Walkers, cyclists to respect each other’s rights

It’s uncomfortable, but also good for the soul, to realise there are two sides to a story. Now and again I shoot my mouth off about cyclists who give me the fright of my life coming up silently behind me on the Keyser River path. Most recently I asked what had happened to the agreement that cyclists must have a bell or timeously warn pedestrians?

Well, as you probably read, a cyclist turned the tables in a letter to the Bulletin asking what about the behaviour of pedestrians walking dogs? And what about the municipal by-laws saying that dogs must be on a leash?
He quoted the council’s reply to him that yes dogs did have to be on leads on the tarred section of the Keyser River path between Beatrice Close and Westridge Circle. Signs to that effect were coming….

Now I admit to wearing two hats. As a dog walker this is bad news. We regularly use the cycle path to walk our black Lab Mitch to the Lower Tokai Park. Putting him on a lead will mean he can’t bound into the tall grass or jump into the river to cool off. He’ll hate that.

However, as a rather nervous biker I can relate to the cycling correspondent that on that path he has been “chased and attacked by dogs and almost knocked into by dogs running out of control”.

Before I went cycling in September with my sister Morag and two friends in Wales, I had not been on any bike since 2014 when we rode for five days along the towpath of England’s Grand Union Canal. That was when I fell into the water on day one.
Determined not to make an ass of myself in Wales, I set myself the target of riding most evenings around the quiet parts of Tokai where I would be unlikely to meet much traffic and hopefully no dogs. After a few mild encounters riding down the cycle path at “dog walking time”, I gave that route a reluctant miss.

Pedestrians and cyclists need to respect each other’s rights to use the path without fear of being bitten by a dog, or hit by a biker. There will be harmony when walkers keep their dogs on a lead and cyclists finally use bells, whistles or coughs, to make their presence known.

Pay watch subs

Had the latest newsletter of the Tokai Neighbourhood Crime Watch (TNCW) arrived on my desk last Tuesday, I would have cringed with embarrassment. I’d have been one of the 66 percent of TNCW members, referred to in chairman Ian Basset’s letter, guilty of not paying their subs this year. But thanks to a timely reminder by Clive Hoard, membership administrator, I belatedly coughed up on Monday the R150 for 2016 and R200 in advance for 2017.

Alas, it’s all too easy to overlook the TNCW’s annual subs.

They don’t send out threatening lawyers’ letters, cut off your TV, or the water supply. It’s to their disadvantage that the services they provide – such as their valuable patrols, camera installation, clean up of roads etc – continue whether or not we residents have paid.

The oldest bird

The recent reference to seeing flamingos in the Black River and on Bergvliet Farm’s vlei caused Christine Templeton to write telling me that the collective noun for these birds is flamboyance. “What a perfect description for this beautiful bird viewed in flight.”

Flamingos come in two sizes and varying colours. The Greater, which is the flamingo we see around Cape Town, has the ballerina pink plumage which is paler than the more electric cotton candy pink of the Lesser, which is seldom seen here. It is the more numerous of the two – about two million strong – but is nevertheless classified as “near threatened” due to its declining population and low number of breeding sites. Some of these have been adversely affected by human activity.
One of very few breeding grounds in the world for this flamingo is Kamfers Dam in Kimberley.

A surprising thing about these birds with their long delicate legs, is that they live a long time. They reach about 60 years in the wild although the oldest recorded bird in Adelaide’s zoo, was at least 83 years of age, as it was an adult when it arrived.

Share water tips

The City council tells us we are not saving enough water. If you have one bright water-saving tip, please email it to me so I can share it with others. Suggesting less water in the evening dop, does not count…

Duck bill

A woman was distraught when the vet pronounced her pet duck was dead. She demanded that he prove it. So he brought in his Labrador which, to her amazement, sniffed her duck from end to end then sadly shook its head.
The vet then carried in his cat to inspect the duck and it let out a mournful meow.

The vet handed the woman her bill. “I’m sorry you didn’t take my word that it was a dead duck as my account would have been only R200. However, with the Lab Report and CAT scan it’s R2 000.”

fionachisholm@iafrica.com