Team to tackle safety issues on Tamaki Drive

By Rachel Tiffen

As police hunt the hit-and-run killer of North Shore doctor Graham Robinson, a team of motorists and cyclists will tackle the issue of safely sharing Auckland's Tamaki Drive.

At a forum last week - triggered by an accident in which a young motorist struck a pack of cyclists, injuring three and leaving one critically ill - the Auckland City Council transport committee promised to form a working party in the next few weeks.

The issue of road user rights was reignited by the Tamaki Drive crash and fuelled by the unsolved death of Dr Robinson.

The Mairangi Bay GP was struck and thrown over his handlebars on Peak Rd near Helensville on October 14.

He suffered severe head injuries and died in hospital the next day.

Police are looking for the driver of the white or cream-coloured Toyota Hi-lux ute, probably a 1980s or 1990s model, which hit the 62-year-old while he was training for a charity ride and then sped off towards Kumeu.

The accident occurred nearly three weeks after a 20-year-old woman drove into the Pickled Pedallers cycle group on Tamaki Drive.

Three men suffered broken bones and cuts and have been discharged from hospital. It is understood Auckland engineer Greg Paterson has now been transferred from Auckland City Hospital to a rehabilitation unit.

"It's still going to take a long time, I think," said fellow group member John Carter.

The crash, which was described as "absolute carnage", evoked strong views over rights to the popular waterfront route and was the catalyst for last week's transport committee-run forum.

About 30 people - including cyclists, residents, police and bus operators - were invited and given two-minute slots to air their views.

"You had motorists, you had AA, residents, community boards, police, businessmen," said Cycle Action co-chairwoman Barbara Cuthbert. "The goodwill and sense of pulling together was enormous."

Ms Cuthbert was pleased with the decision to form a working party and saw it as a strong indication the council was taking the issue seriously.

She said the key areas to be addressed by the party were speed limits and the berth given to cyclists, commuter parking in the Tamaki Drive area and road maintenance.

Meanwhile, at least eight police will continue the hunt for the driver who hit and fatally wounded Dr Robinson.

Orewa Detective Mark Palma yesterday rejected media reports that police were looking for a serial hit-and-run driver.

He said the team was looking into other incidents involving motorists and cyclists in the area, but none resulted in injury or appeared directly linked.

"The other incidents involved motorists or carloads of young people yelling or tooting at cyclists inconsiderately."

Mr Palma said police would continue methodically checking the Transport Agency's vehicle registry for owners of cars similar to the ute described, and were acting on information from the public.

He encouraged anyone with information on the white ute or the crash to phone the police on 0508 PEAK RD.

- NZ Herald

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