Confronting death

Lance Wiggs

Today I arrived very early on the scene of a cycle versus truck fatality in Auckland today (read the Herald's account here).

The sight of a person lying motionless in the street with mangled bicycle in the background is chilling enough.

The sounds of grief-stricken people comforting each other, the shock on the face of the woman in the car stuck in full view of the scene, the general feeling of despair – these things are not easy to portray. All of us were changed today.

For the family and friends of the deceased – utter devastation.

For the witnesses who saw the event happen, that event will replay for years.

For the police, ambulance and other emergency staff – another brutally tough day. I don’t know how they cope.

What can we do?
Today’s accident was, like all accidents, preventable.

Like all accidents the root and contributing causes of the accident will be varied and troublesome, but are also able to be eliminated.

However like all cycle accidents in NZ they likely won’t be, and we should all be very angry and upset about this.

Click to zoom

Most of the causes of this and other accidents are fairly obvious, and have been observed time and again by cycling and safety advocates. They come down to one core goal, to seek to limit human-vehicle interactions:

  • That means physically separating trucks and cars from cyclists, and cyclists from pedestrians, through a system of bike and pedestrian paths that criss-cross cities and form commuter routes. This increases bike use, boosts the retail economy and reduces motorised traffic, reducing associated infrastructure costs as well.
     
  • It means investing serious dollars into this human-scale infrastructure, and rather happily this also creates a lot more jobs per dollar than truck-scale infrastructure.
     
  • It means putting in place short term solutions immediately, such as smart use of painted lanes to widen cycle lanes, removing lanes of car traffic from Parnell Rise, removing car parks from Tamaki Drive (where a person was injured today) and laws which increase the incentive to give cyclists their space.
     
  • It means accelerating and building from the liveable city changes that have already happened in Auckland, removing car parks in favour of wide boulevard footpaths, bike lanes and multi-use zones. If it works for New York’s economy and people, it can work better here with our weather.
     
  • It needs a Mayor and Council and transport authorities and ministers to lead, and to take responsibility for just making changes happen.
     
  • And it also means asking seriously why we needed the truck there in the first place – and that goes back to whether we even want a working port in downtown Auckland. 

It’s an election year, and this is a great time for all parties and candidates to take a tough stand. Cycling and work safety are not Green, Red, Blue or other party-affiliated issues, but ones that offer benefits across the board. Improving cycling safety and work safety generates more retail and manufacturing revenue, saves on medical expenses, prolongs lives, saves money for individuals and families and delivers better environmental outcomes. It’s cheaper than building roads and rail, and will make it far safer for our children to walk and cycle to school. It seems obvious, and will attract a decent number of voters looking for a better life.

It’s a great time for us voters to ask the candidates and existing MPs what they are doing about safety on the streets and work, but we also need to ask and apply pressure to the recently elected mayors and councillors to follow through on their promises. I am particularly concerned with Auckland and Wellington mayors and councils, who have delivered little for cyclists on a mandate of change. Too many people are dead and I think we would all like to see a genuine sense of urgency before more people die.

Entrepreneur Lance Wiggs blogs at LanceWiggs.com.

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90 Comments & Questions

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That's not the Strand that is Stanley Street.

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No need for fancy, expensive "solutions" - just allow cyclists to use footpaths. In many places the roads are narrow and dangerous - but the footpaths are empty !

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Silliest solution around. Cyclists are noted for their impeccable manners towards pedestrians aren't they?

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Do some observations = on any reasonably busy road that is on a hill ( ie: reasonably steep). Somebody biking uphill at 5km/h. The cars are travelling at 50 km/h. Meanwhile the footpaths are mostly empty. What is safer ? Especially if the road is twisty and narrow ( as in Wellingron).

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Completely agree mike. Cyclists should be able to share under-utilised footpaths. Except in town centers many are virtually unused. That is cyclists doing leisure cycling of less than 15 or 20 km per hour. Commuting cyclists going 20km/h + need to be in a bike lane or road. Cyclists need to follow rules like every other transport mode. The idea that because you are on a bike you don't have to amend your behavior for congestion is dangerous. Many town spaces are being traffic calmed so cars and pedestrians can share. It's reasonable that in the city where space is at a premium cyclist will have to amend their behaviour iand sometimes share space with pedestrians. But they do need appropriate safe segregated spaces to ride.

