27 June, 2022
Following on from a recent story regarding the safety of users on a popular scenic walkway (Mangawhai Focus, May 23), signage has now been erected as a reminder for walkers, runners and particularly cyclists to be courteous and mind others.
Highlighted by local hiker and regular user of the Back Bay boardwalk, Peter Farrell, who reported a number of incidences of close calls with speedy cyclists along the popular track, the story sparked conversation on social media and within the community regarding behaviour and rules of the boardwalk.
Built, owned and maintained by dedicated volunteers, Mangawhai Tracks Charitable Trust (aka the Trackies) chair Gordon Hosking had been monitoring the situation and recently discussed the idea of signage with Kaipara District Council (KDC).
“We feel all users of the boardwalk should be considerate of others but in particular cyclists should ride slowly and respect walkers, particularly along the Back Bay walkway to the north of the boardwalk,” he says. “The signs, provided by council, are at each end of the boardwalk and one along the walkway as it enters the kanuka bush. Hopefully they will do the trick.”
Asking cyclists to dismount while on the boardwalk was also considered however Hosking says as the track is 500 metres long he says ‘it’s a bit unreasonable’.
“We may need bigger more aggressive signs directed specifically at cyclists but we will see how it goes.”
Respectful behaviour is strongly advised while cycling on a shared path by New Zealand’s transport agency, Waka Kotahi, including allowing sufficient space while passing others ‘with patience and care’, and when approaching from behind or from places of poor visibility, pushbike riders should warn pedestrians by either calling out or ringing a bike bell.
Due to the ongoing work around Mangawhai Central, rendering the regular footpath closed to pedestrians has increased the use of the boardwalk, a KDC spokesperson says, which possibly will change once the access opens again.
“Users can only be encouraged to act courteously and take responsibility for their behaviour,” the spokesperson says. “The signs have been up for nearly two weeks and so far we have not had any feedback or reports of further incidences. However, if there are people who have further concerns about how the boardwalk is being used, it could be good for them to discuss with the Trackies.”
Travellers of the scenic pathway, the Back Bay boardwalk, which winds through wild mangroves and over estuary waters, are being asked to show courtesy to others while using the track, for the safety and enjoyment of all. PHOTO/JULIA WADE