Please, cyclists, ring your bells!
DELTA Park is a wondrous oasis for joggers, nature lovers and families out for a leisurely stroll, picnickers, romping dogs and cyclists.
Footpaths can be uneven in sections, rutted with broken rocks and roots of trees – as thick as a man’s forearm – that threaten to trip up the unwary; there are precious wetlands with tranquil dams and colourful bird life and fowls.
Not even large tracts of waisthigh untidy weeds, grasses and blackjacks left after haphazard grass-cutting can spoil the parkland which stretches from Blairgowrie and Craighall Park, past the lower end of Parkhurst to Victory Park.
And on Sundays, groups of worshippers, each in their church uniform, bring their own distinctive life to this community within a community.
But for myself and other elderly folk not always as steady on our feet as in years gone by, there is one very real potential danger: The cyclists who get their high by whizzing along at a speed that would outpace the Gautrain.
You are concentrating on gingerly negotiating the uneven footpaths when you hear this sound of tyres on sand behind you – and there are cyclists going hell for leather almost on you with no warning.
You are forced to step aside on to the uneven grassy verges. On one occasion, I had to do a quick sidestep/leap to get out of the way and stepped into a grass-covered hole, sprained an ankle and ended up on my back.
I have asked these speedsters why they don’t use bells – as we did in our day – or even whistles to alert walkers, joggers and families that they are zooming up behind them. The disdainful answer is usually the same: This does not fit the sporty image of a racing bike.
The thrust of this letter is to appeal to cyclists using our parks to consider those on foot, regardless of age, and put their heads together to come up with a way to alert us that they are on our tails.
Over the years, Blairgowrie has seen young families excitingly rejuvenate the suburb. For many of these, a jaunt to the park is a healthy weekend outing that costs nothing. Some of the families have children learning to ride their first bike, while dad laughingly hoists another youngie on his shoulders and mom pushes a pram.
Please, cyclists, don’t spoil the adventure for these people. Don’t wait until you hit an oldie and land them in hospital.
You have every right to enjoy your hobby, all I ask is for you to please remember you are not on a racetrack and that other residents are there to enjoy themselves in safety.
Consider those on foot in our parks, regardless of age