Capital Times: Cyclists on footpaths

Cyclists on footpaths

The arguments between Motorists and cyclists continue with no end in sight. I am moved to write this after being hit by a car last Wednesday. (Re: Bums on Bikes, Write On, August 4) I am a cyclist and I run red lights frequently and will continue to do so as well as riding on footpaths. I do this not to deliberately annoy motorists but merely get from A to B safely in one piece.

Roads are for cars and footpaths are for pedestrians therefore us cyclists are the “lepers” of the road caught in no mans land, were we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

Avoidance is the best policy when on a bike amongst traffic and if that means jumping the lights and riding footpaths to stay out of way of cars then so be it. However I am also a motorist so I can see the other point of view.

Here’s an example. Whilst driving up Adelaide Rd from the John St intersection I had to slow to 10Kph behind three other cars who were following a cyclist grinding his way up the hill. I remember cringing as frustrated motoristists angrily swerved to overtake as oncoming traffic sped towards them.

Here was me, a cyclist despairing at another rider for not having the sense to
ride on the footpath up such a busy, traffic clogged, arterial route. But of course doing so might have angered a Pedestrian! It is a contentious issue and one that will continue for some time. My hope is that commonsense, courtesy and patience will prevail on both sides.
John Martin, Island Bay


Virtuous cyclists

Dear editor,

Uh-oh! Biking on footpaths is a big no-no, unless you are a kid, postie or on a shared cycle and footpath such as Oriental Parade. (Cyclists on footpaths, 18 August).

Biking is a great way to get around Wellington, but let's keep footpaths for people. Footpaths are for people to move along, linger and chat, not for cycling or car parking.

If cyclists want to earn respect the message is pretty simple: follow the rules and show common courtesy.

This means stopping at red lights, giving way when required, and using lights at night.

Similarly, drivers are expected to use indicators, overtake safely and travel at a safe speed.

Riding on footpaths feeds a vicious cycle; showing courtesy makes it a virtuous cycle.

Patrick Morgan
Cycle Aware Wellington

Actually children biking aren't legally allowed to ride on the footpath either (unlike Australian Road Rules where I gather they can up to 12 years). In practice, many do it (including my own kids) and most Police seem to turn a blind eye, esp. on busy roads. I guess it would also be rather tricky to write an infringement notice for a minor?

True. Here's the rules:

You are only allowed to cycle on the footpath if you are:

  • delivering newspapers or mail, or
  • you are riding a small wheeled recreational device that has a wheel diameter of less than 355 millimetres (typically tricycles or small children's bicycles).

So it's all about the wheel size, but that's too technical for a letter to editor so I summarised it as 'kids and posties'.

Although I hear Hastings is passing a by-law to let kids ride on footpaths. Sure hope they know what they are doing!

The Capital Times has "printed" my response