Victor P Taffa
Local café proprietor Judy Priedigkeit is concerned at the lack of bicycle racks within the CBD of Cooma. Visitors and residents are tripping over bicycles that are strewn over the footpaths because of the lack of adequate bike racks. At any time of the day particularly when ‘school is out’ passage to Judy’s busy café is blocked by bicycles left lying around because there is nowhere to place them safely.
“Bikes are left resting against the tree and garbage bin outside my café and people are tripping over them. I have been in business for more than 3 years and the problem is getting worse and worse. I wrote to the council in November 2008 and did not receive a response.” Judy said.
More often than not there are 10-12 bikes on the footpath outside Judy’s café at any one time and on a Sunday in Centennial Park there is up to 200 bikes without storage facilities. It is quite obvious that cyclists from Bombala, Thredbo and Jindabyne and surrounds come and enjoy all that Cooma has to offer and yet Cooma-Monaro Shire council dismiss the obvious needs of the district by not providing for bicycle racks.
“The park used to have racks but they were removed and I don’t know why.” Judy said. What compounds this issue is the street improvement programme that the council will undertake for the CBD of Cooma. Upon inspection of the plans put forward by the council there is not one reference to the installation of bicycle racks.
When people cannot work on the footpaths in safety and with confidence that they will not trip on a bike it is apparent that this matter becomes an occupational health and safety issue particularly as the Cooma-Monaro Shire council has a ‘duty of care’ to anyone that walks on their footpaths. The council owns the footpath and as such is duty bound to ensure that preventative measures are taken to avoid injury to someone walking along their footpaths.
The cost of installing a few bike racks is small change compared to compensation claim against the council. The council have the authority and ability to provide bike racks and in doing so will send out the message that cyclists are welcome in Cooma. With the CBD street improvement consultation process underway now is the time to act for the good of beautiful Cooma.