Killed cyclist likely to be a tourist

TRAGEDY: The bicycle lies crushed under the wheels of a truck.
1 of 3Joseph Johnson
TRAGEDY: The bicycle lies crushed under the wheels of a truck.
BUSY INTERSECTION: The crash was outside a busy Burger King and petrol station.
2 of 3Joseph Johnson
BUSY INTERSECTION: The crash was outside a busy Burger King and petrol station.
INVESTIGATION: Police at the scene where a truck and trailer unit hit a bike.
3 of 3Joseph Johnson
INVESTIGATION: Police at the scene where a truck and trailer unit hit a bike.

A cyclist killed instantly when he was hit by a truck appears to be a tourist.

The man, who is in his mid 30s, is yet to be named.

He was of east Asian descent and carried a tent in his luggage. Pannier bags were attached to his bicycle, suggesting he was a tourist, police said. He was travelling alone.

Motorists at a busy petrol station forecourt watched in horror as a large truck and trailer unit ran over a cyclist at the intersection of Carmen and Waterloo roads near Hornby about 12.30pm yesterday.

The truck, operated by freight company PBT Transport, and the cyclist were both heading south along Carmen Rd prior to the crash, police said.

The truck stopped at a red light. It collided with the cyclist, who was headed straight across the intersection, as it turned left into Waterloo Rd after the light went green.

Senior Sergeant Ash Tabb said it was too early to say who was at fault.

Rod Dunn, 49, was immediately behind the truck when it stopped at a red light on Carmen Rd and indicated to turn left on to Waterloo Rd.

It was not until the light went green and the truck made the turn that Dunn saw the cyclist. By then it was too late, he said.

"It was horrific. I just keep getting the shakes thinking about it."

He blocked the intersection with his van and urged people to call an ambulance.

PBT Transport branch manager Neil Alexander said it was a "tragic accident" and the company was working with police. The driver had been offered support, Alexander said.

Arna O'Donnell was leaving Burger King with her son when the crash happened. "We just heard brakes and screeching and a sort of a crumbling sound," she said.

People used items of clothing to cover the man before emergency services arrived.

It is the second fatal cycle crash in Christchurch this year.

Nursing student Sharla Haerewa, 22, died after truck driver John William Herridge, 75, turned into her path in Lincoln Rd early on April 2.

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is also investigating yesterday's crash. The latest NZTA figures show there have been 83 crashes involving cyclists in Christchurch this year, including the two fatalities and 21 serious injuries.

University of Canterbury transport professor Simon Kingham said the accident rate for cyclists was likely to rise as cyclist numbers increased, but roads would become safer for bikes once there was a critical mass.

"In cities with lower cycling rates, it is more dangerous than cities with more bikes," he said.

"Cycling figures went up in the last census in Christchurch. With more people cycling the accident rate stays the same, so the numbers go up until you get more cyclists, and then it gets safer."

A cycling safety report published by the NZTA last week called for separate cycle lanes on heavy trucking routes. It recommended "complete, connected urban cycling networks" and "separation of high volume freight traffic and cyclists".

Christchurch City Council transport committee chairman Cr Phil Clearwater said popular routes would be prioritised for new planned cycle lanes. The council wanted the new cycle lanes built as soon as possible, he said.

The Press