Love the Loop but keep to the rules for shared path
Everyone loves our Hatea Loop/huarahi o te Whai. While the Loop is wide enough to accommodate most types of unpowered pedestrian transport, trouble starts when the rules for passing, turning and giving way aren’t followed.
Whanga¯rei isn’t unique in having a shared-use path; you’ll find these multi-use paths throughout the world in some of the busiest metropolitan areas. While all of these paths vary in length, type and features, they do have one thing in common — the need for consideration towards all users. Here are some golden rules to loop by:
1. Dog walkers
Nobody likes to step in dog poo. While most dog owners are considerate and pick up after their dogs, there seems to be a growing number who don’t. I have also seen dogs not on their leashes. This is not only against bylaw regulations, but it also causes all kinds of trouble for fellow Loop users. Dogs crossing paths with bike riders, dogs running up to people, scaring children, intimidating other dogs, chasing birds — the list goes on. If you’d like to exercise your dog off-leash in Whanga¯rei city, then the Hatea Dog Park is the place to go. Keep them leashed and under control on the Loop, watch the length of the leash and please be considerate of those who may not be so keen on dogs.
2. Keep left
No matter whether your favourite direction is clockwise or anti-clockwise, always stay to the left of the path, regardless of your mode of transport.
The first rule? Ring your bell. Obviously, when riding bicycles on a shared path, you’re generally moving much faster than the pedestrians around you. A good general rule of thumb for anyone cycling on a shared path, is to be aware of more vulnerable users. What does this mean in practice? When coming up behind a walker or jogger (or a group of walkers or joggers) slow down, ring your bell, call out ‘bike behind you, passing on your right’ and pass carefully to the right. If you’re cycling in the evening, make sure you’re visible; wear reflective clothing and have a bike light. Remember: many walkers, joggers, dog walkers and kids are wearing headphones, so they may not hear you or your bell. Take care, be considerate, and give pedestrians a wide berth at all times. 4. Walking or biking with kids The Loop is often packed with families enjoying a day out and it’s fantastic to see this resource being so well used. When taking your kids cycling around the Loop, please remind them of the golden rules: give way to pedestrians, watch your speed, ring your bell and always be considerate of others. When walking with kids, just keep an eye on them; while the path is generally very safe, there is always a risk to small children around water. Add cyclists, dogs and joggers to the mix and you’ve got potential for some serious incidents.
Common sense is always the best way to go, so take the time to speak with your kids before you set out, give them some Loop guidelines and you’ll all have a much more relaxing walk/run/ bike/scooter/roller blade ride.
Whanga¯ rei: Love the Loop!
Don’t leave dog poop on the Loop. And keep your dog on a leash, like this responsible dog owner.