Cyclist 'could have done nothing to prevent death'

BY JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN
Last updated 05:00 07/04/2010

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A Christchurch cyclist who died after being hit by a car could have done nothing to prevent the accident, her family says.

Cathryn May Carr's life support was turned off at Christchurch Hospital on Monday after the 51-year-old was critically injured when a car hit her from behind on the Old West Coast Rd on Saturday.

Her death was Canterbury's only fatality over Easter weekend and pushed the national Easter road toll to 10 – the highest in 16 years.

Carr's partner, Miles Watson, who was taking part in a cycle race when Carr was hit, said she was out training for a cycle ride the pair had planned to do this month.

"She enjoyed cycling but enjoyed keeping fit more," he said. "As a postie, cycling was part of her job and she was well experienced with the hazards."

Carr was cycling on a straight stretch of road on a fine day, Watson said.

"There is nothing in my mind she could have done differently that would have prevented the accident," he said.

"We are struggling to make sense of it. There was no reason for the collision to occur."

Watson said the open road was more dangerous for cyclists because they came off "second best" in an accident.

"It's definitely a double-edged sword. There are inconsiderate cyclists and inconsiderate drivers," he said.

Canterbury should have more billboards promoting the share-the-road message, he said. Further south, the billboards were "everywhere".

He said Carr was a caring, sporty person with a wide circle of friends and a large family. She had four children, and her first grandchild was born three weeks ago.

Christchurch cyclist Martin Wilkinson, who was hit by a truck from behind in Ellesmere Rd while biking with a friend last month, said he had cycled around the world and New Zealand drivers were the worst he had encountered.

"They are not looking for you, not expecting you to be there and don't appreciate the speed you can make on a bike."

Wilkinson, who has no memory of his crash, said he would be off work for at least a month recovering from a broken collarbone, concussion, bruising and swelling.

Canterbury road policing manager Inspector Al Stewart said Carr was the first cyclist killed in Canterbury this year.

"All indications are from this incident that the cyclist involved was doing everything right," he said. "It is an indication that no matter how careful road users are and what precautions they take, you are vulnerable to other road users at any time."

Two cyclists were killed on Canterbury roads last year.

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- The Press

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