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Do you know guidelines for the shared path?


23 may, 2022


thumbnail 10 MF-Sharedpath copy-200One year ago nearly to the day, the first plod of earth was turned in 2021 for Mangawhai’s ambitious shared path and roundabout projects, bringing with it the rumbling of excavation machinery, teams of hi-vis workers, a sea of orange cones, inevitable traffic congestion as well as a bit of awe and intrigue for the multidimensional and complex venture.

The Mangawahi Village intersections have been open for business since the begining of the year now and generally appear to be operating smoothly, while the spacious two-metre shared path gets a fair amount of foot and wheel traffic, from baby-buggy pushing parents, scooter-zooming children, walkers, runners and cyclists, wheelchair users and mobility-scootering seniors.

According to New Zealand’s transport agency, Waka Kotahi NZTA, a shared path is defined as being an ‘off-road… widened footpath… physically separated from the roadway’, and whether under the control of Waka Kotahi or Kaipara District Council (KDC), are intended ‘for users of all kinds’, from pedestrians, cyclists and mobility scooters to wheeled recreational devices including pushbikes, scooters and Segways.

With such a variety of users, the shared path could potentially become hazourdous to navigate on busy days, therefore Waka Kotahi have laid out certain guidelines to help lessen the risk of collisions, accidents or ‘path rage’.

While riding a shared path, people on wheels are advised to decrease speed, give way to slower users and, to avoid startling others, either ‘call out politely’ or ring a bike bell, and pass with a minimum gap of a metre and where possible, ride on the left and pass on your right.

To help accommodate the many different users, shared paths often have signage showing ‘directional separation’ or ‘segregation of modes’ (i.e. cyclists vs walkers) via painted arrows, centrelines or behavioural messages on the pavement, while others are left for users to ‘sort themselves out’. Currently, Mangawhai’s shared paths fit this latter criteria however the KDC spokesperson says this will soon change.

“As part of the work on the new shared path under construction at the moment, we are planning some key behavioural messages around how to use a shared path,” says the spokesperson. “If you’re using wheels on a shared path, you must not operate at a speed which constitutes a hazard to other persons using the path, https://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2004/0427/latest/DLM2510854.htmlplease slow down and pass with care, it’s important to be courteous and look out for others.”


Mangawhai Village shared path will be especially busy during the hectic summer. Guidelines are needed so all that use it are safe. PHOTO/JULIA WADE

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