Common Sense on Shared Paths


On Sunday I became a pedestrian on a shared cycle path. For me this is a very rare occurrence and, as I generally cycle most places, I felt very much like a fish out of water. I was walking because I'd left my bike behind to run down the path from the Honest Lawyer to photograph the people that were taking part in the Kiwiana Fun Ride. Once the riders in the event had passed, I started to make my way back to the start. As I walked back, my mood which had been very positive at seeing a wide range of people enjoying being out on the fun ride, turned sour.

Unfortunately this track (and I suspect others) seems to be viewed as a dedicated cycle track by a number of people, generally travelling way too fast to be using this shared facility. I felt extremely vulnerable walking back (more concerned for my camera than my own well-being if I'm honest) as cyclist after cyclist raced up behind me with no warning. A small movement to either side at the wrong moment and I would have been hit very hard by a cyclist travelling at what I suspect is close to 30km/h. At one point a female cyclist overtook me going so fast she was unable to slow down sufficiently for the corner and a family cycling the other way was forced off the path to avoid being hit. This behaviour is unacceptable and it threatens to undermine all the good work that is being achieved by the council and cycle groups.

Sharing these paths safely comes down to two common sense rules:

  • Warn other users as you approach from behind and slow down when passing
  • When approaching blind spots slow down, keep left and approach as though a cyclist or a walker is in the blind spot, possibly coming the other direction and on your side of the path

If you can't follow these rules stay off the shared paths, it's that simple !

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