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Poor cycle safety concerns Christchurch Police

Poor cycle safety concerns Christchurch Police

Christchurch Police have issued nearly 100 tickets to cyclists for not correctly wearing cycle helmets during a four-week operation to boost bike safety in the city.

During the same period 44 tickets were issued to cyclists who had no lights on at night.

The results of the operation are a concern to Police, who say cyclists are putting themselves and other road users at risk by not observing basic safety rules.

Police ran Operation Cyclewayz from 9 September to Sunday 6 October, in an effort to reduce the number of cyclists involved in crashes.

Recent data shows that eight cyclists have been killed on New Zealand roads between 1 January and 28 August this year - with half of the deaths occurring in the Canterbury Police District.

Constable Steve Davis says cycle helmets were main issue identified - with a total of 95 tickets issued to cyclists who were either not wearing a helmet at all, or who wore them unfastened.

"An unfastened cycle helmet is about as much good as not wearing at all," he says. "In a crash it's not going to provide you with any protection at all.

"It's really important wear an approved cycle helmet, correctly fitted and always fastened when they are riding."

Lack of lights at night were the other major problem noted during the operation, which involved checkpoints at multiple locations throughout the city, during the before school and after school periods.

"It's disappointing that we caught so many cyclists not complying with the safety rules - and we even had one or two cyclists that we caught more than once on the same day for the same issues," says Constable Davis.

"The problem for cyclists is that much of what happens to them on the road is out of their control. But if they are wearing helmets correctly, and are well lit at night, then they stand a much better chance of survival and avoiding injury in the event something happens to them."

Out of those ticketed for helmets and lights infringements, 74 were offered compliance - that is, they were given the opportunity to have the prosecution waived if they rectified the problem and supplied evidence to Police.

Six people were given warnings. Constable Davis said officers noted that of the cyclists stopped during the operation, 31 were disqualified drivers. "They were doing the right things by taking an alternative means of transport".

It wasn't all bad news, he says. "At one stop, an elderly lady gave me an unused helmet she had from home to pass onto an eight-year old I'd just spoken to who didn't own a helmet at all. I passed it on to the child's mum who was very grateful. Good to see the community working together."

Notes:

• Eight cyclists were killed on New Zealand roads during 2012; while eight have been killed this year up to 28 August 2013. Half of the deaths this year to date have occurred in the Canterbury Police District.

• Over the last three years of available data (May 2010 - April 2013), NZTA data reveal that injured cyclists in Canterbury were spread across all ages, but with noticeable groupings for 13 - 18 year olds (16% of all injuries) and 21 - 24 year olds (10% of all injuries).

• Of note is that reported crashes involving cyclists have been found to be concentrated immediately before and after school/work on weekdays as well as Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

ENDS

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