16 Jun 2012

Cyclist's mother wants older drivers regularly tested

5:40 am on 16 June 2012

The mother of a cyclist killed in a collision with a car has made a plea for older drivers to be regularly tested.

Benjamin Lawless, 22, died when his bike and a car driven by Yvonne Van Roy, who is in her early 60s, collided in the Wellington suburb of Karori in January 2011.

An inquest into the death began at the Wellington District Court on Friday.

His mother, Susan Lawless, said drivers are going through many physical changes as they age, which can affect driving competency and not testing older drivers is negligent.

"There are no checks and controls for drivers, other than an eyesight check very infrequently - 10 years to start with.

"And then only with drivers who get into the 75 age plus group are skills-based checking coming into force. Yet many drivers are undergoing marked physical and cognitive changes long before this age."

Mrs Lawless also said the layout of the intersection was partly to blame and the Wellington City Council needs to address the problem.

Patrick Morgan, on behalf of the Cycling Advocates Network, told the inquest he believes there needs to be more awareness around what it is like to be a cyclist on New Zealand roads.

In February this year, Van Roy, an associate accounting professor at Victoria University, was disqualified from driving for nine months and ordered to pay the victim's family more than $37,000.