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Cyclists are the least law abiding of all the transport options; allowing them anywhere near pedestrians is simply dangerous. It is bad enough having to cross roads at lights on frequently used cycle routes due to the number of "red lights are only optional" cyclists around. As a pedestrian I've been hit three times by cyclists at lights - having them on the footpath would mean that my kids will no longer be allowed to walk!

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when was the last time you heard of a cyclist pedestrian accident that resulted in death or even serious injury??

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They don't use their bells, why is that? It used to be compulsory.

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You used to have to dismount, and push your bike across a pedestrian crossing. Is that rule still in force? And you used to have to use hand signals when making a right turn. Children were trained at school.

Cyclists have become quite a big issue for Chinese traffic engineers as motorised traffic has grown:

In the low and middle income countries including China, the majority of such deaths and injuries are among“vulnerable road users” (VRU) - pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
Without sufficient safety facilities on the road, urban junctions are the places where many crashes and traffic conflicts occur. However, the VRU’s safety at the junctions has not been always considered
sufficiently by people when planning cities or designing roads.
http://www.internationaltransportforum.org/irtadpublic/pdf/seoul/7-Yuan.pdf

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More examples of studies of mixed traffic in cities, We are not talking about racing-bikes here, just normal traffic flows. Perhaps there needs to be a (lower) speed limit on cyclists in NZ and speedometers fitted:

mixed traffic (traffic made up of bicycles and automobiles) is
widespread in Chinese cities. It is also greatly responsible for major
traffic problems, such as [conflicts], low efficiency and safety
problems. These problerns are most evident at street intersections.
http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/s4/f2/dsk1/tape3/PQDD_0019/MQ5431...

In this paper, a new cellular automata model is proposed to simulate the car and bicycle heterogeneous traffic on urban road. To capture the complex interactions between these two types of vehicles, ... http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/atr.1257/abstract

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Given the entire intersection is subject to traffic lighting perhaps a simpler and cheaper solution is for everyone to actually obey the road rules.

If the cyclist was dragged 70m by the truck it suggests the accident happened on the intersection.

Lets not jump to blame the truck driver and a whole host of motorist bashing until the full facts are released.

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Half a truck length only. I have no idea which person if any was "right", but one person is dead. Plenty of potential scenarios but basically bikes don't interact well with trucks.

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Obey the road rules? What an archaic, backward-looking idea. Whatever next - keeping left unless overtaking?

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Sympathies to the family of the cyclist and the driver.

But until cyclists have to pay a registration fee and contribute to the upkeep of roads they shouldn't be on them. Cyclists think they own the road, push ahead at intersections and are often very rude in their dealings with motorists. Ban the Bikes !

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Pedestrians should pay as well. And so should people in wheelchairs and using crutches or high heels. Think of the damage they create.

We call these payments taxes. If you don't like it go live somewhere where people don't pay tax. It worked well for Greece.

It's easy to be rude to car drivers after you've almost been killed or seriously hurt. Those near misses happen on average once it twice per cycle trip for me, and I wait at lights. Cyclists are encouraged to push ahead at lights and there are even spaces for that, so chill out in your no doubt single passenger air conditioned car.

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Lance, while your original article incites thought, your reply here unfortunately is shallow & shows that you have lost your objectivity.

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The writer has lost all sense of objectivity and instead chooses to reveal the traits inherent in many of the cycling fraternity......it's all about me!

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Cyclists are extraordinarily self righteous but my lord are they rude and create insane dangers to themselves on the road.

They pay nothing to ride on the road that car owners do and they cut through intersections and create a menace to themselves and others.

Ban the bikes.

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You ignorant git! Cyclist pay nothing? I think you need to look at the facts that a reasonable percentage of cyclists own vehicles and some more than one. So they might not be paying the tax that you are as you are using petrol. However, their healther form of commuting could well be cheaper in the long run, unless of course they are hit by a car or truck. Now cyclist have a bit to answer for themselves, yes a reasonable percentage are rude, that is a defense mechanism, when you ride a bike you understand your at the bottom of the food chain on the road, so the defense is be rude so you're seen. Crazy huh! That doesn't justify the actions. Care on both sides needs to be taken, and cyclists do need to adhere to the road rules. I think you need to remember this cyclist was someones son, brother possibly father and partner! And any cyclist that is hurt in a incident could well be a relation of yours. But banning the bikes, you idiot! Your thought process is obviously ban everything. This country doesn't need people like you F off!

