Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the APNZ News Service office in Wellington.

High visibility gear should be compulsory for cyclists - coroner

Superintendent Stephen Fitzgerald was killed while cycling in Petone in June, 2008. Photo / supplied
Superintendent Stephen Fitzgerald was killed while cycling in Petone in June, 2008. Photo / supplied

A coroner has recommended it be compulsory for cyclists to wear high visibility clothing after the death of a senior Wellington police officer who was hit by a truck while riding his bike.

Superintendent Stephen Fitzgerald was killed in Petone in June, 2008.

In his finding into Mr Fitzgerald's death, released today, Wellington Coroner Ian Smith made a number of recommendations to the Minister of Transport, including that cyclists wear high visibility clothing while riding.

Coroner Smith said wearing high visibility clothing while cycling was, in his view, a "no-brainer''.

"It should be compulsory for cyclists to wear at all times when riding on public roads - with the exception of a controlled race or similar.''

At the time of the crash, Mr Fitzgerald was wearing reflective stripes on his clothing and backpack, and both front and rear lights were working.

Under legislation, bicycles were considered vehicles and just as entitled to use the road, Coroner Smith said.

Coroner Smith also recommended road rules be changed to ensure there was a metre between cyclists and passing traffic.

He said there should also be enhanced cyclist education in primary schools and driver licence education with respect to cyclists be incorporated to a "high degree''.

Mr Fitzgerald, 57, was cycling to his Eastbourne home when he swerved around a grate and was hit by a truck that was too far on the left side of the lane.

The driver, Desmond Wilson, was charged with careless driving causing death and was found guilty in September, 2009.

Wilson was disqualified from driving for nine months and ordered to pay reparation of $2000.

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