Driver could face charges after cyclist death

CAROLINE KING
Last updated 11:25 20/11/2012

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A motorist who opened the door of a parked car moments before a cyclist was run over by a stock truck and killed in Dunedin could face charges.

Police are investigating the incident, which occurred in Cumberland St, about 10am yesterday.

The name of the cyclist, who is from Asia, will be released after next of kin are notified.

Allister Davies, president of the Canterbury-Westland branch of the New Zealand Law Society, said the motorist could be charged with careless use of a motor vehicle, as the onus was on them to ensure the vehicle was used "as a prudent motorist would use it".

But it depended on the circumstances, he said.

Senior Sergeant Steve Aitken said it was too early to say if charges would be laid.

He said police had spoken to the driver of the parked car, the truck driver and witnesses to establish what had happened.

"It appears the cyclist had to divert from his cycle lane. Whether that's because he's been hit by the door or he's swerved to avoid it, we can't say. Certainly the possibility that a car opening a door is being closely looked at.

"We're still speaking to witnesses. There's a number of people that need to be spoken to today," Aitken said.

He said the car and truck had been seized to undergo forensic tests.

The man's death has been referred to the coroner.

Tulloch Transport Mataura general manger Roy Agnew said unlimited support had been offered to their driver.

The truck driver was later stopped by police and spoken to at Evansdale, north of Dunedin, following the incident.

A cycling advocacy group, Spokes Dunedin, has called for "buffered lanes" to improve safety for cyclists after a Canadian study found bike lanes alongside parked vehicles, as in Cumberland St, were seven times riskier than fully separated lanes.

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- The Press

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