Cycling advocate killed in collision with truck remembered for kindness, passion

Tim Hope, on the recumbent bike (bottom right), died in hospital on July 3, from injuries from an earlier crash with a truck. He's pictured in 2014 with, from left, Celia Hope, Kasha Latimer, and Kemble Pudney.
Mark Taylor/Stuff
Tim Hope, on the recumbent bike (bottom right), died in hospital on July 3, from injuries from an earlier crash with a truck. He's pictured in 2014 with, from left, Celia Hope, Kasha Latimer, and Kemble Pudney.

Tim Hope and his bike tended to stick in people's minds, if they saw him pedalling around Hamilton.

The cycling advocate cruised on a recumbent cycle - in a laid back position - with flag attached.

But he was seriously injured in a crash with a truck on Ruakura Road in late June, and died in hospital on July 3.

Hope is being remembered for the smiles he brought to people’s faces, and for being the kind of guy who’d stop to help fix a puncture.

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That's how Waikato cyclist Michael Havill met him: on the side of the road, when Hope stopped to help with a flat tyre and valve issues.

“He had all the tools on his bike, [I] found him a very friendly, nice guy," Havill said.

"I’ve seen him riding around the city for years and years - always brought a smile to my face, really.”

“He’s definitely recognised because he's on the road so often. I used to see him regularly, all over the place, with his flags on his bike – pretty distinctive bike.”

Havill has floated the idea of a memorial ride for Hope, further down the track, if his family likes the idea.

Back in 2008, Tim Hope took his bike for a spin around the Hamilton V8s track while it was open to the public.
Iain McGregor/Stuff
Back in 2008, Tim Hope took his bike for a spin around the Hamilton V8s track while it was open to the public.

When Hamilton man Dave Smart first arrived in Hamilton, Hope and his wife Celia invited him over to talk about their group, the Hamilton Bicycling Network.

They were super nice, he said.

“All they wanted to do was share their love of riding bikes.”

The Hopes launched the network in 2014 to promote cycling for transport and exercise and spoke to Stuff about their love for cycling at the time.

Tim was a retired Canadian engineer who had worked for General Motors and got into recreational cycling through a friend.

He'd done yearly bicycle tours, through areas including the USA, Europe, and Australia, and met Celia on the 7500km Tour du Canada cycle tour.

They married in 1998 and, a couple of years after moving to New Zealand, organised a 2400km cycle tour from Cape Reinga to Bluff.

Hope was seriously injured in a crash with a truck on Ruakura Road, near Innovation Park, on June 28 and died in hospital.
Google
Hope was seriously injured in a crash with a truck on Ruakura Road, near Innovation Park, on June 28 and died in hospital.

Speaking about Hope’s death, Hamilton City councillor Mark Bunting said it's not good enough for a Vision Zero city, which takes the approach that no loss of life on the roads is acceptable.

“It's particularly galling and horribly sad because - I don't know the circumstances of the accident, it's still under investigation – but we should have separated cycle lanes by now, and a safer cycling infrastructure.”

Bike Waikato's Richard Porter hadn't worked with Hope, but knew he was widely respected and had advocated at local and national level.

“Any cyclist losing their life is a blow to the community but, to cycling advocacy and progressing infrastructure for cyclists, it's a double blow,” he said.

Hope was passionate about making the streets safer, Cycling Action Network’s Patrick Morgan said.

“Everyone deserves safe streets, and we’ve let Tim down.

“Although we don't know the cause of this crash, so we can't speculate on that, we do know that we're not doing enough to protect people on bikes in New Zealand.”

Hope and Morgan had met a handful of times over the past decade.

“We depend on passionate people like Tim to make our world a better place, and we'll miss him,” he said.

Cycling deaths are relatively rare, Morgan said, but every one is one too many.

Ministry of Transport data shows eight of 2019's road deaths were cyclists, and six cyclists died between January 1, 2020 and July 2.

They also show the country has 2410 kilometres of cycleways.

Stuff