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A cyclist speaks:

"This country doesn't need people like you F off!"

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The country needs the common sense you are so keen to insult others for. Then demanding there exit from the country for delivering it, I'll leave it to you to naval gaze that level of stupidity.
Frankly if you ride a bike in a major city in NZ you are a blo*** idiot.
It's unsafe it's not catered for Councils and the majority of city motorists who pay for the roading infrastructure don't want them and don't want to pay for them.
Waffle insult and rant as much as you like, but continue to ignore that at yours or your relations inevitable peril.

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Please acquaint yourself with the New Zealand road rules and the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, to which New Zealand is a signatory. Cyclists have a legal right to use the road. The end.

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Equally, cyclists have an obligation to obey the road rules - which so many of them don't do. Crashing red lights, cycling between channels (left and right), busting pedestrian crossings, etc The end.

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How many motorists obey the rules all the time? Remember the uproar a month ago about the 4 km/h 'tolerance'? Many motorists were up in arms that their 'right' to speed by 10 km/h was being taken away.

The difference is when cyclists get it wrong, they don't have a protective shell around them to soften the blow.

Have you never come across a rude motorist?

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Only a small minority of cyclists pay no registration fee - because most (including me) also own motor vehicles but sometimes elect to leave these at home and use a bike. The argument that cyclists have no rights because they don't pay for road maintenance fails on this and many other points.

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If we use your logic, a person who owns more than one car should only have to pay one lot of registration and road tax.

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Sooooooooo if I own three cars I should only have to register one because I only use one at a time. Cool.

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40 ft containers are designed to be transported by ship and rail.

The 40ft trailers are too long to be safe on urban roads.

Rail the containers to Westfield and then the rest of NZ.

Limit the size of loads in the CBD. & make our roads safer.

Rail transport is more efficient, safer and practical.. but way too socialist for Key , Brownlee and Joyce I am afraid.

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Agree with rail or ship as alternative although rail would be more expensive to the taxpayer and more difficult to maintain. No other political party would in reality do any different than the present government.

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Footpaths are not a solution. Ever tried to ride one? Forever slowing to a crawl for driveways, intersections and glass. Impractical.

Quite right Kate re wait for facts but meanwhile let's dwell on facts we know. More cycling is good for traffic congestion, health of (most) cyclists, carbon emmissions and local retailers. We can reap benefits by making cycling easier, safer and more appealing with bike lanes and time limits on trucks in the city.

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Some of the worst cyclist behaviour can be witnessed on East Tamaki Rd any weekend. They put themselves in danger, that is when they are not riding 3 or 4 abreast and causing congestion.

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Substitute Auckland for Melbourne/Sydney/Brisbane etc. I thought the pollies back home in NZ were more forward thinking than here. It seems not to be the case.

Ride In Peace.

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Before we start car bashing, let's wait until we hear the facts shall we. I for one personally see cyclists flaunting road rules and causing a general nuisance of themselves on a weekly basis. They don't slow down at red lights and they plough on through - they use the roads and choose which rules to adhere to and which ones to bend.. and they do so at their own whim. This creates havoc because as a motorist I have no idea what the cyclist is going to do or how to anticipate them, because they don't abide by the same rules.

This is a terrible tragedy what happened.. but for Lance to question why the truck was even there.. on the road for goodness sake, seems to me to be jumping to conclusions and vehicle-bashing for the sake of it.

WHere is cyclist education in all of this? Why are motorists continually told how to act around bikes and how much distance to give them when they themselves don't obey the road rules themselves? The roads are designed for and were meant for cars. Until all roads have proper cycle lanes etc then they should be treated as such, and some cyclists need to treat the road with a lot more respect than they currently do.

I am in no way implying that this particular cyclist ran the intersection or did anything that caused this terrible accident, but I'm just calling it as I see it.

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It's pretty clear that this cyclist did ignore the red light. Rules (and road taxes) don't apply to them though.

