Proposal to keep cyclists from using main road

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Signs encouraging cyclists to use back routes are being proposed as a way to prevent cycle accidents on SH1.

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is in consultation with the Waitaki District Council to possibly remove the cycle lanes from SH1 in the North End and encourage people to use an alternative back-route.

NZTA Otago-Southland highways manager Ian Duncan said these proposals were as a result of the narrow width of the road.

They were also planning on signposting existing routes on adjacent streets which schools were already encouraging their students to use.

“Cycle safety is a priority for the Transport Agency and we are aware of the concerns regarding the cycle lanes in North Oamaru,” he said.

“We are hoping to confirm this proposal soon.”

Waitaki District Council roading manager Michael Voss said the NZTA’s proposal for the cycle lanes was part of the upgrade on the pedestrian crossing at the North End where there were numerous road safety concerns.

“A lot of vehicles parked out there are too wide and the space is too narrow,” he said.

There were already two cycle ways being used – one starting from Orwell St and ending on Redcastle Rd and the other starting at Waitaki Ave and ending on Humber St.

“We want to promote cycling,” Mr Voss said.

The signs were hoped to be in place before June, he said.

Oamaru Police sergeant Blair Wilkinson said the times of heavy traffic in the morning and afternoon were the same times that more cyclists were on the road so it was important to be focused on cycle safety.

“Police would be supportive of any initiative that was going to increase cycle safety,” he said.

“We would encourage people to use the cycle area away from the main highway.”

Oamaru resident and keen cyclist Tracy Ferguson said she often came across car doors open or trucks parked in the area that covered the cycle lane.

“People don’t think to look for cyclists when opening their doors.The only reason I look behind is because I’m a cyclist.”

She has taken to riding in the traffic because she is worried she will get hit by a car door or have to swerve quickly into traffic, which would be much more dangerous.

“As a cyclist, we are not wanting to anger motorists,” she said.

NZTA’s proposed plan for the North End pedestrian crossing includes installing traffic lights and a signalised pedestrian crossing.

By RUBY HARFIELD