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Mayor brightens cyclist’s night to win award

Dec 8th, 2011 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

LIT UP: Stephanie Cairns nominated the Mayor for 'Most Courteous Road User' after she gifted her some bike lights.

CYCLING through the Basin Reserve one night last summer, Stephanie Cairns was not expecting to be told off for not having any bike lights – especially not by the Mayor.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown was named ‘Most Courteous Road User’ in Cycle Aware Wellington’s Roll On Awards, after being nominated by Ms Cairns for an act of cycling kindness.

Ms Cairns was cycling through the Basin Reserve when she was passed by another cyclist “adorned with a fluoro vest and a cluster of blinking lights”.

“When I pulled up to the intersection with Adelaide Road, I heard a voice behind me: ‘Haven’t you got any lights?’,” says Ms Cairns in her nomination.

“I felt somewhat sheepish, and even more so when I realised the lady on the bike was the Mayor of Wellington.”

She says the Mayor gave her some of her own lights and said she could keep them or return them to the Council.

“I always have spares, for safety reasons, and because as Mayor you don’t want to be caught with a flat battery,” says Ms Wade-Brown, who says she has twice given away bike lights.

“I didn’t tell anyone about it, so I’m quite pleased it’s come out in this way.”

The inaugural Roll On Awards recognise the good and bad of cycling in Wellington throughout the year.

BLINKERS ON: Mayor Celia Wade-Brown came to the aid of a lightless cyclist recently. IMAGE: Holl

Ms Wade-Brown was also there to accept awards for Wellington City Council.

The Council picked up the runner-up award in the ‘Favourite improvement of the year’ category for their cycle-friendly drain grates, and winner in ‘Most room for improvement’ category for the Adelaide Road and Southern route from Newtown to the city.

“We have got a bit of momentum behind us,” says Ms Wade-Brown about Wellington cycling infrastructure.

“The projects are not as high as I would like, but they are there.”

Kelburn Normal School teacher Jenny Cossey took the prestigious ‘Coolest bike and/or rider’ award.

Ms Cossey suspects she might have been nominated for her efforts at the recent race in which she changed costume for each lap and made a cup of tea along the way.

Acommuter and  mountain biker, says that she doesn’t race, she just has fun.

“My bike is just how I get about every day. It’s been a part of my life ever since I can remember.”

Lisa Black’s Cycling in Wellington website won the award for ‘Favourite improvement of the year’, though she says it is the readers and writers who make it work.

HAVING FUN: Jenny Cossey is officially Wellington's coolest cyclist.

“It’s stories from people who ride bikes, it ranges from the really technical to the feel-good,” says Ms Black, who says she rides to work in a suit and heels.

New Zealand Transport Agency also featured in the awards, taking the runner-up spot in ‘Most room for improvement’ for the Hutt Road shared path, and runner-up in ‘Best piece of infrastructure’ for the shared path on Karo Drive.

Commonsense Organics got ‘Most cycle-friendly cafe or shop’ for having more parking for bikes than cars.

Wellington’s volunteer trail builders with Wellington City Council won ‘Best piece of infrastructure’ for all the mountain bike tracks they have built in the last year.

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  1. The thing I really like about the Mayor’s award is that she didn’t get it for being Mayor. It was just for an act of human decency.

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