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While one death is one too many on our road, it's always a debate between the road users, namely pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicle (cars, motor bikes, trucks, sygways etc). We are all arrogant and believe our mode of transport is the best, because it suits our life styles.

If you look at the big cities, no matter how efficient their road planning and public transport, there is still no way to accommodate all types of road users in any situation. This blame game will never end unless we all work and play at home.

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By all accounts the truck was on a green light going straight and the cyclist hit the truck.

I don't think this cyclist is really a pin-up for Green policy and the loud and irrational cycle lobby and their political point scoring attempts today

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So cyclist turned left on red light. If a car had done this we wouldn't have this article in NBR. There are bad drivers but also lots of cyclists who ride through red lights

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A car driver would probably not be dead. To ride a cycle with no protection whatsoever requires some commonsense and caution in traffic.

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Making cyclists safer is easiest done by getting more people to cycle. Car drivers who cycle regularly are more aware of cyclists and having lots of cyclists around also keeps you on the look out.

And the answer to getting more people to cycle is to remove the stupid helmet law. Who wants to carry a helmet around with them to the shops / beach? Let adults decide and they'll return to cycling. And therefore lower medical costs by generally being fitter.

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This is one of these great urban myths. Cycling a few miles to and from work - especially with all its attendant stops - together with a leisurely w/e bike with the kids makes bugger-all difference to one's fitness. To make any real fitness progress via cycling, one needs to do a *lot* of it, and do at least some of it hard.

And in terms of overall health, biking to and from work etc is almost certainly harmful due to all the car fumes one is forced to inhale.

By all means claim the right to cycle safely on NZ roads, but don't try to justify it on public health grounds.

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Any activity is better than no activity

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Your comment about fumes is inaccurate. Research has actually demonstarted that people sitting in cars arw inhaling more fumes and particulate than people outside on bikes or walking, this is because there is less air movement.

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Cyclists belong on the main road like swimmers belong in shipping lanes. If you want to ride a cycle, go to a velodrome, go cross country, ride BMX or what-have-you. "Play stupid games, win stupid prizes".

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The velodrome is not a viable cycling route to my destination: the local shops or my office. How do you suggest I get there?

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By Truck or car or something which requires you to have passed a test, and have paid a licence fee. BAN THE BIKES !

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Walk, bus, train, ferry. Any or all of the above will get you there in a form of transport that doesn't massively disrupt road flow and endanger yourself and others.

You no more belong on the road in a cycle than I do in the boxing ring with Mike Tyson.

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Swimmers have no form of machine assisting them. A better comparison would be with a row boat in a shipping lane. I have cycled on the road before a couple of times. I kept as far to the left as safely possible and went as fast as safely possible. I always indicated what I was doing and I got to my destination without a hitch or toot. But clearly from what I've read not all cyclist are alike.

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Like many others I consistently see cyclists flout the law. Yesterday evening while travelling behind a cyclist I watched in disgust as he barrelled through a zebra crossing whilst two young kids were crossing, forcing them to step backwards to avoid harm. I tooted a warning which seemed to enrage the rider who proceeded to turn round and proffer a two fingered salute. I do not know all the facts of the particular case described in this article but if someone ignores the basic laws of the road I have little to no sympathy for them if they get injured or killed. Lets wait till the police investigation is complete before jumping to conclusions.

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I must admit that as a pedestrian (I don't own a car), I despise cyclists.

They flaunt the road rules continuously, riding through red lights and frequently straight through the full intersection pedestrian crossings that are the norm in central Auckland.

In my younger days, as a motorcyclist, I learnt that I had to take responsibility for my own safety by assuming that every other road user was an idiot who was out to get me.

I would suggest that if cyclists adopted a similar approach, less of them would get injured.

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it's flout (not flaunt) ...

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One way to make cyclists safer is to ban their flashing headlights that on sunny days can almost blind car drivers coming the other way on our narrow roads.

For decades cyclists used a fixed light not flashing light so why the change? If they are really safer could I put flashing headlights on my car; I don't think so

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Are you serious? Blinded by a bike headlight on a sunny day? Suggest you get your eyes checked (after which you may longer be permitted to drive!).

Key point is that you noticed the bike that was wearing the light - Objective 1 achieved: now you just have to avoid hitting it.

