Sharing paths for everyone’s enjoyment

28 Feb 23 | By pp-admin

When Meg McFarlane was accidentally hit by a cyclist in Spring of 2022 and suffered a broken shoulder, she decided she wanted to spearhead a campaign to improve paths around Canberra to ensure they are safe and enjoyable to use for everyone.

Meg was a keen cyclist for years until health issues meant she could no longer ride. She has since taken up Nordic walking and has been enjoying the sport as a new way to exercise in nature.

“As a former bike rider, I understand the needs of cyclists, but as a walker I now have a new insight too” says Meg. She has partnered with the leader of her walking group, Kristen Pratt and together they are reaching out to other path users to see how we can work together to improve everyone’s experience.

“We surveyed our members in February 2023” says Kristen Pratt, founder of Capital Nordic Walking. “165 walkers responded to the survey and 90 per cent of these mentioned they were concerned for their safety when sharing paths with bikes, e-scooters and other non-pedestrian transport”.
The survey also showed that half of respondents had been deterred from walking on Canberra paths and trails and that 60 per cent of them had been involved in accidents and/or near misses.

“Given the data, it is no surprise that 70 per cent of survey respondents support the introduction of separated paths for walkers and non-pedestrian transport” Says Kristen.

Pedal Power is actively involved in advocating for better bike paths, well maintained and connected. This also means obtaining a path network that can accommodate all its users safely, allowing for different speeds and modes of movement.

Melissa was the cyclist who collided with Meg. She was devastated about the incident and has been working with Meg to make sure positive action comes from this terrible event.

“Meg and I have both been on a journey through this.” Says Melissa “Neither of us wants to see anyone else experience the trauma associated with these types of accidents. I don’t want to give up mountain biking but equally, I don’t want to see more people injured through lack of appropriate infrastructure and education.

“Meg and I stand together in advocating for a safe experience for everyone.”