Warning for Peninsula drivers

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Share the road . . . Otago Peninsula Community Board chairman Paul Pope (left) and Senior Constable Aaron Smith are encouraging road-users to be tolerant and patient as more cyclists, runners and walkers take to roads as the weather gets warmer. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON

Otago Peninsula road-users are being encouraged to “take a big, deep breath” and look out for each other, as more cyclists, runners and walkers start to share the road.

As the weather warms up and people become more active, Senior Constable Aaron Smith and Otago Peninsula Community Board chairman Paul Pope want people to be patient and tolerant on the road.

“It’s really noticeable,” Mr Pope said.

“As soon as we start heading towards October, the weather starts to get better, the days start to get a bit longer, the mornings are lighter .. we just really notice the number of people out and about.”

Mr Pope said it was important cyclists, runners and walkers dressed appropriately – in helmets and high visibility clothing when necessary – and were aware of the conditions, especially as work progressed on the Peninsula Connection project, which involves widening Portobello and Harington Point Rds.

Motorist behaviour towards cyclists had improved in the past few years, he said.

“It’s all about being tolerant and respecting each other’s space.

Accidents between cyclists and motorists were “quite uncommon” and being prepared was the key to avoiding them.

“I don’t want to have to hear the siren call out from the fire brigade again.”

The last serious accident was in February 2017, when a Canadian cruise ship passenger received a serious head injury after being knocked off his bicycle by a camper van.

Spokes Dunedin chairman Jon Dean said he had not heard of any serious accidents in “quite some time”.

The area was “well-used” by cyclists and, once the peninsula connection was completed, the shared path for cyclists and pedestrians would be “remarkable”.

Snr Const Smith said there had been an increase in walkers, runners and cyclists on peninsula roads in the past few weeks, which would likely keep increasing when the first cruise ship, Majestic Princess, arrived on October 1.

Motorists needed to give themselves an extra 10-15 minutes when travelling.

“It’s a joint responsibility to keep everyone safe.”

Restraints, impairment, distraction and speed were four contributing factors in accidents, he said.

“Keep yourself safe.”