The following article was published in the ‘Waikato Argus’, the forerunner to the Waikato Times, back in 1913.
Speaking at last nights meeting of the Hamilton borough council, the Mayor said he was almost ashamed of the number of people who were being prosecuted for riding bicycles on the footpath. He thought the time had come when they should lay down cycle tracks in Hamilton, and he would be glad if the works committee would report on the matter. He moved that they be instructed to do so. It seemed to him they might lay a track from Whitiora and over in Hamilton East, and along some of the other roads where there was a good deal of traffic. He was informed that in Ulster alone there were 150 bicycles.
Cr Tidd, in seconding, said he had brought the matter up a month ago.
Cr Speight was totally against the proposal. They needed footpaths in the outer districts, and these should be attended to first, unless they got a special rate from the cyclists.
Cr Tristram said his experience was that cyclists deserved no consideration whatsoever. No matter how good the roads were they would get on to the footpaths. If the roads were good enough for walking on they were good enough for cyclists. When he used to cycle they were not half as good.
The borough engineer said a cycle track six feet wide would cost from £5 to £6 per chain. Cr McKinnon said he was quite of Cr Tristram’s way of looking at it. If they formed cycle tracks, it would just be a favourite track for speed tests and that sort of thing, and they would have more trouble controlling the traffic than they do at present. He did not think they were called upon to spend any money in this way.
Both footpath and track would require to be kerbed. Cr Hayter said he would like to see cyclists getting a fair chance. They had none at present against vehicle drivers, who would not keep to their proper side.
The Mayor thought the cyclists were very ill-used. There were hundreds of them in Hamilton and nothing had been done for them during the last few years. Cycling was the poor mans method of getting around. Cr Tristram said there was no use remitting it to the works committee, as they had considered it and had no recommendation to make.
The Mayor altered his motion to appointing a special committee, consisting of himself and Crs Fow, Tidd and Hayter, with the engineer. Cr Howden seconded, and this was carried by five to three, Crs Tristram, McKinnon and Speight dissenting.
Cr Howden suggested that the committee should experiment with a track along Anglesea street to find out the cost, etc., and the Mayor said that could be considered.
I really wanted to make my next post about the Council denying oral submissions to the public and being the only council to do so, and since I’ve recieved a response to both my formal complaint and my OIA request surrounding the erosion of democracy in our ‘City of the Future’ I guarantee it will be. Stay tuned Tronites and other Kiwi’s interested in cycling, local democracy and the separated cycle path to a brighter future.
– Max Dillon Coyle