Auckland's brutal if you're on a bike

MARIKA HILL
Last updated 05:00 29/12/2013

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Auckland is the most dangerous place in New Zealand to ride a bike, according to new research.

The data comes from one of the largest surveys of Kiwi cyclists, involving 2500 competitors in the 2006 Lake Taupo Cycling Challenge and tracking their hospital admissions and ACC injury claims over subsequent years.

The study shows Auckland cyclists were involved in 538 crashes, of which 63 per cent were on public roads.

There was one death in a collision involving a car.

This compared with 791 crashes in other regions, of which about half were on public roads.

The study found Auckland cyclists tended to take greater risks by cycling in packs, in the dark and on the city streets rather than off-road.

Combined with the risk that comes with greater traffic congestion, Auckland cyclists were 47 per cent more likely to have an accident compared with cyclists in other regions, the University of Auckland study found.

"Auckland was definitely the most dangerous place," Auckland University epidemiology professor Alistair Woodward said.

"It's such a crowded, congested, busy place and it's getting busier all the time. Cyclists and motorists are often put in very difficult situations.

"In places like Wellington and Rotorua, you have such wonderful off-road facilities. In Auckland . . . people are more likely to ride on the road."

Woodward said Auckland cyclists were more likely to ride in packs on public roads, which is associated with more risk-taking.

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- Sunday Star Times

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