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Easing cyclists’ way from Welly to Shelly Bay

Nov 17th, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

bikes1mainA CLASH of interests has been partially resolved in favour of cyclists, with part of the “Welly to Shelly” cycle lane cleared of angle parking and the new route to be opened by the mayor on Sunday.

Some cyclists would still like Wellington City Council to remove all angle parking along Oriental Parade, saying it is too dangerous.

One cyclist who wishes to remain anonymous says: “Anyone who rides a bike will be aware of how hard it is to be to the left of a lane and have to mind read an angle parked car reversing out – we can’t see a thing until it’s too late.”

In June, slight progress was made, city councillor Iona Pannett says, with the council making Thorndon Quay, one of the city’s busiest commuter routes, safer for cyclists by deeming a clearway between 7am and 9am. Angle parking still exists.

Cyclists say angle parking is the biggest hazard to negotiate.

But some pedestrians are arguing the footpath should be left to walkers only.

Councillor Pannett believes it is best to separate pedestrians and cyclists but realises with the topography of Wellington it isn’t always possible.

She voted in September at a council strategy and policy meeting to support the removal of car parks along Evans Bay Parade, “to make it easier for cyclists”.

This was approved by the full council in September and will be a feature of the Welly To Shelly bike route official opening by Mayor Celia Wade-Brown on November 21.

City council communications officer Richard MacLean says any path with a painted, white bike symbol is a shared lane for pedestrians and cyclists “which is what Oriental and Evans Bay Parade is, so it is fine for both”.

Angle parking is of no concern to the council, he says. “We don’t believe it to be particularly hazardous to cyclists.”

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TIGHT SQUEEZE: Sharing footpath space on Oriental Parade.

He wouldn’t advise cyclists to ride fast and says if they do ride at speed, to go on the road: “Providing they go slow on this path, it is OK.”

Patrick Morgan, project manager of Cycling Advocate Network, says biking is a great way to get around Wellington, but “footpaths are for people to move along, linger and chat, not for cycling”.

“Just as cyclists ask motorists to slow down and give them space, we need to make sure we’re doing the same in areas we legally share with walkers.”

In a letter published in The Dominion Post, Bill Moss writes his “rights are already eroding daily” with council road works and “inner city idiocy” at traffic lights, and wonders about the rights of cyclists sharing footpaths with walkers.

“The last thing I need is to have to dodge selfish cyclists, too scared, lazy or stupid to ride on the road,” he writes.

Moses, 65, of Newtown, cycles along Oriental Parade daily and always uses the footpath as much as he can, but always rides slowly. He says: “It’s just a really lovely place along here we can all enjoy.”

[UPDATED Thursday November 18 to correct day of event.]

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RIDE TIME: Moses scoots along the footpath dodging walkers on his way to work.

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is A journalist who loves wide open spaces and fresh air, passionate about the world we live in and keeping our natural world as pristine as we can while still living happily. Responsibility is the first step. Toiti te whenua.
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