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Removing container trucks from central City Auckland would be a good place to start. I feel unsafe driving amongst them in a car let alone a bike.

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Some very silly responses here. I do wonder whether some posters think before writing. Let's explore some of the comments with the least merit.

(1) "But until cyclists have to pay a registration fee and contribute to the upkeep of roads they shouldn't be on them." Most cyclists are taxpayers, many also own cars and use them, many are rate payers, etc etc. Therefore most cyclists make a contribution. It's incredible how often this specious argument is trotted out. Even better, cyclists reduce traffic congestion by using their bike, so that others in cars benefit. And a registration fee would be so expensive to administer, it's hard to see why this idea has any merit at all. Which of course is why there isn't one.

(2) "No need for fancy, expensive "solutions" - just allow cyclists to use footpaths. In many places the roads are narrow and dangerous - but the footpaths are empty !" Oh dear, oh dear. Can't see any issues with that? Footpaths are often empty. But then, sometimes not - with children walking to school and the elderly to the shops. They are entitled to their space too. Just share the road for goodness sake.

(3) "And the answer to getting more people to cycle is to remove the stupid helmet law." I doubt that this law caused many to give up cycling and I also doubt that repealing this law will cause many to take it up again. Next.

(4) "One way to make cyclists safer is to ban their flashing headlights that on sunny days can almost blind car drivers coming the other way on our narrow roads." Blimey - this is a good one. I guess cyclists do this because they don't feel safe and want to be seen and the good 'ol fixed beam just didn't seem to get noticed. Cyclists can't really win here.

OK so what would help? (A) Obviously the biggest change that's needed is a change in attitude. This is completely obvious from this set of comments. And I'm not talking about just motorists. I too see lots of appalling behaviour from cyclists and it's just not helpful, as well as downright dangerous. The ninja cyclist who tries not to be seen and the aggressive roadie. Share the road people. It takes only a couple of seconds out of your day to do so. (B) Even with the best will in the world, accidents happen. As one poster said, roads were designed for cars and this needs to change. Design urban and suburban roads with public transport having highest priority, then pedestrians and cyclists, then cars. If public transport has priority and roads are safe for cyclists, more people will take the bus or cycle. Fewer cars on these road will also benefit those that do drive. Motorists need to understand this and support new design priorities. Highways are different and need different solutions. Identify alternative routes for cyclists - map, signpost and lower speed limits on these alternatives. Motorists - if you want to go faster, use the highway.

In summary it's really all about attitude and the willingness to compromise and make change happen. Changing attitudes is the hard part, but it is possible; it has been done before.

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We have already tried the change in attitude and it isnt working. Cyclists still think they own the road and that it is everybody elses responsibility to work around them. They need to get over themselves and start following the road rules.

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Hear hear.

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Never let the facts get in the way of a good rant eh? Instead of airing your prejudices, why not check out the latest accident statistics? [http://www.transport.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Research/Documents/cycling-c...

Points to note:
(1) The number of cyclist killed each year has fallen over the period 1990 to 2012. [The number of cyclists injured seems to have fallen and then increased; however a valid comparison really requires adjustment for change over time in total hours spend riding. If this has increased - which is plausible - then the rate of injuries is likely to have fallen.]
(2) In 64% of fatal or injury crashes involving cyclists, the cyclist was not at fault; in only 23% of such crashes was the cyclist was primarily responsible.

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Hear, hear - some sense at last. I thought Kiwis were nice people but some of the comments particularly from the pro car brigade are downright mean spirited.

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Addressing the root cause of cyclist behaviour would probably be a really good start. As a motorist my antagonism toward cyclists builds up due to watching the many inconsiderate and plain law-breaking examples.

It's already been confirmed that the truck was on a green light and I travel that intersection enough to know that cyclists do indeed come down Parnell Rise and go through the red light, hugging the curb and turning left. It's extremely sad that someone paid the ultimate price for that action, however it highlights a few basic needs - the primary being cyclist education. There is no need whatsoever to start crying out for the need for huge public expenditure when so much can be gained from simple personal responsibility.

Stating the obvious, we all know that road is a major trucking route and is unsafe for cyclists. Perhaps cyclists could think about that, too, and choose an alternate, safer route?

