Courteous riders free to flout Pukekura Park cycling ban

"We've got a policy without an enforcement."

JOHN ANTHONY
Last updated 05:00 30/01/2013
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CAMERON BURNELL
Catherine Jordan with her children Sophia, 6, and Charlotte Wischnowsky, 3, are upset with the behavior of Cyclists in Pukekura park

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The New Plymouth District Council is turning a blind eye to people flouting Pukekura Park's cycling ban so long as they ride with courtesy and care.

New Plymouth woman Catherine Jordan said her grandmother, aged in her 90s, nearly got skittled by a cyclist coming around a blind corner.

"It was very close; they swerved and I kind of thought they were going to go into the pond at one point," Ms Jordan said.

When Ms Jordan was younger she was always told biking in the park was not allowed, she said.

"It would be a shame if it suddenly became over-run with bikes."

The Pukekura Park Management Plan 2004 stated that riding bicycles or motorised vehicles within all areas of the park was prohibited.

This did not apply to council employees carrying out their work responsibilities or service delivery vehicles to the tea house.

The council's bylaws and policies around bicycles in the park were not strictly enforced, the plan said.

Council parks manager Mark Bruhn and park curator Chris Connolly both said biking in the park was allowed as long as riders were safe and responsible.

Mr Connolly said he saw at least 20 cyclists passing through the park each day.

"A lot of people are doing it at the moment and not causing any problems," he said.

In his six years as curator he had only needed to speak to 12 or so people about their reckless biking, he said.

Mr Bruhn said there was no bylaw that prohibited biking in the park.

"We've got a policy without an enforcement," Mr Bruhn said.

The council deliberately allowed the policy to be breached, he said.

"Our method of talking to people biking through the park is far better," Mr Bruhn said.

The approach is a far cry from 2004, when the council used park staff and security patrols to stop cyclists.

"No biking" signs were also put up and some still remained.

Mark Bruhn said cyclists who respected other users and rode safely were not a problem.

"Where we see people driving at high speed in the park we engage with them and tell them of the dangers in that."

Anyone breaching a policy in the management plan could be fined $750 under the 1977 Reserves Act, he said.

"Under the reserves act we can prosecute," he added. But the council had not issued a fine yet, he said.

"We've never used it or enforced it because we're not resourced to be actively policing."

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