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Wednesday
Aug202014

Police Discretion Called For

Almost all readers of this blog will be well aware of the extremely dangerous conditions pertaining on the blind corner between Kuranui Bay and Tararu - dangerous for both motorist, and cyclist. Readers will likewise be well aware of the fact that there is next to no chance of improvements to this corner in the foreseeable future, even although it carries the entire West Coast traffic load. In other words - we just have to put up with it, logging jinkers and all

But equally, we should not have to put up with officious police officers who have taken to warning cyclists using the footpath of a $50 fine if they persist in order to keep out of harms way. It is an utterly ridiculous, and potentially dangerous for cyclists to be forced to use the already extremely narrow roadway, and it is to the great relief of motorists generally that most cyclists are sufficiently sensible to adopt the alternative course of action.

The fact that the Road Code allows for no such alternative is no reason for police officers to behave in this manner - it is precisely for this reason that they are provided with discretionary powers, and there is no better example of a place on the highway where such discretion is called for. 

Perhaps a sign to encourage the use of this seldom walked small section by cyclists in the interests of common sense and safety should be considered. It is crazy to force them on to such a narrow section when there are plenty of speedsters on the Tararu Straight that should keep our enforcement staff busy.

This blog is not usually available for small issue gripes, but this is one that rattles my cage!

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (8)

Bill I think the tone of your letter indicates a deeper issue you may have with police rather than this particular issue Please assure me this is not the case
In any event friend as both a police officer and a cyclist who has ridden he entre coast road which includes this corner I have never found an issue with it
I have noticed a lot of elderly persons do use the footpath as well as mobility scooters probably because of the retirement home n the area
The elderly and cyclists on he footpath are never a good mx and here is a collision I is invariably the elderly tat come off worse for wear
I dare say this ma be at the heart of the police officers actions and as we can both probably be classed in the group Bill perhaps w should be grateful
So Bill have a good ay and enjoy the next walk you have o your local footpath with no fear of being run down b a speeding cyclist

John

August 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Thanks John - actually I have only ever had a problem with one copper - he was a part-time politician who drove fast cars and motorbikes, and who was very difficult to persuade to a rational point of view. He generally came round in the end, but often too late! He was an alright guy, apart from his snap judgements. Perhaps he should consider re-entering the political sphere - he is greatly needed and would bring some balance to the presently fraught situation.
As for your views about "the corner' - perhaps you would be good enough to check the statistics for elderly peope and mobility scooter accidents caused by cyclists on this particular corner - I don't recall any, yet it has been ridden by cyclists for as long as I can remember (which admittedly is probably not as long as you!) It is only recently that the issue has arisen with what I suspect is a rooky cop on the beat. In any case methinks you overstate the risk - as one who uses the stretch several times a day, both as a motorist and scooter rider, I seldom see the use you claim of the footpath.
So I welcome your observations, and others - don't worry about Big John - he is just a big softie really.
Speeding cyclists indeed - get off the grass!

August 21, 2014 | Registered CommenterBill Barclay

Ha good on you Bill
Hey look sorry about all the spelling mistakes in my first post put it down to age lack of glasses and a wife who was chasing me along at the time
Always good to talk to you and hear your point of view misguided as it sometimes is

Cheers

John

August 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

I side with you on this one Bill.
The corner in question is undeniably dangerous.
Walk along the footpath when a large vehicle like a logging truck with trailer goes by (going south) and see how safe you feel on the footpath, let alone riding on the edge of the road. You might recall, some long time ago, that a white rail was put on the south western end of this corner and was quickly removed when it was pointed out to authorities that the rail gave the illusion of the road being narrower than it actually is, and that this perception might lead to accidents. There have been several incidents with cars and trucks going south, driving to close to the edge of the road and getting a wheel in the drain, and then riding up onto the footpath. Upon enquiry with the roading authorities several years ago about the possibility of mitigating the danger, which was acknowledged by said authorities, the response was no chance as the only option is to widen the road and that would prove to be a huge expense.

August 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRussell

I agree that curve is way too narrow. When I cycled to work I would always leave the road at that point and use the footpath around the bend. I always stopped to let pedestrians pass if I came across one Heading north there is a slightly wider edge (a few cm) and I just sucked up some courage and rode it. Cyclists should be able to use the footpath for this small section as long as they give way to pedestrians.

August 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

I do exactly as Andrew does. And I should add that unlike most roads, riding on the edge of that one southbound is a particularly terrifying experience because the gutter is too deep to hop across if the need arises. Northbound there's a flat curb and enough grass on the other side to get clear of large vehicles.

I have to wonder if it would really cost millions to add a bike path on the sea side of that road. It would be a logical extension of the bike/walking path along the waterfront in town, and it could be a boardwalk over the seawall along the narrow part of the road. People with mobility scooters would probably prefer that to the (very uneven) footpath, too.

August 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Simple solution: get off the bike and push it over the short section of footpath.

August 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJMA

Big john sounds like he suffers from abused cop syndrome! Get over it John.

August 24, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterone who knows

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