share with care and this is more important than ever, she says.
Cyclists are encouraged to use their bells and slow down, especially where they can't clearly see the path ahead.
The river paths are used by Hamiltonians of all ages, including children and older people, who may not be able to quickly move aside or hear cyclists coming their way.
"It's great to see more people using our wonderful river path network but the key to everyone enjoying the experience is to be considerate of other users," Ms Barrie says.
"Keep your distance, remember to stay local to your neighbourhood and be aware there may be more people on the path than you would normally see."
The council has added more signs to the paths, reminding people to maintain physical distancing and use the paths with care.
Ms Barrie says people may need to temporarily change their habits.
"If you are finding the paths particularly busy, next time try going for your walk or ride at a different time of day."
Meanwhile, the city council's animal education and control staff have an important message for all dog owners – keep your dog on a lead at all times.
"This goes for all parks and open spaces including our off-lead dog parks," says manager Susan Stanford.
"We're seeing increasing numbers of people out walking their dogs which is great, but at the same time there have been several dog attacks, as well as a dog fight involving three dogs, this past week in our parks. These have been due to dogs being off lead."
"These attacks and fights then necessitate the owners getting closer than the social distance guidelines, putting themselves and others at risk of cross contamination."
The risk of cross contamination also extends to touching other people's dogs. While it's not likely the spread of Covid-19 from animal to animal can occur, it is possible for them to have the virus on their fur through human contact, the council says.
It's important to not touch other people's animals or allow your children to touch them and always remember to wash your hands when you get home – treat your pets as if they are part of your bubble.
"We all have a part to play here to keep everyone safe, so during this lockdown period walk with your dogs on a lead at all times and keep your walks to your local neighbourhood," says Ms Stanford.