North Beach resident takes pop at ‘lycra lunatics’ using Mettams Pool shared path

Wheelchair user Graham Edwards is concerned about cyclists speeding down shared paths at Mettams Pool.
Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Wheelchair user Graham Edwards is concerned about cyclists speeding down shared paths at Mettams Pool. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

NORTH Beach resident Graham Edwards says it is a matter of time before “lycra lunatics” cause a crash on the Mettams Pool shared path.

The former Returned Services League state president and Labor politician said that as a wheelchair user he was accustomed to near-misses on the path every day.

“It is just a bad smash waiting to happen. There are so many children, people with disabilities and aged people who use the path too because there is an access ramp here,” he said.

“The issue isn’t the number of bikes but it is the speed at which some of them go.

“There are constant near-misses and if you say anything to them, you just get a mouth full of abuse.”

MORE: Police seek witnesses to Mettams Pool drowning

Mr Edwards said he had contacted the City of Stirling twice about the issue.

“It’s simply about buck passing; the police are saying that it’s not their issue to monitor cyclist speeds, the City is saying they need speed limits enforced,” he said.

“All of this buck-passing is getting us nowhere and it is going to result in someone being seriously injured – someone needs to stand up and take some responsibility here.”

Stirling engineering design manager Paul Giamov said the City was aware of the significant number of fast cyclists using the path along the coast.

“The studies undertaken of the recreational shared path at Mettams Pool have identified that it is an area with the greatest pedestrian activity along and crossing the shared path,” he said.

Mr Giamov said about 30 per cent of weekday cyclists entered the area faster than 30 km/h.

“Not only were the 85th percentile entry speeds between 32km/h and 34km/h, but the exit speeds (indicative of the transit speeds) were around 30km/h,” he said.

“Weekend speeds were up to 5km/h lower but still well above safe levels.”

Trigg resident Karen Simmonds said she had broken two ribs when a cyclist hit her at great speed on the same path near Trigg.

“It was about half past six; the sun was just going down and I was on the left side. I turned to head back and the cyclist smashed straight into me and sent me flying up against the pillars between the sand dunes,” she said.

“He stopped but was in a hurry and I think if I recall I was apologising to him for getting in his way. After he rode off it really dawned on me what had happened and I became very annoyed. I was in agony and went to a doctor that night and I had fractured ribs, hence the pain.”

Ms Simmonds said the path was usually “rammed” with people.

“It is a real problem – there are kids, prams, people walk there with dogs and it is only a matter of time before some younger person gets cleaned up,” she said.

“There is friction between cars and cyclists because if they go on the road they are getting hit by cars.”

Mr Giamov said there were risks in diverting less experienced cyclists on to West Coast Drive.

“Discussions are currently taking place with the State Government, which is trialling a form of speed control device which may possibly provide the best solution for controlling path speeds,” he said.

“The City wrote to the Commissioner for Main Roads providing details of the volume and speed of cyclists and advocating for the establishment of a formal regulatory speed signage for speeds above the ‘safe’ design speed of 20km/h.

“This request was declined.”

Main Roads WA spokesman Dean Roberts said applying a speed limit did not address the key issue of too many cyclists and pedestrians trying to share the path.

“A concept plan has been developed by the Department of Transport in consultation with the Cities of Joondalup and Stirling to address the conflict issues,” he said.

“The Department of Transport have developed a new design that involves a series of waves to slow cyclists on the path and this will be trialled in the coming months before being refined and finalised.”