A disgruntled cyclist wants Whangārei District Council to better identify hazards after crashing into an unmarked chain across his Pohe Island route.
Whangarei Girls' High School maths teacher Michael Jones suffered a bruised eye, grazes to his face and hands, and a sprained wrist after crashing into the security chain across the track he was riding along and falling off his electric bike.
"The unmarked grey chain is impossible to see against the grey gravel," Jones said soon after the accident.
"One minute I was riding along, the next I was flat on my back."
"It's very unfortunate. Whangārei District Council as the organisation responsible for the area should ensure there's signage (or equivalent) if it seems to be a public area and it's closed off," Jones said.
"It's a public hazard because it's very hard to see."
He notifed the council of his lunchtime Thursday January 14 accident and the council apologised to him the next day, saying it would attach a reflective tag to the chain.
"I am very sorry about your accident while you were out enjoying a bike ride," Sue Hodge, WDC manager parks and recreation said in the letter.
Five days after the accident, and after Northern Advocate inquiries, the chain and surrounds were on Tuesday marked with bright pink spray paint before a reflective sleeve would be put onto the chain.
Jones said the amount of time taken to do the work was "a little bit overdue".
He had expected it to be done within 24 hours of the accident.
Jones had hired an electric bike for his journey, wanting to see what it was like to ride one, with an eye to possible purchase. He was nearing the end of his about 20 kilometre trip from the city centre to Onerahi and back when he cycled into the chain.
He'd just had a coffee at the Bascule carpark, headed over Te Matau a Pohe bridge and turned left towards home. After going along the Hatea Loop path a short distance, Jones headed right, off the main loop path and along a gravel track to the east of the new Pohe Island carpark. This track is used for the International Rally of Whangārei special stage. The gravel track would take him back onto Riverside Drive and homeward to Kensington.
But he didn't make it.
Jones doesn't remember hitting the chain. He recalls riding along, then next minute being on the ground.
"I must have hit the chain across the track and bounced off it."
Four people came to his rescue, a retired couple taking him to his doctor who in turn sent him for a wrist X-ray. The bike hirer came and collected the bike.
Jones' glasses were scratched and bent out of shape and a lens on the cellphone in his pocket broken. He said the council had refused to pay for the costs he had incurred from the accident, which amounted to about $700.
WDC said ACC and Jones' insurance covered such accident costs.
Hodge said WDC provided outdoor assets and facilities for people to enjoy and made every effort to manage potential hazards to prevent harm.
"We reasonably expect users to take all practical care to be aware of their surroundings and avoid being hurt or causing injury," Hodge said.
Jones said he was looking where he was going but didn't see the chain, because it was effectively camouflaged through being the same colour as the ground underneath it.
"It's clearly a public area, there were people on both sides, the track and the campervans [in the Pohe Island carpark]."
Hodge said the track wasn't marked for cycling.
"We did not anticipate a cyclist running into the chain. We have not had this happen before, and the primary cycling route on the park is the [Hatea] Loop itself," Hodge said.
The security chain was in place to stop public cars using the rally road.
"There is no signage encouraging this to be used as a cycleway. The Hatea Loop is the wide concrete shared path that is suitable for pedestrians and cyclists and has signage supporting this use," Hodge said.