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LTSA wants a crash-free bike to work day

LTSA online
With National Bike to Work Day happening this Wednesday (February 21), the Land Transport Safety Authority is reminding motorists of their duty to share the roads with cyclists.

"Cycling is a healthy and environmentally friendly way to get to work, and it doesn't have to be dangerous if drivers remember their obligations to other road users," said Director of Land Transport Safety David Wright.

Those obligations include giving cyclists extra room at intersections and roundabouts, not driving or parking in cycle lanes and keeping an eye out for cyclists in general.

"Bicycles are small and can be hard to see, especially at night - it isn't enough just to look for cars and trucks. And remember that cyclists are blinded by headlights on full beam, just as drivers are," Mr Wright said.

"Of course, cyclists have to hold up their end of the bargain as well. That includes wearing a helmet at all times, as well as acting responsibly. Bicycles are vehicles too, and motorists have the right to expect that they'll obey traffic signals and other rules of the road."

On average, 14 cyclists have been killed and 680 injured on New Zealand roads in each of the last five years. The majority of cycle crashes occur at intersections or driveways. Two cyclists have been killed on New Zealand roads so far this year.

Mr Wright said more cycling deaths and injuries can be avoided if motorists and cyclists think about their duties to each other.

"All we're asking is that people exercise a bit of patience and extend a little courtesy. If we do this and respect cyclists' right to be on the road, everyone can get to and from work safely - on Bike to Work Day and every day."

Cycling facts:

 There are an estimated 750,000 bikes in New Zealand.
 43% of New Zealanders own a bike.
 On-road cycling in New Zealand decreased by 19% from 1989/90 to 1997/98. But there has been an increase in cycling among the 20-24 age group. Trips to and from work account for 40% of this age group's cycling.
 There were 1,539 hospital admissions for cycle injuries in 1998
 Two-thirds of all cycle crashes involving a motor vehicle happen at intersections or driveways.

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