This is a call to the cycling community to help us call to heel a ‘small minority’ of people cycling who are causing grief on our beautiful new Bayswater walking and cycling bridge.
The bridge replaced a hopelessly narrow structure know as the ‘pipe bridge’, which was widely used by local cyclists, dog walkers, scooter riders, young mothers walking children to school etc. We all had to queue up to wait for people on the bridge to pass over in single file.
Now the pinchpoint of the bridge has been replaced by a generously wide bridge and downhill approach path, we’re hearing that many more cyclists are using it (great!), and that the behaviour of a few is threatening local pedestrians.
We have been told of cyclists riding 3 abreast and others who are riding too fast and using abusive language to pedestrians they regard to be ‘in their way’.
We are told that local teenagers know about the local culture of path courtesy, and are model citizens. Apparently the inconsiderate behaviour comes from people in their 30s-40s, who claim the route is a cycleway, they have right of way and are entitled to abuse local pedestrians.
These stories are hugely frustrating. Many elderly people walk the route as their daily constitutional, revelling in the sun and wide harbour views, meeting and greeting other walkers. Some use a walking stick and others are recovering from hip or knee surgery. Young mums and dads now accompany their kids to school, with younger children in push chairs. The last thing these people deserve is to be intimidated and scared away from using the route.
Last year we began working with locals, Auckland Council and AT on a programme called ‘Same Path’ as there was apprehension that the wider dimensions of the bridge and downhill approach path could cause a few problems. It looks like we’ll have to escalate the programme and the interventions.
If you know anyone who rides this route and may be contributing to the problem, please talk to them about courtesy on shared paths. Let them know the consequences of their actions, and that they’re letting the rest of us down.