Opportunities for cycling accidents not rare
The court case to prosecute the motorist involved in Jane Bishop's tragic death under a truck on Tamaki Drive in November 2010, ended yesterday. Jane was killed at a notorious pinchpoint on a tight bend on the road, crushed under the wheels of a passing truck. The truck was in peak hour evening traffic, travelling at about 5kmh. I have the greatest sympathy for the many people affected by her death, including the truck driver, the motorist, their families, Jane Bishop's family, friends, as well as the investigating police and authorities.
While, thankfully, such grave consequences are rare, the "opportunity" for such tragedies are not. They are currently an everyday probability. I am a huge advocate for cycling, and not because I like wearing lycra. Cycling has many social, health, mental, environmental and economic benefits - and it's great fun. In promoting cycling as one of my favourite pastimes and as an alternative to using my car for transport, I find myself in turmoil, as I know there are dangers in taking to our roads.
There will always be "accidents" but this was a crash that should not have occurred. Jane usually rode on the shared path beside the road, but the Court was told that the path beside the crash site is very narrow and was full of pedestrians at the time of the crash. The pinchpoint where Jane was killed is created by roadside car parking on the on the headland by Kelly Tarltons. These parking spaces were known to be extremely hazardous by Auckland City Council because they were highlighted in a report commissioned by the Council from Cycle Action Auckland in 2006. The report asked for urgent action to remove the car parks. The Council ignored this advice - and took no action.
Auckland Transport removed a few of the pinchpoint car parks two days after the fatal crash. More parking spaces need to be removed for the safety of cyclists riding this headland section of Tamaki Drive. The Police Officer reporting to the court yesterday on Jane's death commented: "The pinchpoint lane was 3.6m wide at the point of the crash. The situation was "pretty dangerous" but was not unique. To me, it would appear to a large extent that they have moved the situation 20m down the road."
Twenty metres down the Road the same tragedy awaits - today, this morning, right now!!
And this is not an isolated "pinchpoint". There are many more throughout the City - they are black spots for cyclists. Some have already been identified by Cycle Action Auckland and await a tragedy like this to occur again.
If you know of any, do us all a favour by letting Auckland Transport know about them - today. If you let Cycle Action know as well, they will stay on AT's case.
Without this collective action and rapid responses from Auckland Transport, another life will be sacrificed - maybe 20m away.