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Speaking at the latest Otago Peninsula Community Board meeting, board chairman Paul Pope talked about the peninsula’s shared pathway in response to a story in The Star on November 4.
University of Otago students conducted research into walkers’ and cyclists’ behaviour on the pathway and discovered there was ‘‘significant conflict’’ between the two groups, exacerbated by the Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions.
They researched literature on national and international shared pathways, interviewed nine walkers and cyclists and read Otago Daily Times letters to the editor.
‘‘You can’t statistically find something significant in a sample size of nine,’’ Mr Pope said.
During last year’s lockdown, it was common to see 40 to 50 people ‘‘peacefully co-existing’’ on the pathway section between Portobello to Broad Bay, he said.
This year, police checkpoints were set up on the pathway in Macandrew Bay, Vauxhall and Portobello because ‘‘people were breaking the rules around lockdown’’.
The conflict was not about users, it was between locals and people who were travelling from as far afield as Mosgiel and Green Island to use the pathway.
‘‘Plus we were inundated also with sightseers in vehicles.’’
There needed to be signs indicating shared pathway etiquette at the start of the pathway, Mr Pope said.
Dunedin city councillor Andrew Whiley suggested signs could be installed at Bayfield Park as many people started their journey there.
The Dunedin City Council would launch a campaign this summer promoting safe use of the city’s shared pathways.
That would include installing decals on the city’s networks which encouraged people to be considerate, keep their dogs close, keep left, listen out for other users and be heard.
The campaign would also be promoted on social media.
The council was also looking at guidance from the NZ Transport Agency.