Driving on beaches dangerous and irresponsible
Police and Council are concerned people driving on the beach irresponsibly are putting the safety of other beach users at risk.
Driving is prohibited on beaches near residential areas (see map below), with an exception only for vehicles launching or retrieving a boat from the water at designated places.
However, there have been ongoing comments from the community that cars, motorbikes, quad bikes and scooters continue to be driven recklessly on beaches where vehicles are not allowed.
"It’s not acceptable that people drive at speed down beaches endangering others,” says Kapiti Police Sergeant Jacquie Muir.
"If people see vehicles being driven on the beach in an irresponsible way and have a cell phone we suggest they take a photo of the vehicle’s licence plate and if possible the driver – as long as doing this does not put them at risk. People could also take note of licence plates and the time and date of the incident then report to matter to Police. Police and Council will work together to prosecute these offenders."
Council’s Environmental Standards Manager Nick Fowler says despite signage being put up to stop vehicles driving irresponsibly on beaches, the behaviour is continuing.
“There a few people larking around in cars on the beach at the expense of other beach users,” he says.
“They need to stop and think about what they’re doing and how their reckless behaviour could harm someone. This sort of behaviour can also damage dunes which protect houses on the beachfront from coastal erosion. A lot of effort is put into retaining dunes and the plantings on them, so it’s appalling to see this work being jeopardised by a few thoughtless hoons.”
Rules for driving vehicles on beaches
Two wheeled road or off-road motorbikes are not permitted to drive on any part of the beach.
Vehicles are only permitted to access beaches where driving is prohibited to launch or retrieve a craft from the water provided they move by the shortest practical route, as well as for emergency purposes.
Any vehicle brought onto the beach must:
• access the beach via an authorised beach access
• be parked in such a way to avoid blocking access for other beach users
• be driven in a safe and careful manner at no more than 20 km/hr
• not be repeatedly driven back and forth over the same stretch of wet sand causing potential damage to shellfish beds
• not be driven onto dune areas as they are fragile and contain breeding birds and erosion control plants.
Vehicles may drive along the beach only in the following areas:
• the foreshore between the Official Beach Access Point at Olliver Grove, North Waikanae to the Official Beach Access Point at the southern end of Rodney avenue, Te Horo
• the formed shingle track through the reserve area adjacent to the foreshore between the northern bank of the Mangaone Stream, Te Horo Beach to the southern bank of the Ōtaki River mouth
• the formed shingle track adjacent to the foreshore between the northern bank of the Ōtaki River mouth to the Official Beach Access Point opposite 100 Marine Parade, Ōtaki Beach
• the foreshore between the Official Beach Access Point opposite 8 Marine Parade, Ōtaki Beach to the northern limit of the District (note: the Waitohu Reserve area is outside the limits of the foreshore and is off limits to all vehicles)