"We would like to express our deepest sympathy and support for the families of the three cyclists who were struck by cars this weekend, two of them fatally,” says Cycling Advocates´ Network (CAN) spokesperson Stephen McKernon. “Cyclists nationwide will be shocked to learn of these deaths.” “Two of these cyclists were struck from behind in Taupo, during the week of a local campaign to educate motorists about sharing the road safely with cyclists. Another was struck from behind in Matamata,” says Mr. McKernon. "Both crashes occurred during what was otherwise a very successful Nationwide Bike Wise Week. We cannot imagine how distressed the motorists concerned must feel. It is a great tragedy that a few seconds of inattention by motorists can lead to two cyclists deaths." According to SPARC’s research from 2001, over 22% of New Zealanders cycle regularly – that’s more than one in five people. “The number of cyclists on the road has also increased rapidly in recent years,” says Mr. McKernon. "The problem is that motorists can forget roads are for everybody. Most motorists understand this and are treating cyclists with respect, as about a third of motorists are also cyclists. We can only hope that motorists and cyclists nationwide appreciate the tragedy and are reminded to share the road in safety.” The New Zealand Road Code reminds motorists that many vehicles are smaller and slower than today’s cars. It calls for special care around cyclists, who will always come off worse in a crash, and instructs motorists to leave a minimum gap of 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists, and more on the open road. It also emphasises that if a cyclist can’t be overtaken safely, the motorist must wait behind until it is safe to do so, just as with any other slower vehicle. ENDS For more information about Bike Wise Week, see For more information about the Taupo advertising campaign see

Release Date: 
Saturday, 3 March, 2007