Cycle safety needs 'attitude change'

Cycle-crash widower begs drivers to be aware

TESSA JOHNSTONE AND FRANCESCA LEE
Last updated 15:00 15/11/2013
Wainoni Rd crash
David Hallett/ The Press

TRAGIC: Schoolchildren cycle past the scene of the fatal bicycle accident on the corner of Wainoni Rd and Breezes Rd where Joanne Marjorie Drummond died.

Colin Frank Alexander
Supplied
CYCLIST FATALITY: Colin Frank Alexander died on Hills Rd this July.

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A Christchurch widower says the only way cyclists will stop being killed on our roads is for drivers to pay them more attention.

Malcolm Drummond's comments came after a Coronial inquiry found all cycling deaths were preventable.

Coroner Gordon Matenga yesterday released a review titled Cycling Safety in New Zealand, which looks at a spate of 13 cycling deaths in 2010 and also takes into account the deaths of 94 cyclists since 1997.

It found all the cyclist deaths were preventable.

Matenga has called for the formation of an expert panel led by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA), to make recommendations to central and local government on how to prevent further cycling deaths and improve safety.

"The thrust of the submissions from . . . Cycling Advocates Network was that a rethink of cycling safety in New Zealand was required, that attitudes both of motorists to cyclists and cyclists to motorists need to change," Matenga said.

He stopped short of making recommendations specific to the incidents being reviewed, such as making it compulsory to wear high visibility clothing.

"The making of such recommendations would not, in fact, result in making the roads safer for all road users," Matenga said.

Drummond's wife Joanne Marjorie Drummond died after she was hit by a motorist turning left into Breezes Rd from Wainoni Rd.

She had been riding straight on Wainoni Rd on a green light, and it appeared the driver did not see her on the vehicle's left.

She and her bike ended up under the vehicle.

Drummond said making high-visibility clothing compulsory or having separate cycle lanes would not have helped in his wife's case.

The answer was simply in people being more aware.

"Everybody's wearing high-vis these days. Should we hang high-vis up at the intersections?

"Christchurch city council are spending $70 million to $80 million on cycleways, but our roads are just not wide enough," he said.

"My wife was on the cycle lane. She sticks right to the b.....y gutter.

"The cyclists and drivers must share the road and be more aware of each other and be more courteous."

Cycling Advocates' Network spokesman Patrick Morgan said a cycle safety panel was unlikely to produce the best result, and a wide-reaching public inquiry, similar to that conducted after Cave Creek disaster, would be a better solution. "Cycling is not a problem to be solved."

An inquiry into cycling should look at its benefits and how groups could work together to achieve them, Morgan said.

CYCLIST VICTIMS

Cyclists who have been struck by cars in Christchurch this year:

Joanne Marjorie Drummond, 54: Died after being struck by a car turning from Wainoni Rd into Breezes Rd on March 27.

Carl Peter Taylor, 31: Died in hospital from serious head injuries after being struck by an oncoming vehicle on Pages Rd on March 24. He may have crossed the centre line.

Colin Frank Alexander, 76: Died on Hills Rd on July 16. He may have swerved in front of a car going in the same direction.

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