'Ghost bike' reminder of cyclists' danger

By Laurilee McMichael - news@dailypost.co.nz -
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TRIBUTE: The ghost bike installed on Poihipi Rd near Taupo where Auckland cyclist Jane Farrelly died.
TRIBUTE: The ghost bike installed on Poihipi Rd near Taupo where Auckland cyclist Jane Farrelly died.

The spot where an Auckland cyclist was killed near Taupo a year ago now has its own ghostly marker.

Part memorial, part reminder, the white "ghost bike" has been installed on Poihipi Rd at the place where mother-of-two Jane Farrelly, 50, was knocked off her bike by a truck-and-trailer unit and killed. The experienced cyclist was out on a group ride with her husband Ian and other cycling enthusiasts.

Police did not charge the truck driver.

Mrs Farrelly's sister, Tina McCullough, said the family installed the ghost bike on the side of Poihipi Rd, 7km west of the Whangamata Rd turnoff, to mark the spot where she was hit. Previously, the site was marked by a cross slightly further along the road where Mrs Farrelly had died.

Ms McCullough said the idea of ghost bikes originated in Europe a decade ago.

"Any time a cyclist is killed, a white bike is put in that place as a reminder to vehicles and other cyclists to be careful and watch out for cyclists on the road," she said.

"It's a memorial for Jane and also a reminder for others, and it's really fascinating when we put it up, how many people did a huge diversion onto the other side of the road to pass, so it does actually work."

The ghost bike was installed a year to the day after Mrs Farrelly's death.

A ghost bike has also been installed on Auckland's waterfront, where Jane Bishop died after she collided with an open car door and fell under a truck.

An inquest into Mrs Farrelly's death is expected to be held in Hamilton in July.

Ms McCullough is also organising a petition to take to Parliament, calling on it to change the law to require motorists to give at least 1.5m passing distance to pedestrians and cyclists. She hopes to get up to 20,000 signatures.

The petition can be found at www.change.org by searching "protection for walkers and cyclists".

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