In summer our sleepy little coastal community fills up with kids and adults on bikes, folks on quad and trail bikes, people riding and leading horses, and yet others out for a walk. We all relax at the beach which can lead to unsafe driving, riding and walking practices.
The Waikawa Beach Ratepayers Association has repeatedly tried to get the speed limit reduced to 30 Kph in the village, but with no success. We have a concern about keeping everyone safe, but there’s a lot of potential for accidents.
So we bring you here a few reminders drawn from the Road Code. This guidance also applies when driving on the beach, which is classed as a road.
When you are entering or leaving a driveway that crosses a footpath, you must give way to people using the footpath.
When leaving a driveway you must give way to vehicles using the road.
Please show courtesy when sharing the road with horse traffic. Horses can take fright easily, so adjust your driving as soon as you see horses on the road ahead of you.
Safe driving near horses
- Slow down and pass carefully, giving the horse and rider plenty of room.
- Don’t sound your horn, rev your engine or pass at speed, as this could frighten the horse.
- If the horse and rider are on a bridge or narrow road, be very careful – slow down or stop.
- If the horse appears frightened, stop.
- At night, dip your headlights when approaching a horse.
- Two vehicles should avoid passing near a horse.
Be careful around horse traffic. If you aren’t, you could be charged with careless or dangerous driving.
As a horse rider, it’s important that you follow the road rules shown below. They will help ensure your safety when you are riding on the road.
Safety rules for horse riders
- Always wear a safety hat while riding. Otherwise, a fall from your horse could result in a head injury.
- Ride your horse on the left-hand side of the road and as far to the left as possible.
- Keep your horse on the side of the road whenever you can, but don’t ride on footpaths, lawns or gardens.
- Don’t ride more than two abreast.
- Don’t ride on the right of any moving vehicle.
- If you’re leading another animal while riding, always keep it on your left, away from the traffic.
- If you’re riding a horse or leading animals at night, wear reflective clothing and carry a torch.
Cyclists can be quite vulnerable on the road as they are less visible and less well protected than other road users.
For these reasons, be alert for cyclists on the road and drive carefully when near them.
Safe driving around cyclists
- Hazards like parked cars, potholes, glass, litter, strong wind and opening car doors may cause cyclists to veer off-line and move into your path. Because of this, give cyclists plenty of room when passing them. Ideally, allow at least 1.5 metres between you and the cyclist.
- Wait for a clear space before passing a cyclist on a narrow road.
- At intersections, apply the same rules to cyclists that you would to any other vehicle on the road. Take care to indicate turns.
- Take extra care around young cyclists.
As a cyclist, it is important that you follow the road rules and guidelines. They will increase your safety when you are cycling on the road.
Safety rules for cyclists
- Cyclists must wear an approved safety helmet. Always fasten it securely, by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- It’s a good idea to wear brightly coloured or reflective clothing when cycling. That way you’ll be easier to see.
- Always ride in single file if passing another vehicle.
- Your cycle must not be towed by another vehicle.
- If you are carrying a child, the pillion seat must protect the child’s legs from the wheels.
- You must ride with lights on between sunset and sunrise, and at any other time when you can’t clearly see a person or vehicle 100 metres away.
- You must keep your cycle in good working condition.