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Coroner requests cycling safety push

Last updated 05:00 20/11/2013
Jane Bishop

GHOST BIKE: The white bike on Tamaki Drive is a visual reminder of the accident that killed cyclist Jane Bishop.

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A cyclist killed on Tamaki Drive in 2010 could have done more to keep herself safe, coroner Gordon Matenga says.

In a report released last week Mr Matenga also identified road design as a contributing factor in the tragedy which saw Jane Bishop, 27, killed while cycling in rush hour traffic on Tamaki Drive.

She was overtaking slow-moving traffic on the left when the driver of a parked car opened his door.

She braked and skidded but struck the edge of the door and fell under the back wheels of a truck.

The coroner found that the driver of the parked car had done everything he could to avoid an accident, including looking in his mirrors to check the way was clear.

The opening of the door was still a factor in the accident.

Mr Matenga found that in choosing to ride on the road rather than the cycle lanes provided Ms Bishop had contributed to the collision.

She was overtaking traffic which was either stationary or moving very slowly, on the left of those vehicles within the corridor between the line of traffic and parked cars.

She had other choices available to her which could have prevented the accident, the coroner says.

Mr Matenga found the road layout was "a factor but not a major factor".

"A pinch point was created by the narrowing of the usable lane at the commencement of the seaside parking space which corresponded with the end of the central raised concrete median."

Cycle Action spokeswoman Barbara Cuthbert maintains the major cause of the accident was the presence of a car park at that point.

"The primary factor continues to be for me that cars should not have been able to park there, and yes, there were other contributing factors as well."

Mr Matenga has also released a review titled "Cycling Safety in New Zealand" and recommended an expert panel, led by the NZ Transport Agency, be put together to make recommendations to central and local government on how to prevent further cycling deaths and improve safety.

"The thrust of the submissions from . . . Cycling Advocates Network was that a rethink of cycling safety in New Zealand was required, that attitudes both of motorists to cyclists and cyclists to motorists need to change."

The NZTA says it will convene an expert panel on cycle safety by the end of the year.

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- East And Bays Courier

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