A Dunedin cyclist smashed into by another cyclist on a shared
path last week says his accident was a reminder care still
needs to be taken in cycle lanes.
Shared paths were safer than mixing with traffic on the
roads, but some median lines separating cyclists and
pedestrians might not go amiss, Garth Christensen said.
The 69-year-old suffered a head injury when he was knocked
from his bike on the shared path at the corner of Portsmouth
Dr and the Andersons Bay inlet causeway about 5.35pm last
Thursday. Mr Christensen, who was wearing flashing lights and
high-vis gear, did not see the other cyclist coming until the
cyclist, who was travelling ''somewhat faster'' then he was,
was basically on top of him at the corner.
''My last recollection was a cyclist coming towards me ...
and the next was talking to somebody in the ambulance - I was
really sort of out of it - and finally someone putting a
bandage around me in hospital.''
The retired electrical engineer said he was a keen cyclist
who did not own a car and cycled everywhere. He bought his
Vauxhall home because it was close to a cycleway. From his
house, he saw more and more cyclists ''zooming along'' on the
shared path below.
He did not blame the cyclist who ran into him, but thought,
as more people were encouraged to cycle, it was a good time
to raise awareness about all users taking care on shared
Although he generally felt safer on cycleways than on roads,
he had only ever had two crashes, both on cycleways.
''I spend time every year in America and cycleways are
dangerous places for bicycles, believe me. ''He wondered if
speed limits and median lines might be good ideas for shared
paths in Dunedin.
Competitive cyclist Matt Dunstan said he thought median lines
would certainly help.
If he was alone or with one other cyclist, he preferred to
use shared paths because they were safer and smoother than
roads or cycle lanes on roads.
He was always conscious of other users, particularly
children, but sometimes found it hard to predict which way a
person or cyclist might move as he approached.
If everyone stuck to the left, as on the roads, it would be
easier, he said.
There seemed to be no good place for faster cyclists, he
''We get abused wherever we are,'' Mr Dunstan said.
Bigger groups would go on the road, but often cycle-lane
surfaces there were covered in gravel. Drivers, even once the
police, would signal for them to get on the shared paths.
''We don't really fit anywhere.''
The ideal would be separated two-directional lanes for
cyclists, but median lines on shared paths would help, he
The chairman of cycling advocacy group Spokes Dunedin, Robert
Thompson, also said in his experience shared paths worked
best with a centre line on them.
''You get to a point where there's enough people using them
[then] you have to make it work for everybody and say ... you
keep left and pass on the right, and that should work well
for everyone whether they are cyclists or pedestrians.''
It should be a matter of common sense, he said.
He noted the corner where Mr Christensen crashed was a
particular issue, because of the poor visibility.
Dunedin City Council senior traffic engineer Ron Minnema said
some paths were too narrow to paint a line down, while others
had long sightlines, which meant people could see what was
However, he had organised for a median line to be painted on
a blind corner of the Shore St shared path this week and
would investigate what sounded like a similar issue at the
Portobello Rd/Portsmouth Dr bend.
There were road-user rules for shared paths people had to
follow, but the idea was largely to ''share with care'', he
Rules for use of shared path
• A person using the path must use it in a careful and
considerate manner; and not create a hazard to other people
• Cyclists and riders of mobility scooters and skateboards,
or other wheeled devices, must not travel at a speed that
constitutes a hazard to other people using the path.
• If a sign or marking on the path gives priority to
pedestrians or cyclists, users must follow the signalled
• No user may unduly impede the passage of any other user,
whatever priority the sign or marking gives.
Source: Land Transport (road user) Rule 2004