Cyclist opposes 'hazardous' shared pathway

23:57, Aug 07 2014
Sam McEachern
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: Cyclist Sam McEachern rides his bicycle in Rocks Rd. His bicycle is an electric power-assisted model owned by the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board.

Cyclist Sam McEachern is backing Rocks Rd residents who are opposed to a shared pathway.

As a daily commuter, McEachern said he did not want to be contending with children, dogs, walkers and iPod listeners on a shared pathway.

"I just want to get from A to B as quickly and safely as possible, but on the other hand I don't want to get treated like a tiny wee car," he said.

After having a long look at the two proposed designs for Rocks Rd, he said option two with a 4-metre shared pathway was a hazard for cycling commuters who would have to avoid other users.

In an ideal world he would like to see a roundabout instead of the Tahunanui lights, a two-way bike lane on the cliffs side of the route with a retainer to catch cliff debris, no car parking until the restaurant area, and an accompanying walkway.

McEachern cycles around the city in his role as a mental health nurse, saving the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board fuel costs after encouraging it to add cycles to its fleet.


He is also a long-boarder and scooter rider, and wants more inclusive infrastructure.

"I'd love to see this as a nice long esplanade like Wellington where you can long-board along or rollerblade," he said.

He understood residents' concerns about losing parking spaces.

"You're not going to make everybody happy. We are pushed for room, it's an awful difficulty," he said.

But, unlike many residents his focus was not on the Southern Link.

"I think probably in all the world it's been demonstrated that building more roads doesn't actually make it better."

The traffic jams in Waimea Rd were not a real traffic jam with cars only slowed by five to 10 minutes and this dropped significantly during the school holidays, McEachern said.

Chairman of the Nelson 50+ walking group, Noel Brown, asked members what their personal views of the road were.

"The unanimous consensus was that there has to be provision for walking around the waterfront," he said.

"It's an iconic walk and there were a lot of views expressed about how dangerous it is - a lot of people don't walk there because the trucks are too close."

Brown thought a platform overhanging the sea would be good for walking and cycling, but he was unsure if it was possible.

"I am not a specialist. I would say engineering-wise it is probably very difficult because we have big seas there four or five times a year and if it got underneath that walking platform it would probably be too dangerous," he said.

The Nelson Mail