Black spot crashes cost $10.5m

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 13:00 07/11/2012

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The total social cost of crashes at Nelson's 10 worst intersections was $10.5 million in four years to 2009, a city council report shows.

The city's worst intersections include some on Waimea Rd where it intersects with Beatson and Market roads, Hampden St and where Waimea Rd connects with Main Rd Stoke and Annesbrook Dr. Improvements have been done on a few of these intersections since 2009, the council said today.

Social cost was a good barometer of the cost to society but should not be looked at in isolation, Nelson City Council transport and road safety co-ordinator Marg Parfitt said.

The actual number of crashes provided a clearer picture of trends, she said.

The New Zealand Transport Agency crash analysis report showed that in the year 2007-08 there were four serious crashes at Nelson intersections and one fatal crash. In 2008-09 there were 10 serious crashes, in 2009-10 there were seven serious crashes, in 2010-11 two serious collisions and one fatal crash and in 2011-12 there were seven serious crashes at Nelson intersections.

The council's 2012 transport activity management plan said around half of all crashes on Nelson roads were at intersections, with 26 per cent a result of drivers failing to give way or stop.

Crashes due to a crossing or turning movement were the second most common crash type in Nelson city, the transport report said.

Nelson drivers appeared worse than those in comparable cities around New Zealand, according to police statistics processed by the NZTA.

The city council has set a three-year performance target to lower the crash rate to levels below those in its "peer group" of Invercargill, Napier, Palmerston North and Papakura in South Auckland.

The activity management plan also said Nelson cyclists continued to be over-represented in casualty statistics, compared with those in similar cities. The NZTA's "risk register" shows cyclists in Nelson city have a "medium to high individual risk" of fatal or serious injury when ranked next to other locations.

Figures show that each year from 1997 to 2009 the percentage of cyclist casualties was around double that compared with those in Nelson's peer group.

The NZTA crash analysis report showed there were two serious cycling crash injuries in Nelson in 2007-08, six the following year, one in 2009-10, two the year after and seven in the year to 2012.

The percentage of pedestrian casualties in Nelson was also higher than in its peer group cities. NZTA figures show there were two pedestrians seriously injured and one killed in Nelson city in 2007-08, six seriously injured the year after, four injured in 2009-10, six the following year and one serious injury and one fatality in 2011-12.

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Mrs Parfitt said there were several factors that resulted in the higher cycle crash rate, including that there were more people who cycled here than in similar sized cities, according to the 2006 census and the Land Transport New Zealand travel survey.

Mrs Parfitt said it was speculation but another reason for the higher figure was because Nelson was proactive in reporting cycle crashes, because of the work done to encourage people to report them.

"Our police here consider road safety and cycling as a priority," Mrs Parfitt said.

The council has a list of projects and plans designed to address the problem. It is also under way with a significant project to improve walkways and cycleways in and around the city as a part of the Walk/Cycle/Schools package designed to encourage an increase in peak-hour walking and cycling.

NELSON'S WORST INTERSECTIONS

Nelson city has 15 intersections with high crash rates, according to 2002-09 road safety reports: Maitai Valley Rd/Nile St. Main Rd Stoke/Waimea Rd/Annesbrook Dr. SH6/Muritai St. Halifax St/Haven Rd. SH6/Hay St. Waimea Rd/Hampden St. Motueka St/Tipahi St. The Ridgeway/Waimea Rd. Tasman St/Grove St. Rutherford St/north Examiner St. Halifax St/Rutherford St. Haven Rd/Vanguard St. St Vincent St/Toi Toi St. Waimea Rd/Market Rd. Waimea Rd/Beatson Rd.

- The Nelson Mail

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