Motorbike riders risk tragedy on shared pathways

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Motorbike riders risk tragedy on shared pathways

A former Taranaki family wants locals to avoid their personal tragedy and keep motorbikes off New Plymouth District Council walkways and out of parks. 

There have been 14 complaints of motorbikes on public walkways in the last six months across the District, which comes with a stark warning from Greg and Stacey Woollaston.

A little more than two years ago their son lost his life when he was hit by a motorcycle on a Manawatū shared pathway designed for walkers and cyclists.

“Because we grew up in Taranaki and we still have family living there, we’re saddened to hear from them about the number of motorbike riders who use the pathway between New Plymouth and Bell Block,” Stacey wrote in an email to NPDC.  “If a person gets hit, they will never come off well. Learn from our experience.”

NPDC Parks Manager Stuart Robertson says the situation has been getting worse, so the Police have now been asked to patrol public walkways and parks.

“Complaints have come in from across the district, especially the Coastal Walkway, Te Henui, Waitara and Pukekura Park.

“Ninety-nine percent of people do what’s right – they share with care and look out for others. But a small number just do what they want and if you do see a motorbike where it shouldn’t be, please call the police,” says Stuart.

Fast facts:

  • NPDC looks after 1,600 hectares of park and reserve land including Pukekura Park.
  • There are 82km of shared pathways in the district, including the 13.2km Coastal Walkway.
  • Electric bikes and scooters are allowed on shared pathways but only authorised motor vehicles, such as emergency services, are permitted.