In the mid 1980's an elderly acquaintance of my grandmother's was killed crossing the road in Panmure. She was crossing on a "WALK" light at a pedestrian crossing and a cyclist went through the red light and knocked her over. Sadly it *is* common behaviour and if the cycling fans start addressing that maybe more sympathy will arise for their other causes. In the meantime, this is a sad and avoidable waste of life, but it's not the fault of the general motorist or the city authorities.

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The problem is that cyclists have their head down and can't see where they are going. The solution is all bikes must have ape hangers and riders must sit upright. there you go problem solved!!

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Love it! I'm going to wipe the dust off my Chopper. (If you'll pardon the expression).

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I use this intersection a couple of times a day, and have done for several years, I've seen many trucks run the red light (most commonly when turning from Beach Rd onto Stanley St) and never seen a bicycle run a red light there.

The whole layout -- blind approach from The Strand, speeding cars & trucks from Beach Rd, frustrated drivers queuing up Parnell Rise, everyone rushing to get to the motorway -- and light sequence is such that almost no one fucks around getting across.

I seldom see even any pedestrians jay walking because of the complexity of the sequence and width of the roads.

I'm not saying the truck was in the wrong here, or that the bicyclist was in the right. But let's try and be a little bit more honest about who really flouts the road rules most often, and the seriousness to others of doing so.

The intersection is terrible.

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I don't like the word 'cyclist' being used to describe a man or woman dressed in lyrca on a racing bike going hell for leather down the road, often over the speed limit, not keeping left, failing to stop at the traffic lights, full stop signs or give way signs, while shooting up and high on their daily fix of endorphins and exercise.

Cyclist is what I used to do when I was a kid and would ride my bike to school, or what you see in places like Holland, where people are riding their bikes to and from work, or school or wherever. Cyclists aren't using the roads as their personal gym, they ride normal bikes as an alternative form of transport on the road for getting from point A to B.

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Seems to me there's way too much righteous indignation in this morning's coffee - unfortunately that is now staple fare. We'd do well to shape our thinking recalling that there are not in fact cyclists vs drivers vs pedestrians vs motorcyclists but folks,as in us, who cycle, and drive and (hopefully) walk. Often times the labels we use for convenience don't help the conversation but get in the way.

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No thanks. The only thing worse than an arrogant cyclist on the road is one on the footpath. Cycles belong on roads, end of story!!

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Motorist think cyclists belongs to the footpath, pedestrians thinks cyclists belongs to the road - most the time they are the same arrogant people who only cares about themselves.

The fact is that most Auckland footpaths / roads aren't designed for cyclists. Whoever promotes cycling to work in the Auckland CBD have blood on their hands.

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Throughout this thread there have been many sanctimonious comments about cyclists breaking road rules. Surely cyclists are just following the behaviour they observe of other road users.

Its nice to know that all other road deaths this holiday period have been "acts of god" and not a reflection of driver behaviour.

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No they are not!

Filled with an inflated, self-righteous view of their own superiority many cyclists ignore red lights, ride erraticaly and at excessive speed and as a direct result sometimes injure and kill pedestrians.

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Many modern bikes are made of carbon/aluminium with very little steel, and will not set uff the magnetism (ferrous metal) based detectors at intersections - meaning they have to run the light because it just doesn't go green.

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Not much of an excuse IMHO. Lean over to and push the button for the pedestrian crossing. And then wait. That's what I do.

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If you place your bike (or motorbike) in the middle of the sensor in the centre of the lane then you are far more likely to set it off. The sensor is a large rectangle with a line through the middle - and you want to be on that line.

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What a dogmatic society we have become that the death of someone immediately segways into extreme attacks on cyclists (where one or two bad cyclists suddenly represent all) and also barbs against cars and their drivers. Can't we talk civilly and reasonably to each other anymore and actually discuss an issue and potential solutions reasonably?

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The simple solution is for bikes to be banned from roads that were not designed to take them. If there is no cycle lane on the road, use the footpath. I use to cycle but it is just too dangerous and when in a car driving down a narrow street, all cars must veer across the line to avoid the cyclist increasing risk for motorists in both directions. Cycling on the road should not be seen as a right.

