Ad campaign for cyclists' safety hard on heels of Parnell fatality

By Mathew Dearnaley

The Transport Agency's 'See the person, share the road' campaign will initially run in four main centres.
The Transport Agency's 'See the person, share the road' campaign will initially run in four main centres.

Gruesome images of the mangled bike on which an Auckland man died under a truck will be followed by an advertising campaign designed to "humanise" cyclists.

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The Transport Agency says its launch this weekend of the $400,000 campaign on radio, billboards and buses will be coincidental to the death of cyclist John Tangiia, 37, at the entrance to Grafton Gully on Tuesday.

It will use images of everyday cyclists wearing T-shirts labelling them as someone's loved one, such as a son, father or aunt, to urge drivers to share the roads safely with them.

"The campaign is designed to personalise and humanise people cycling so motorists see them as real people who have a right to share the road safely," said spokesman Ewart Barnsley.

"With their backs to the drivers and a helmet on, cyclists can look like silhouettes and drivers don't usually see their faces.

"We want to remind drivers when they are on the road that cyclists are everyday people just like them."

The agency's "See the person, share the road" campaign will initially run in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch, and leads into the national Bike Wise month of February.

It follows a similar campaign run late last year by Auckland Transport, encouraging drivers to give cyclists 1.5m of space when passing, and to look out for them when opening car doors or turning into side streets.

The Transport Agency is also lining up a panel of experts, in response to a coroner's suggestion, to make recommendations to the Government and councils by the end of this year to encourage more people on to bikes by making that a safer proposition.

Mr Barnsley said the panel would comprise about 10 cycling safety experts, who will be named at the end of this month. They were likely to appoint their own chair, although they would also work with a reference group of road users and key public agencies.

Both groups were expected to hold their first meetings next month.

The initiative follows a recommendation from coroner Gordon Matenga in November after he reviewed 13 cycling deaths, including that of English nurse Jane Bishop on Tamaki Drive in 2010 and three riders who were run down by a car on a road bend near Morrinsville three days earlier.

Mr Matenga said that although it would be easy for him to prescribe measures making high-visibility clothes compulsory for cyclists or side under-run protection mandatory for trucks, attitudes of motorists and cyclists needed to change and a "think tank" of experts was the best vehicle for making recommendations on how that might be achieved.

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- NZ Herald

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