Bay cyclists still face crash risk

By APNZ, Doug Laing


More than 25 Hawke's Bay cyclists have been injured in accidents involving cars in the past year, revealed the Ministry of Transport.

One person was killed and 29 injured in bicycle crashes in the Napier, Hastings and Central Hawke's Bay districts in the year to the end of October 2012, Ministry figures show.

A decade ago, road safety experts and grieving families were agonising about the deaths of six cyclists in five years in the Hastings district alone.

Yet recent cycling safety strategies in Hawke's Bay seem to be working, with figures indicating dramatic cuts from a once high rate of two-wheel tragedies in the area.

Road policing officer Sergeant Clint Adamson last night said that while any incident was one too many, drivers particularly appeared to be more aware of cyclists and their rights on the road.

"We still have a lot of near-misses and a lot of complaints," he said, "but people are a lot more aware in our area and we've had a reduction in the number of crashes."

He attended an accident last Friday where a motorist collided with a an approaching cyclist at the Napier Rd-Karanema Drive roundabout in Havelock North.

The male cyclist suffered rib injuries, he added.

Another cyclistescaped serious injury following a collision with a car on the corner of Kennedy and Maadi roads in Napier in February.

St John Ambulance acting district operations manager John Plastow said it appeared to be a low-speed accident caused by sun strike to the driver.

One of the most prominent Bay cycling deaths was 12-year-old Joshua Bennie, who swerved in front of a van on Guppy Rd, Greenmeadows, while biking to school on March 9, 2011.

Mr Adamson said it was possible the green cycleways on city streets were helping to make motorists more aware of cycle safety issues even though they appeared to be unused.

In 2010, The Hastings District Council was allocated more than $3 million by the New Zealand Transport Agency to create a "model" environment for cyclists.

Cycle safety advocate Bernie Kelly said generally it was safe on Hawke's Bay roads for cyclists.

"I ride my bike a lot on the open road and I haven't had any problems," Mr Kelly said.

He had noticed a positive change in the attitudes of local motorists towards cyclists in the past few years. He had been involved in cycle skills programmes in local schools, but funding cuts had scaled them back recently, he said.

Safety concerns for cyclists have resurfaced after an Auckland woman was struck while cycling in Taupo last Saturday.

Mother-of-two Jane Farrelly, 50, died shortly after the collision with a car.

By the numbers

  • Three serious and 12 minor injuries received by cyclists in Hastings, after collisions with cars in the 12 months ending October 31, 2012.

  • Two serious and 11 minor injuries received by cyclists in Napier.

  • One minor injury received by a cyclist in Central Hawke's Bay.

  • 171 serious and 623 minor injuries received by cyclists nationwide.

Source: Ministry of Transport

- Hawkes Bay Today

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