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Can you please explain why the driver would have to veer into the oncoming lane to go round the cyclist? Surely the right thing to do would be to sit 2 seconds behind them until an appropriate opportunity to pass became available? Otherwise that would be dangerous driving on the part of the car driver.

I drive and cycle to work. I've become more aware of cyclists since I started cycling. As a cyclist I've also been victim of more bad driving from car drivers than when driving a car.

Cyclist break the rules sometimes and so do car drivers. Some (but definatly not all) of the rules cyclists break are for their own safety given the way lights work and the way the road rules are written for cars.

Ultimately though, we both use the road so we just need to be considerate of one another.

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I support Lance's comments about the need for more human focussed design of cities. Shift people from cars onto foot and onto bikes by building appropriate infrastructure. The benefit is a city that is more pleasant (and safer) for everybody. Worked in Copenhagen <url> http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycling_in_Copenhagen<url>.

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The rules of the road where broken and someone died. It happens, so get over it. No amount of opining by the likes of Mr. Wiggs et al can make excuses for the elephant in the room. To err is human and this unfortunate individual paid with their life. I have seen my fill of death from my time in the emergency services; friends who have been killed in very similar circumstances and my own courting of death through momentary lapses in concentration. We all have them, and none of the absurd nonsense espoused here by many commentators, will prevent one death when Darwin comes calling

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I am sorry that a cyclist has died and I am sorry for the truck driver involved who was presumably going about his daily job helping our national economy.

I often find cyclists a nuisance on the road. They behave unpredictably and at weekends in particular seem to like their rides to be a social past time by riding in groups and weaving in and out of the cycling lanes chatting. They take their children out on the road - is there no age barrier to kids riding bikes on the road? We were told to stop driving over a bridge by cyclists whose kids were biking over it. We have been spat at when overtaking a group in town after travelling behind at 40 kph for a considerable distance (followed by other vehicles).

The idea that they should ride on footpaths is not realistic - if they are behind you you can not hear them coming as there is traffic noise. And they don't ride slowly.

Should they be registered? Should there be a specific road code for cyclists?

They definitely need to lose their arrogant attitude. I imagine many of them to be Greenie bureaucrats!

They have no means of identification so that they cannot be reported for their dangerous behaviour.

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I admire those that choose to commute daily to work using a bike, rain hail or shine this is their chosen mode of transport, more often than not their bikes are practical and used in a manner which places safety at the forefront of their use, those weekend warriors who don Lycra emblazoned with professional cycling team logos and ride their carbon fibre wonders are not in the same league, we have peloton on Lake Road every weekend that treat every other road user with disrespect and court danger, my heart goes out to the family of the cyclist and also to the truck driver who must live with this tragedy for the rest of his life.

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I walk along the harbour side of Wellington most mornings and the number of times I have nearly been totally skittled by insane cyclists just beggars belief - their look of smug, angry entitlement is frightening its as if they have felt like 2nd class users coming through the Hataitai tunnel or down the gorge and now they are determined to be fast, first and dangerous. Getting run over when you are a bit over 50 is very dangerous: broken hips, multiple fractures etc. They don't have number plates so you can't "dob them in". Last year I was in Amsterdam and was initially bemused by the tourist literature which inter alia warned against the perils of cyclists - that is until I spent some time in that city - not even the halt, lame or extreme elderly are given any quarter there. in short, B------s exist on 2 wheels just as well as on 4.

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Having been a motorist and pedestrian in the CBD. I've seen motorist go through on the red, and cyclist riding around pedestrians who have waited for the cross signal.
Not all motorists are sinners and not all bike users are saints.

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Whilst I am sad to hear of the tales regarding poor cycling behaviour and do not condone reckless behaviour of anyone on the roads, I would like to point out my own experiences of road user behaviour in Auckland.

My experience is that vehicle drivers of all types tend to exhibit the same behaviours described above but mostly it is car drivers who are guilty of running red lights (including through intersections where pedestrians have the green cross - Queen Street /Quay Street intersection being one of the worst) - crossing the centre line when it suits regardless of oncoming traffic - tail gating - not paying attention - using a cellphone whilst driving - texting whilst driving - regularly exceeding the speed limit. I can't believe that the writers above are not guilty of these sins. Whilst it may be convenient to "blame" other road users of causing their frustration and thereby "forcing" them to break the law, these justifications would not stand up in a court of law. We have a cultural issue in this country about how we drive and all road users need to amend their driving behaviour.

