Cyclists anger park friends

TARYN UTIGER
Last updated 05:00 12/06/2014

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Cyclists in Pukekura Park are close to creating accidents and the council is not doing enough about it, the Friends of Pukekura Park say.

Despite a cycling ban in the park, the council had not enforced the rules, which had led to near misses and complaints, Adrienne Tatham, president of the Friends of Pukekura Park has said.

During New Plymouth District Council's annual plan hearings she urged the council to enforce the cycling ban and put signs.

"The actions of many cyclists within the park are jeopardising the safety of the walkers who should be at ease to wander the paths freely without constantly being on the alert for cyclists," she said.

The Friends of Pukekura Park had received many complaints from people who'd had near misses with cyclists and had problems with aggressive ones.

Also, mountain bikers often cycled on the narrower off-the-beaten-track paths which created further danger for the elderly and young children, she said.

She said council had a statutory responsibility to health and safety of park visitors and asked if officers were waiting for an accident to happen before they took action.

Council's parks manager Mark Bruhn said the Let's Go project meant council had spent the last three years encouraging people to cycle around town, and council did not have the resources to actively police the Pukekura Park issue.

Deputy mayor Heather Dodunski said it was concerning that the cycling ban was not being enforced.

"It's all right to say you are monitoring it but that's not enough anymore," she said.

Councillor Gordon Brown said the Let's Go project may have given cyclists an incorrect view that they could flout the law.

He said any money needed to enforce the ban would pale in comparison to the money requested from council to clean the "duck pond".

Councillor Len Houwers said the council was doing itself no favours by not enforcing its own rules, while councillor Howie Tamati could see no problem with cyclists using the park.

He said a better education programme was needed so cyclists and walkers could both use the same space with care.

The council agreed to add temporary "no biking" symbols to the main signs at the primary entrances to Pukekura Park and to put up permanent ones in a project scheduled for 2014/15.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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