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Waikato cycle crashes: Police urge drivers to be more social

Police urge road users to be more social following Waikato cycle crashes

Two days after a teenager was knocked off his bike on his way to school, Waikato Police are urging drivers and cyclists alike to treat the regions roads more like a social environment and less like a competitive environment.

District Road Policing Manager, Inspector Freda Grace, said the call comes after a 17-year-old male suffered a fractured wrist after being knocked off his bike at a busy Hamilton intersection on Wednesday.

"This isn't about assigning blame, it's about trying to raise people's awareness.

That intersection is often congested and drivers, pedestrians and cyclists often test the boundaries in a rush to get to or from work or school."

The victim, 17-year-old Jonathan McAdam, was heading east along Bridge St on Wednesday morning when a car turned in front of him turning off Bridge St on to Memorial Dr.

"My bike's front wheel collided about where her passenger side rear wheel was, I was knocked off my bike but luckily I was wearing a helmet which prevented me suffering a head injury.

"The driver stopped and came back to check I was alright.

My front wheel was a bit buckled so I straightened it but decided to walk the rest of the way to Boys' High.

It was only later my arm was a bit sore so I went to the sick bay and from there to hospital where I found out my wrist was fractured."

Commending the driver for stopping, Mrs Grace said Police weren't aware of the crash and the woman would not have known about the injury Jonathan suffered, she also acknowledged he was wearing a cycle helmet and agreed with the cyclist that this probably saved him from more serious injury.

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"Wednesday's crash was just the latest in a series of incidents that have left cyclists with critical to moderate injuries on Waikato roads and it is the Police's objective to try and prevent this trend.

"The first incident saw a 77-year-old cyclist suffer critical injuries in Waihi when the driver of a Mazda car travelling in the same direction drifted to the left and collided with the rider on Saturday."

The next incident reported to Police happened about 8.30am on Tuesday and Police say it demonstrates poor decision making by both parties that left an innocent person badly shaken and a cyclist seriously hurt.

"In this incident the driver of a westbound truck heading towards Hamilton's CBD has cut off a 45-year-old male cyclist on Boundary Rd as it headed towards the Whitiora Bridge.

"Enraged, the cyclist has strained to keep up with the truck as it crossed the bridge and slowed at traffic lights.

While the truck has stopped behind a Volkswagen car the cyclist has pulled up and began banging on the passenger side door of the truck.

"In an effort to avoid the attentions of the cyclist the truck driver has attempted to pull around the stationary VW but so intent on getting his point across, the cyclist has grabbed the truck and been pulled around with it, ending up being pinned between both vehicles."

Mrs Grace said the cyclist was taken to Waikato Hospital by ambulance with a suspected broken leg.
"Meanwhile the innocent driver of the VW was left shaken and with a badly damaged car.

The driver of the truck is facing enforcement action for the earlier cutting off of the cyclist but in reality, if the cyclist hadn't reacted the way he did he wouldn't have been injured and the car driver would not have been affected.

"We need to look at treating the road as a shared space.

Here we have three incidents in less than a week when motorists and cyclists have collided.

Instead of being confrontational we should be more considerate of those we share the road with."

Mrs Grace said yesterday's incident highlights the value of cycle helmets and while Saturday's incident is still under investigation by the Serious Crash Unit, anything that cyclists and pedestrians can do to make themselves more visible or be better protected was recommended.

"What we're talking about here is ensuring you have an NZ Safety approved cycle helmet, that you have hi-vis or bright clothing and if you're driving, that your vehicle is up to Warrant of Fitness standards and has working headlights.

"With day light saving not far off we are heading towards another period of low-light high volume road use and it is up to everyone using Waikato roads to do their part to keep themselves and others safe."


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