Prohibiting skateboards and scooters on footpaths in town centres and giving Police more tools to deal with boy racers are some of the changes being proposed by Waikato District Council.
Council is currently consulting on its Traffic Bylaw and Public Places Bylaw. Traffic provisions were previously included in the Public Places Bylaw however the decision was made to create a separate Traffic Bylaw.
“We felt it would make it easier for the community to understand the rules around traffic in the district if we had a separate bylaw,” says Service Delivery General Manager, Roger MacCulloch.
The purpose of these two bylaws is to protect the public from nuisance as well as to protect, promote and maintain public health and safety. This includes managing activities in public places and on or near roads, regulating trading and signage in public places, setting restrictions for road usage, parking, boat launching and the use of wheeled recreational devices, such as skateboards and scooters.
- Preventing horse riding on footpaths in urban areas
- Prohibiting wheeled devices such as skateboards, scooters and roller blades on the footpaths in town centres
- Expanding rules to make sure all signage is placed in safe positions and locations
- Removing some clauses about moving stock as these are covered by our Keeping of Animals Bylaw.
“By prohibiting the use of wheeled devices such as skateboards, scooters and roller blades on footpaths, we believe it will help maintain the safety of people using footpaths within town centres and deter nuisance behaviour. This would not apply to wheelchairs, pushchairs or mobility scooters.
“We also wanted to have consistent rules around riding horses on footpaths in towns, for the same reason.”
The areas where Council plans to prohibit skateboards and horses is detailed in the proposed bylaw.
One of the key items in the proposed Traffic Bylaw is a Light Motor Vehicle Prohibitions clause. This means that, if required, Council could restrict vehicles weighing less than 3500 kg from using certain roads between 9pm- 4am, unless drivers can prove they have legitimate business.
“We want to be able to place restrictions on streets where frequent street racing activities are causing disruption and damage,” says MacCulloch. “Not only does this cause disturbance for residents and the public, it also costs ratepayers a significant amount to repair and clean up the damage they leave behind. This clause would give Police more powers to issue infringements and move people on if they are gathering on roads or creating problems and nuisance to residents.”
Other Councils throughout New Zealand, including Waipa District Council and Hamilton City Council, have similar provisions in their bylaws.
Problem streets would be identified over time, then added to the Bylaw schedule through a Council resolution, and signage would be put in place on streets to let people know of the restrictions. The restrictions would not apply to legitimate road users, such as people who own property or live there, their visitors or those who are on the road with legitimate reason, such as a maintenance service, taxi or Uber.
The Traffic Bylaw also includes rules around damage to roads and damage to district signs.
Council encourages people to provide feedback on the proposed bylaws, says MacCulloch.
“We want to know what people think. Do you agree with what we have proposed? Let us know your views.”
More information can be found at shape.waikatodistrict.govt.nz. Hard copies are also available in our Council offices and libraries. Submissions close at 5pm on 27 March 2023 and can be made online at shape.waikatodistrict.govt.nz or by filling in the form at Council locations.