Council to review cruising curbs on boy racers

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 17/01/2014

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City councillors will soon decide whether Christchurch's anti-cruising bylaw should be scrapped or extended.

Nearly four years has passed since the anti-cruising bylaw, which bans groups of cars from cruising on some Christchurch streets at set times, was introduced.

Police say the bylaw had been effective as a deterrent and there were now fewer boy-racer problems in the city.

The council is obliged to formally review the bylaw every five years and plans to do the first one in the coming months. It has begun initial discussions with police and other parties.

Council strategic policy unit manager Alan Bywater said the council would first have to determine whether there was still a need for a bylaw. If there was, it would then need to consider what changes, if any, should be made.

News of the review comes less than a week after central city moteliers voiced concerns that Christchurch's street-racing movement was regaining momentum after a couple of quiet years.

Argyle on the Park owner Maggie Grant said the city's boy-racer problem was getting worse but many people had little energy left to continue notifying police.

"After the earthquakes it was really quiet but it's actually gaining momentum again," she said. Many of the boy racers now did one lap of the avenues, drove elsewhere for a period, and then returned to get around the law.

Bywater said the council's review would involve an evaluation of the effectiveness of the restrictions and whether the list of streets covered by the bylaw should be amended.

"The environment in the city has changed significantly since the bylaw was introduced," he said.

Asked whether the bylaw had been effective from the council's point of view, Bywater said it was difficult to pin down whether the change in boy-racer behaviour in the city was due to the bylaw, the post-quake environment, or other factors.

Elected members were due to discuss the bylaw at a workshop in March and it was envisaged a revised, draft bylaw would be ready to go out for public consultation by the middle of the year. The target date for getting a new bylaw in place, should one be needed, was September.

Canterbury road policing manager Inspector Al Stewart could not be reached for comment.

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