Cyclists warned to watch for mauling magpies

Last updated 11:31 12/10/2011

MAGPIE ATTACK: Blenheim man Ray Clearwater has been regularly attacked by magpies and wants the Marlborough District Council to take action.

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MAGPIE ATTACK: Blenheim man Ray Clearwater has been regularly attacked by magpies and wants the Marlborough District Council to take action.

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A Blenheim man is warning fellow cyclists about magpie attacks after he has been repeatedly divebombed by the black and white birds while out on his bike.

Ray Clearwater, of Cycleworld, said he had been attacked by the birds several times as he biked along Conders Bend Rd, near Renwick. He wanted other cyclists to be aware of the danger from the birds, but urged people not to fight them.

"I know it's hard not to shoo them away, but when you start flailing your arms trying to get rid of them, that's when the serious accidents are most likely to happen."

The Marlborough District Council had to do something about the problem of magpie attacks, Mr Clearwater said.

"There is no real solution to stop them yet, but I think the council need to make it a priority.

"Are the council going to wait for somebody to die or get seriously injured before they do something?"

The birds fly in low from behind, where they are out of sight, before circling up behind the cyclist and pecking repeatedly on their helmet. This distracted cyclists, who could easily fall off or ride in front of traffic.

Another cyclist told the Express the birds had caused problems as he commuted to work and during evening training sessions.

"I've cycled thousands of kilometres every year, and it has always been an issue – it is extremely dangerous. Something needs to happen and I think they need to target the more aggressive ones for a start."

He suggested cyclists should "pedal like a maniac" and not hang around if they were attacked by a magpie.

Problem areas include Old Renwick Rd, Bedford Rd, Hawkesbury Bridge, Wither Hills and Ben Morven Rd.

Council road safety co-ordinator Robyn Blackburn said she was aware of the attacks and said the council were looking at ways to control magpies.

"We have had a few reports here that have come through biosecurity (pest control), but the problem is nobody really knows the best way to deal with them right now.

"We're going to need time to work things through and sort some things out to control them."

Mrs Blackburn wants cyclists to report any magpie incident to the council so they can compile a log book to put forward a case for funding for control work. The incident reports should include where and when the attack happened.Have you been attacked by a magpie? Tell the reporter at or call him on 035208916

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- The Marlborough Express


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