Booze and bikes mix worries resident

Marlborough's proposed off-road cycle trails are encouraging cyclists to "drink and ride", a Picton man says.

Denis Waters was worried for the safety of cyclists and motorists after Marlborough's off-road trail working group proposed to build a sealed path alongside New Renwick Rd last month.

Waters said while the trail was a great solution to get cyclists off the dangerous roads, he was worried about people cycling from cellar door to cellar door under the influence of alcohol.

"I'm all for the cycle tracks, but I'm just concerned they are encouraging people to drink and ride and people will just end up back on the road at some point anyway," he said.

"If you go to 10 cellar doors, can you still ride your bike safely?"

The proposed route, to be called the Southern Valleys Cycle Trail, would run between Blenheim and Renwick.

It would connect Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, Villa Maria Estate, Wither Hills and Brancott Heritage Centre and potentially Highfield Estate as well as boutique wineries and restaurants near Renwick.

The working group, led by Marlborough District Council reserves and amenities officer Robin Dunn, formed earlier this year because of the lack of safe off-road trails between cellar doors.

Dunn said people were already cycling between cellar doors using the main roads so the proposed cycle trail would be a safer route to take.

"We are trying to make it safer not less safe . . . so if they are off the road rather than on the 100kmh road it will be better."

People cycling around the cellar doors were more interested in quality rather than quantity, Dunn said.

Marlborough highway patrol team leader Sergeant Barrie Greenall said they did not have a lot of problems with drunk cyclists.

"At the moment we don't have many issues with intoxicated cyclists and I don't think the addition of the new cycle lane will increase that small number," he said.

Greenall welcomed a trail that would increase the safety for cyclists and motorists.

"There are a lot of people that commute to and from Renwick so anything that will make it safer, I would encourage cyclists to use," he said.

The next stage for the off-road trail working group was to apply for Tourism Growth Partnership funding for the new path.

The Marlborough Express