It's been a killer year on the roads for cyclists with the number of fatalities more than triple that of 2016.

The 18 cyclists killed so far this year stands with close to three weeks left in the year. The total number of cyclists killed on our roads last year was five - slightly fewer than the 6 cyclists who died in 2015.

To date, 352 people have been killed on New Zealand's roads, compared to 304 this time last year.

Road policing Superintendent Steve Greally said the numbers relating to cyclist deaths were very concerning.


"They've tripled. Over tripled, almost quadrupled."

Greally also noted that the number of pedestrian deaths was up from the year before.

"They're all vulnerable road users, they're the users of our roads that don't have the protection of a car, a truck or a van."

Greally thought a spike in cyclist deaths could be because warm, dry weather is encouraging Kiwis to bike, rather than drive to work. An increase in the number of people taking up cycling as a hobby could factor in, too.

Of the 18 deaths so far this year, 13 were people over the age of 40. Twelve of these were men. Just two female cyclists died.

Alongside the fatalities, 556 cyclists had been injured.

Just last week City Mission social worker John Bonner, 51, died when his bike and a car collided in the Auckland suburb of Te Atatu.

At the couple's home, Bonner's partner Arna Hutton spoke to the Herald about the loss of the man she described as her "kindred spirit" and the "most wonderful father" to their sons, aged 13, 15 and 17.


"It's a huge loss for our family. It's just enormous for the well-being of our children, who we have spent every moment ensuring that they are kept well and loved and protected.

A death notice in the Herald today described Bonner as a "much loved" member of the Auckland City Mission whanau.

"We will miss his strength, compassion, wit and incredible spirit," it said.

Police are investigating the crash.

In September 7-year-old Inglewood Primary School student Emma Warren was killed when she was hit by a truck while using a pedestrian crossing as she biked home from school.

Days before, a cyclist was killed when he and a truck collided in Napier. The cyclist and truck collided on Georges Dr between Kennedy Rd and Thistle St just before 6pm on September 21.

And a cyclist died on September 24 after a crash on Western Lake Rd, South Wairarapa.

"CPR was commenced, but was unsuccessful," a police spokesperson said.

In April, Graeme Leach, 67, died after his bike was allegedly hit by a Halls Transport truck and trailer unit on a busy Hamilton road.

Michael Allan Hodgins, 45, of Manurewa, faced charges of careless driving causing the death.

The Cycling Action Network said the preliminary figures were "disturbing".

Spokesman Patrick Morgan said on average, there were around 10 to 12 fatal crashes each year. The increase mirrored an overall rise in road deaths, he said, but it was hard to know what else was behind the spike.

"There are a number of theories around why this could be. It could be a general rise in the number of people cycling in New Zealand, or an over representation of heavy vehicles on our roads."

Morgan said a wraparound approach was needed to cut the number.

He wanted more 30km/h or 40km/h speed limits in inner-city areas and better designing for intersections.

Cyclists could also help themselves, he said, by "following road rules" and "not being an idiot".

The Transport Agency's Crash Analysis System was a useful tool in looking at factors contributing to crashes involving cyclists that resulted in injuries or death.

Dr Glenn Koorey from traffic engineering company ViaStrada said the system showed at least 60 per cent of crashes were at intersections or driveways.

Another common factor was heavy vehicles, which were involved in about 30 per cent of fatal crashes involving cyclists. Koorey said this percentage had been much higher this year.

Heading into the holiday period, which was typically busy and fraught with crashes, Greally was encouraging all road users to be aware of one another.

"We just want people to be safe. Give cyclists space, it's not just a bike, it's a person on a bike with a family, friends, a life. Whether you're a cyclist or a motorist, we've got to be aware that we share the roads.

"And if you've got different view on that, get over it."