Richard Stallard (â€œKeeping left is the way to goâ€, POST letters, 15/5) is right about the expression of opinion in the POSTâ€™s letters section, which provides an avenue to air and answer comments in order that all the community will benefit.
But he is reciting fantasy when he argues for pedestrians to stay left on shared paths. My experience as a walker, and that of others who venture on to shared paths, is that cyclists are intimidating, and, from comments I have received from cyclists (including a director at the Town of Cambridge), it is clear that pedestrians are considered a nuisance because they are erratic.
While the brains behind the WA Cycling Committee may have their ideas about walkers keeping left, the practical reality shows this will always be a risk for walkers when cyclists are riding their â€œTour de Franceâ€ models on shared paths.
There are many road rules that do not work in practice â€“ vehicles giving way to pedestrians when turning at intersections, motorcycles lane splitting at traffic lights, vehicles turning right at traffic lights and, when it comes to any footpath, it is important for pedestrians to take every precaution for their own safety.
Walking on the right means that the walker is more likely to see the oncoming cyclist. If the cyclist has his head down and his pulse up, there is an opportunity to step aside and avoid danger before an accident occurs.
It is too late after the event for the cyclist to say â€œsorry, I did not see you in timeâ€.
In many places, cyclists have become irresponsible and neglectful of the traffic code. They are becoming a hazard to themselves as much as to others.
Unfortunately, local government cannot enforce the rules for walkers or cyclists â€“ it is confined to cleaning up graffiti and fining parkers.
I am asked to spend ratepayersâ€™ money to build more shared paths. I want to be sure they will be safe for all to use.
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