Making it compulsory for cyclists to wear high visibility gear would be unlikely to prevent cyclists dying on our roads, a police officer has told a coroner's inquest.
Coroner Gordon Matenga is today holding an inquest into the death of Jane Bishop at the Auckland District Court.
Bishop, 27, died in November 2010 while cycling on Auckland's Tamaki Dr.
She collided with Glenn Becker and the open door of his parked car on the left-hand side of the road.
Bishop fell beneath the wheels of a truck, and died at the scene from her injuries.
Coroner Matenga today asked Senior Constable Brian Henson, who investigated Bishop's death, if he thought it should be compulsory for cyclists to wear high visibility outfits.
Henson, who has over 30 years experience investigating road crashes, said the main factor behind accidents was motorists failing to see cyclists.
But he said given the amount of people who ignored the compulsory use of a helmet, he didn't think forcing people to wear high visibility gear was the answer.
Henson said cyclists are often at least partly responsible for the dangerous situations they find themselves in.
"I see a lot of cyclists do a lot of stupid things in traffic, going through red lights, going through stop signs, weaving in and out of traffic while traffic's still moving," Henson said.
"Although it is often a car driver or car that bears the brunt of the crash in terms of responsibility, a lot of the time cyclists haven't helped themselves by their manner of driving. I think that's possibly what car drivers get upset about.
"They think 'here's someone asking for a crash' - they're still governed by the same rules as a car but a lot seem to disregard them."
Henson said more cycle lanes would only work if they were laid out in a way cyclists would want to use them - the cycle lane along Tamaki Dr was only appropriate for casual cyclists, not anyone who wanted to travel at speed.
He said the layout of Tamaki Dr, although known as a danger spot for cyclists, was not a major factor in the crash that killed Bishop.
Henson said a bend in the road reduced visibility, but the danger of small spaces for cyclists to ride past parked cars in the "door zone" was a common factor in roads nationwide.
"I don't think it was particular to this actual stretch of road."
Matenga said it seemed as though Bishop had seen Becker's door open suddenly in front of her, and swung out into the road to avoid a collision.
Henson said Becker had told police Bishop had hit him on his right thigh and shoulder as the crash occurred.
Becker was accused of careless use of a motor vehicle causing Bishop's death, but the charge was thrown out mid-trial in February this year.
Judge Phil Gittos ruled Becker had taken reasonable care when getting out of the car and could not be accused of carelessness.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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