Councillor targets footpath cyclists

KATIE CHAPMAN
Last updated 12:52 21/05/2014

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Wellington

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A Wellington city councillor has taken aim at cyclists riding on footpaths via social media.

Mark Peck has lashed out at ''inconsiderate'' cyclists riding on footpaths, and says he has encouraged parking wardens to dish out fines to riders.

However, the council's transport and urban development committee chairman Andy Foster said wardens did not have the power to fine cyclists.

In the post on his Facebook page, Peck said he had received a complaint from a woman who was almost knocked down by a ''speeding cyclist'' when leaving Butlers Chocolates on Willis St, and he had also been hit.

''I was struck by a cyclist using the footpath as his road and when I suggested to him that he use a warning bell to signal his presence, he suggested that I look where I was going. Hang on, it is the footpath. What was he doing there,'' he wrote.

He then called on cyclists to ''stop being a menace'' - particularly given the $4.3 million investment the council had committed to improving cycling lanes.

Yesterday, a council committee agreed to spend $1.3m of that in Island Bay.

He later added that he had spoken to parking wardens and had encouraged them to fine cyclists on footpaths.

Peck's comments were not well-received by some cyclists.

''By all means, highlight bad behaviour in order to increase awareness by all road and footpath users of the impact that their decisions have on others, but please stop using investment in safer cycling infrastructure as a stick to beat people who ride bikes with every time someone on two wheels does something silly or inconsiderate,'' Jess Mazengarb wrote.

Others commented that many cyclists rode on the footpaths because they did not feel safe on the road.

Today, Peck agreed investment in cycling was important, which was why he had supported it, but said the issue was common courtesy.

''It's not, in my view, an issue of cyclists versus cars versus pedestrians, it's about people who are using various spaces respecting the space of others as well.''

He had been meeting with wardens on a separate matter and had raised the question of cyclists in passing.

Foster said the council's parking wardens were not able to fine cyclists, which could only be done by police.

Cyclists should be following the rules, as unfortunately a few inconsiderate people often reflected badly on all cyclists.

Cycling Advocates Network spokesman Patrick Morgan said about 10,000 people cycled in Wellington each day, but it was not OK to ride on footpaths.

''We don't condone it. Our advise if for for all road users to follow the rules and don't be a dick.''

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Instead of fines, the focus should be fixing the reasons people rode on footpaths by making the roads safer and more appealing. One solution could be to make Wellington's CBD car-free, he said.

''Let's start with the bigger problem, not the minor stuff.''

Cyclists can ride on footpaths if it is a shared path, if they are delivering mail, or if they are riding a child's bike.

- The Dominion Post

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