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Finally some sanity. Thank you Robin.

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Traffic lights - Maybe the accident would not have happened if RED LIGHT has been observed and obeyed !!!!

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Here is an idea, why not get rid of the port and the thousands of annual truck movements that clog up the streets in that area? it doesn’t make economic sense or environmental sense to have a busy port in the CBD of our biggest city. Northland has a deep-water port with acres of space just waiting to be utilised, all that needs to happen is have the rail line upgraded.

As for the car v bike argument, there are plenty of dickhead drivers/riders around... everyone just needs to take a deep breath and think of the consequences of their actions.

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Ride through a red light, have an accident and become a fatality statistic - it's pretty simple. If cyclists choose to play russian roulette on the road then don't try to blame it on the motorists. If I drove through a red light in my car, especially if it was intentional because I thought that I'm special & didn't have to obey the road rules, then the fault lies with me not the person who crashed into me, and if I die as a result then that's a result of my actions.

I feel sorry for the truck driver who drove through a green light and has to live with the memory of someone riding under his wheels for the rest of his life.

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A disproportionate amount of transport infrastructure money is being spent on cyclists now, but it seems they are NEVER happy. 2% of Aucklanders cycle for goodness sake . From all the chatter you would think 50% of us are on bikes. Whatever form of transport you use it is up to the individual to keep themselves safe. It is not up to others to do so. If cyclists were to obey the road rules (which they invariably don't) and act responsibly then maybe the accident stats would be a lot less. The cycling fraternity has become so emotionally entwined in blaming everyone else for their actions that they can't see the wood for the trees.

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How much is being spent on cyclists?

New York City spent about $8.1 million - this does not have to be expensive.

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Regarding who pays for roads:

1. Cars are net receivers of subsidies
2. Motorists don’t pay anything for the land that roads occupy. People may say “but the public already owns that land”, but there is still an opportunity cost in that the city or government is losing money in not turning that land over to a use that could generate income.
3. Most of the levies motorists do pay go towards building and maintaining the state highway network, which is used almost exclusively by motorists.
4. Local roads are paid for from a combination of rates (paid by everyone who rents or owns a home), and road levies. Most of the money spent on local roads goes towards maintenance, and the amount of wear a vehicle puts on the road is exponentially related to its weight. An average car puts about 9600 times as much wear on the road as a bike. Put another way – 9600 cyclists generate the need to spend as much money on road repair as one car does.
5. Motorists don’t pay for the negative externalities they generate – noise, congestion, air pollution, pollution of waterways through road runoff, and carbon emissions.
6. ACC – Motorists contribute towards ACC by paying a petrol levy. However, these funds are ring fenced for use in accidents involving motor vehicles. Motor vehicles cause considerable injury so it is fair that they pay a contribution towards that damage. Everyone, including cyclists, contribute to ACC through income taxes.
7. And finally - registration fees and petrol taxes are just that – taxes, to be used as the government sees fit. When you pay them you are not purchasing rights over the road. I don’t expect the tax I pay on alcohol to be spent dollar for dollar on making it easier for me to get drunk.

Some people argue in defence of cyclists that most of them also own cars and so pay their share through that. While this is partly true I think it is beside the point. If you own a car you are imposing greater costs on the public than you are paying through petrol tax or registration, and that is before taking externalities into account. Cyclists are imposing less costs on the public than motorists, both real costs and external ones.

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From an observation after being in North America, there are seperate cycleways on roads but to me it still comes down to people's attitudes.

In the US where it is so ligitious all people are respectful of cars, cyclists & pedestrians as the consequence of a crash is severe i.e. you'll get sued.

Maybe it's time to review our approach & laws and make it the responsibility of everyone, in that they are financially liable for their actions. If individuals are sued, then the attitudes of everyone will change over night.

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Wouldn't it be nice if cyclists reacted to the concerns of other road users by moderating their behaviour (no running through red lights, riding erratically, terrifying pedestrians) rather than playing the victim and getting aggressive and self-righteous?

Big benefit for the cycling fanatics is that if they behaved better they could be even more self-righteous.

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