Cycling Advocates Network (CAN) and BikeNZ have issued advice for drivers and cyclists following a fatal crash in Dunedin this morning.

Although the details of the crash have not yet been released, CAN spokesperson Patrick Morgan has reiterated advice to all road users about proven ways to reduce the chances of a crash.

Advice for drivers:
* Look twice for cyclists, especially those coming from the left hand side.
* Give cyclists plenty of space. Allow 1.5 metres between you and the cyclist.
* For truck and bus drivers: get the best mirror system you can to enable you to watch for cyclists on the left-hand side.

Advice for cyclists:
* Never cycle on the left-hand side of a truck, bus or car at an intersection, unless you're in a separate lane.
* Avoid blind spots. Take up a visible position at intersections: well out in front and not by the left-hand kerb or close to a truck or bus.
* Wear bright, visible clothing. Use lights at night or in poor weather.

Erika Buky from cycling advocacy group Spokes Dunedin says the crash showed that more needs to be done to improve road safety.

"We all have a responsibility to use the roads safely, whether you are on a bike or behind the wheel."

Spokes Dunedin has previously alerted Dunedin City Council and NZTA to the hazards faced by cyclists, especially on arterial routes through the central city.

"We've seen improvements, and we know that local officials understand and share our concerns, but road marking and narrow cycle lanes aren't enough to protect cyclists from collisions with heavy vehicles on these routes. We need more investment in infrastructure as well as better education and awareness among road users.

"We have a small but supportive cycling community here. Everybody who cycles regularly in Dunedin rides in that vicinity or knows people who do.

"We're shocked by this news and extend our deepest sympathy to the victim's family."

Mr Morgan says CAN is running road safety workshops for cyclists, bus and truck drivers, but these have not yet been confirmed for Dunedin.

"Drivers and cyclist switch seats at the workshops. The aim is to give participants a better understanding of the issues that drivers and cyclists face."

Contact: Patrick Morgan, CAN, 027 563 4733

Release Date: 
Monday, 14 November, 2011
November 14, 2011 Anonymous (not verified)


Two recent incidents where cyclists were knocked from their bikes by heavy trucks highlight Dunedin's issues with heavy vehicle traffic and the need to explore a wider range of prevention measures, cycling advocates say.

Such measures could include making safety guards on trucks mandatory.

Spokes Dunedin spokeswoman Erika Buky said she was saddened to hear yesterday that a second cyclist in as many weeks was in a collision with a truck in Dunedin.

Witness account: 'I knew he had been incredibly lucky'

A man (45) was knocked off his bike in Strathallan St about 8.40am by a truck and trailer unit turning into the street from a driveway, police said.

He fell away from the truck, receiving only minor injuries, but the bike was dragged under the front wheels of the truck for at least 10m.

Last week, a 54-year-old man was killed when his bike was dragged under a truck on State Highway 1 near Anzac Ave.

Ms Buky said the amount of heavy vehicle traffic, particularly logging and stock trucks, using Dunedin's central city routes was unusual compared with other cities.

While the benefits of cycling still outweighed the statistical risks, the two recent crashes showed the city had to seriously think about preventive measures like separated or buffered bike lanes on busy routes; regulatory changes like lower speed limits; changes to vehicles, such as equipping heavy trucks with safety guards (also called under-run protection) and better mirrors; more rigorous enforcement of speed and traffic laws and more safety education for all road users.

"The city's planned strategic cycling network could make cycling safer and easier for all these people; but according to the current schedule, it won't be complete until 2030 at the earliest. The events of the past few days tell us that's too long to wait."

She also wanted trucking companies to look at what they could do to lower the inherent risk of trucks to cyclists and pedestrians.

Dunedin City Council infrastructure services committee chairman Andrew Noone said he was sure the council's plans to improve the cycle network were probably too long term to satisfy all road users, particularly cyclists, but it was a matter of improving the infrastructure to the highest standard possible with the money available.

"We are getting a little bit done each year, and when there is a hot spot, we will target it, but I don't know if there is any easy fix here."

Road Transport Forum chief executive Ken Shirley said the inherent conflict of road users competing for space on roads was a global issue.

Cyclists were vulnerable when it came to any collision with a truck, even one at low speed, because of the mass of the heavy vehicle. Reducing speed limits therefore made no sense safety-wise, and certainly none economically.

Putting under-run protectors on the side of trucks had been tested and was not practical, he said.

The only sensible approach was to give cyclists their own space on the road, well separated from other traffic.

He said the industry was serious about road safety and trucking companies did take part in courses specifically educating truck drivers about sharing the road with cyclists.

Cycling Advocates Network (Can) spokesman Patrick Morgan confirmed such courses were available, although none had been held in Dunedin yet.

A Can analysis of 65 fatalities involving cyclists on New Zealand roads between January 2006 and June 2011 showed 6% of them involved a truck or bus, he said.

Although crash circumstances varied, it was common for a cyclist to be caught on the left-hand side of a truck (possibly turning left) and be swept underneath the truck wheels, which was why Can had been calling for under-run protectors to be made mandatory for more than a decade.

It was compulsory in Europe, but was recently rejected by regulators in Canada.

Ways to reduce cycling deaths are also being investigated in an inquiry initiated by the chief coroner late last year.

Waikato coroner Gordon Matenga is holding inquest hearings in six regions to hear evidence on 13 cycling deaths in 2010 and 2011.

So they got the stats slightly wrong: 6% of all INJURY crashes with cyclists involve a heavy vehicle (truck/bus) but 29% of all fatal cycle crashes investigated since 2006 involve them. Hence the cause for concern...

Sharing the Road

Cycling is great fun and an excellent way to get around. Here are a few simple tips to stay safe when sharing the road.

Be Seen - Wear high visibility or brightly coloured clothing and use lights.

Be Aware - Watch for car doors opening, potholes, rubbish, grates, and pedestrians. Always check for left turning vehicles.

Be Predictable - Make eye contact with other road users. Maintain a straight line and don't pass on the left hand side.

Be Confident - Use hand signals and a bell. Ride at least one metre from parked cars. Use the cycle or traffic lane.

Be Safe - Follow the road rules and choose the safest route.

Be Patient - Slow down near parked or lined up vehicles. Pass slowly and only when safe.

Be Prepared - Wear an approved helmet and check your bike regularly. Brakes, tyres, chain, lights, reflectors.

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