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Share the road, say cycling groups

5 October 2006


Share the road, say cycling groups

Cyclists are asking motorists and cyclists to better share the road after a spate of cyclist deaths and injury crashes.

National cycling organisation BikeNZ today called for nationwide campaigns to educate motorists and cyclists on how to co-exist safely on the road.

BikeNZ Chief Executive Rodger Thompson said "These recent crashes don't tell us that cycling is necessarily unsafe, but they do show an urgent need for changes in driver and cyclist behaviour."

BikeNZ's member organisations also want to see action. Mark Ireland, President of road and track body Cycling NZ, said "I am very concerned with the current behaviour of some of the general public and motorists towards cyclists and with daylight saving having arrived, there are many more cyclists out on the road and greater potential for unpleasant incidents."

Recent incidents involving competitive cyclists have included a bunch of riders in Te Awamutu being hit from behind, and Tauranga cyclists being threatened with a baseball bat and assaulted.

The chairperson of the Cycling Advocates' Network (CAN), Robert Ibell, said that very few motorists actually deliberately set out to harm cyclists. "Many motorists are unsure about how they should behave around cyclists. CAN is concerned that driver training and licensing doesn't deal with this."

"Motorists and cyclists both need to use the roads wisely and safely, but motor vehicles pose a much greater risk. That means that motorists have an extra duty of care." said Mr Ibell.

With increasing numbers of commuter, recreational and competitive cyclists, BikeNZ is calling for the Government to fund and co-ordinate a nationwide Share the Road campaign, including television advertising. It also wants to see all New Zealand children receiving cycling skills training at school.

"We welcome a Land Transport New Zealand initiative to pilot a best practice training course and look to the Government to fund its rollout around the country." said Rodger Thompson.

BikeNZ has committed itself to help educate its members and other cyclists. It will also be talking to Government agencies, the AA and the Road Transport Forum about ways to get messages to motorists.

According to BikeNZ, Transit NZ and local authorities have an important part to play by ensuring there's enough space for both cyclists and motorists, and by educating road users.

BikeNZ has some simple tips for motorists and cyclists. Some of the most important are:
- work on your cycling skills
- know the road rules and follow them
- ride predictably, in as smooth a line as possible
- Signal your intended moves in traffic
- ride at least a metre out from parked cars
- occupy the lane where your safety requires it
- wear easily visible clothing and use lights at night
- ride in single file where riding two abreast creates an obstruction

- indicate turns and avoid overtaking a cyclist just before turning
- leave at least 1.5 metres between you and a cyclist when overtaking
- if there's no room to overtake a cyclist safely, wait
- slow down and give cyclists a wide berth when overtaking on the open road
- check behind you before opening car doors (both sides)
- keep your speed down when visibility is bad (such as when sun is in your eyes) or there are lots of cyclists and pedestrians around
- know where your blind spots are, specially in trucks, vans or buses


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