Let cyclists use Auckland footpaths

Last updated 05:00 11/02/2013

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Since January, I've taken to riding the 10-12 minutes each way to work in Auckland. Now that school is back and traffic has increased, it is actually quicker than driving.

I ride along Great South Road from Penrose as far as Market Road. Most of the ride is fine and there is room for my slow cycling to share the road with drivers. But there are a couple of major intersections where it is just not sensible to try and stay in the traffic lanes, so I switch to slow pedalling on the footpath.

I'm pretty sure that this is illegal, but I'm more than prepared to argue with any officer who wants to take me to task, on the basis that I am increasing everyone's safety by using the footpath:

1. There just is not enough room for cars to pass me safely when the road narrows at the intersections.

2. There are very few pedestrians using the footpath at 7:30am and after 5pm, so I don't see that I am a danger to them. I can see them in the distance and slow so that I pass them at a very slow pace.

3. The biggest danger is from cars coming out of driveways, who only stop once their front wheels get to the gutter. So knowing this I am extra wary of every driveway, particularly those with a high fence or hedge.

The council has painted separation lines for bikes and pedestrians on the section of Greenlane Road between Great South Road and Wheturangi. What a great idea. I'm sure that it doesn't suit the lycra clad road-rider but for sedate pedalling in my work attire, it is very sensible.

Please can the council consider sharing more footpaths, where there is width to do so?

If we could get enough of these, perhaps we could even dispense with the requirement for compulsory helmets, because whenever I talk to colleagues this is one of the biggest turn-offs to riding to work. 

I have seen several mentions of Europe where cycling is a very common mode for commuting. I've been there and it works because, there are separated cycle lanes on footpath-like area, there are no helmet requirements, and people ride purposefully but not recklessly in their dedicated lanes.

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