Dog walkers, cyclists clash on walkway

Users need to be 'more careful and courteous'

MATHEW GROCOTT AND IAIN SCOTT
Last updated 07:32 20/03/2014
Cycleway dog
DAVID UNWIN/FAIRFAX NZ

BEST FRIEND: Christine Greene was with her dog, Sam, when a cyclist sped past and hit Sam on the riverside walkway by Ruahine St.

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Two incidents involving cyclists and dogs on the Manawatu Riverside pathway have prompted calls for users of the facility to be more careful and courteous.

On Saturday Palmerston North woman Christine Greene and her companion dog, a border collie called Sam, were hit by a cyclist near the Ruahine St entrance to the pathway.

And a cyclist is reported to have come off his bike on the pathway last week when a dog came off its leash and "went for him".

Mrs Greene said she was standing half on, half off the path with Sam beside her on the grass. Her back was to the female cyclist who, in trying to pass her on the grass, clipped her on the hip and ran into Sam.

"He sort of, kind of, collapsed," she said.

Sam was taken to the vet where he was found to have bruising but no serious injuries.

Mrs Greene said Sam was "not himself"' for several days afterwards.

She said she did not see the cyclist coming but had been told by witnesses to the incident that she was travelling quickly.

"It seems to be she was using it as a racing track or a training track," she said.

Most cyclists were courteous in their use of the walkway, Mrs Greene said, and would alert people that they were coming.

Sam is highly trained and is a companion dog for Mrs Greene, whose mobility is affected by a whiplash injury.

Sam helps her in and out of bed, helps her dress, picks up items for her and helps with household chores.

"He's like my second brain," she said.

Mrs Greene has trained more than 800 dogs in her life, including companion dogs and dogs that help those with hearing problems.

She said she knew of dog users who had stopped using the river pathway because it was too crowded and they now exercised their dogs at reserves set aside for dogs in Levin and Feilding.

She is calling for users of the Manawatu Riverside pathway to be more careful.

Palmerston North City Council leisure assets planner Jeff Baker said all path users were encouraged to respect each other and share the path with care.

"This means cyclists should warn pedestrians they are approaching by ringing their bell, and pedestrians should not walk four abreast on the path, allowing others to share the space.

"While it is largely an off-leash area [except for the section between the Holiday Park and Fitzherbert Bridge] dog walkers are encouraged to control their dogs when others are approaching, as is expected throughout the city."

Pedal Pushers owner Garry Buys said a customer who had been in the store to buy a helmet had come off his bike on the pathway last week because of a dog.

"His helmet was buggered and his face was all a mess," he said.

Pedal Pushers had been promoting the use of bells on bikes and many customers were buying them, he said.

He called on all users of the pathway to be vigilant and courteous, and urged cyclists "not to use it as an expressway".

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- Manawatu Standard

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