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ALEXIA.JOHNSTON

@alliedpress.co.nz

People cycling against their stopwatch on the river track between Clyde and Alexandra is an accident waiting to happen.

That is the fear of some track users, who have witnessed a series of close calls, often caused by cyclists travelling at speed.

Clyde resident Tommy Foggo, who frequently cycles the track, was among those who believed it should be kept for recreational purposes only, not racing.

“That’s the big issue – people trying to compete with their stopwatch,” he said.

“There’s a lot of families and so forth walking on the track. Sooner or later someone is going to get hurt.”

Mr Foggo, who uses the track regularly with his wife, Lee-Anne, calls himself a “conservative” cyclist.

There had been the odd occasion where they had had close calls with those who were more daring.

“We’ve had a few cases where we’ve had to slam on the brakes and stop.”

Sue Attwood, of Clyde, had also had her fair share of near-misses.

The most recent was at the Clyde end of the track.

“I had a guy coming towards me and I met him on a corner. He was going very fast. I almost came off my bike.”

It was one of about four incidents in the past 18 months, she said.

Caution urged . . . A series of near-misses on the river track between Clyde and Alexandra has some people worried. PHOTO: ALEXIA JOHNSTON

Ms Attwood also saw a near-miss a year ago after two cyclists, again going fast, nearly collided with a family of five, who were on bikes.

She believed some signs at each end of the track could help educate and raise awareness.

“You can’t ban any particular group on the track, but perhaps [there should be] some signage [to provide] a little bit of public education.”

She said groups, such as accommodation providers, could also provide people with guidelines on how to use the track.

“Maybe they can let people know it’s a recreational track designed for walkers, not a mountain bike track for people to go flying along on at a great rate of knots.”

Ms Attwood was particularly concerned for young children on the track and older people who used it to walk their dogs.

Central Otago District Council parks and recreation manager Gordon Bailey said there was no data to show if any near-misses had been reported to the council.

However, the council was prepared to put up signs to advise people that it was a shared facility.

He said people need to be prepared to meet other track users and keep to the left at all times.

ountain bikers should also follow the mountain bike code, which states people should “respect the track, respect others and respect the rules”.

Those rules “should be how they ride on any track”, Mr Bailey said.

Central Otago has various mountain bike tracks designed for people wanting more adventure or speed than the river track allowed.

For more information about where they are, see centralotagonz.com/cycling-trails.