Cyclist fatalities show need for better infrastructure and motorist behaviour

After two cyclists were killed yesterday, the national organisation for everyday cyclists is calling for urgent improvements in roading design and motorist behaviour.

Cycling Advocates' Network (CAN) chairperson Robert Ibell said that the deaths of two cyclists in the Wellington region show that central and local government are not moving fast enough to make roads safer for cycling.

A car door carelessly opened into the path of a 61 year old cyclist in Upper Hutt caused his death yesterday morning when he was thrown into the path of a car.

And a cyclist riding northbound from Wellington was killed last night on the Petone off-ramp.

"Neither of these tragic deaths should have happened," says Mr Ibell. "In the case of the Petone crash, continuing procrastination by Transit and buck-passing by several other authorities in the Wellington region have meant that the Ngauranga to Petone cycle track is still incomplete."

"Local cyclists have been asking for at least 14 years for something to be done on this route ."

"This is one of the region's busiest and most important cycling routes, yet cyclists have no choice but to share the road space with high speed motor vehicles." says Mr Ibell.

The death of the cyclist outside St Patrick's College in Upper Hutt shows the need for a publicity campaign.

"Urgent changes to driver licensing and driver education are needed to make drivers more aware of how to take care around cyclists", says Mr Ibell.

"How many fatalities will it take before something is finally done? We need action on cyclist safety now."


Ministry of Transport statistics show that on average, about 730 cyclists have been injured and 10 killed per year in recent years. Only 40% of accidents are caused directly by cyclists. There are about 1.3 million cyclists in New Zealand. About 1 in 1,000 cyclists are involved in crashes compared to about 3 in 1,000 car drivers. Car crashes more often cause serious injuries and fatalities and are a leading cause of injury-related costs within the health sector.
Release Date: 
Friday, 20 June, 2008