The happy users guide to a busy trail


The greater use of Tamahere’s ever expanding pathways during lockdown has given us a taste of how busy they will be once the Te Awa River Ride is completed.

Already 300,000 people a year use the incomplete trail, which stretches 70km from Ngaruawahia to Karapiro. Each week nearly 2300 people use the Avantidrome to Cambridge section.

Tamahere can expect to see several thousand users streaming along the paths and through the village in coming months.

Greater use inevitably leads to tensions between users whether they be pedestrians – single, pairs, groups with or without dogs, cyclists – singly or in groups, and other users such as mobility scooter users and horse riders.

Time perhaps to remind ourselves of shared pathway courtesy, our rights and responsibilities.

The top four rules, according to the Te Awa River Ride website, are:

  • Pedestrians have the right of way
  • Stay on the path at all times
  • Keep dogs on leash at all times
  • Please collect all your rubbish

The NZ Code for Cycling, produced by NZTA/Waka Kotahi to complement the Road Code, is a user-friendly guide to New Zealand’s traffic law focusing on the right thing to do when riding a bike.

It’s advice to cyclists on shared paths is to “use slower speeds and give way to slower users. Pass other people with at least a metre gap to avoid startling them. Let pedestrians know you are approaching by politely calling out or ringing a bell well in advance, especially if they have not seen you. Where possible, ride on the left and pass on your right.”

For those new to cycling or resurrecting skills not used in decades the cycling code has much advice on ways to bike safely both on roads and paths. It can be downloaded below.

Other courtesies for all users include staying aware of your surroundings and other users ahead of and behind you – keep left, don’t hog the path – and, as required by law, clean up dog and horse poop.

People whose properties adjoin the path can help maintain the community asset by smoothing the pathway by not leaving rubbish bags and recycling bins on the path and parking cars on it.

Tamahere can expect to see thousands of people on the Te Awa River Ride.

It had been expected the full length of the path through Tamahere would have been completed this year but the recent covid-19 lockdown has dealt that timetable a blow.

For one, the SH21/Airport Rd underpass has been delayed by the nationwide lockdown and the continued Level 4 one in Auckland even while Waikato has moved to Level 3 and tomorrow Level 2.

Spokesman for constructors Downer, Matt Kofoed said the return to work had been slower than the company would have liked.

“This is due to the fact that a number of our crews for the current stage of work are based in Auckland.  We are working through a number of different options regarding this, and we will either need to wait until Auckland drops down to Alert Level 3 (potentially next week) or source alternative crews from the local region.”

The delay meant work on the project would now continue into 2022, he said.

Time then, before the trail gets even busier, for all of us to practice our thoughtfulness and courtesy.

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