Government must move faster to avoid more cyclists dying under trucks
News release from Cycling Action Network
The Government is not moving fast enough to protect New Zealanders say advocates, following a third fatal crash involving a truck and a cyclist in a month.
Five of the last 7 cyclist fatalities involved a truck.
'It's been two and half years since the Cycling Safety Panel recommended 15 high priority actions to make our roads safer,' says Patrick Morgan, spokesman for Cycling Action Network (CAN). 'Action has been too slow. It is clear how to make our roads safer, so why are we waiting? How many more people will die?'
The Cycling Safety Panel recommended, among other things:
- Investigate the costs and benefits of introducing mandatory truck side-under-run protection and other vehicle safety features (such as better mirrors, sensors and cameras).
- Design intersections so they are safe for cyclists. Trial European design guidelines for roundabouts and other innovative treatments.
- Increase and incentivise training for commercial drivers about driving safely near cyclists.
- Raise cyclist awareness of the risks of riding near heavy vehicles.
'After more than two years, nothing has come out of the recommendation to investigate truck safety features,' says Mr Morgan.
'There are proven features that should be adopted as a requirement on trucks. Specifically, more effective mirrors, sensors, cameras and side under-run protection. Intersection design and a lack of road shoulders are factors in some fatalities – known black spots – and should be addressed as a priority by Councils.' CAN runs a Share the Road programme, which educates truck drivers and cyclists to be more aware of each other and adopt safer behaviours. Share the Road is funded by NZTA and shows positive results. It has engaged with around 3,500 people over the past 5 years. However the programme reaches only a small proportion of truck drivers.
'We are only ever going to touch a small percentage of drivers until we are involved in the national driver training qualification system,' says Mr Morgan. The recent deaths occurred near Tekapo on 15 March, in Hamilton on 5 April, and at Pakowhai in Hawkes Bay on 6 April.
'We are all mourning these unnecessary deaths.'
CAN – Cycling Action Network
Mobile phone 027 563 4733