25 Jul 2012

Cycling group tells inquest death was preventable

3:30 pm on 25 July 2012

A cycling advocacy group has told an inquest that Auckland Council's failure to implement any recommendations in a report four years earlier played a large part in a cyclist's death.

The final stage of a joint inquest into a number of cycling deaths in 2010 began in Auckland on Wednesday.

Coroner Gordon Matenga is hearing about the death of Jane-Mary Bishop, 27, who was hit on Tamaki Drive on the Auckland waterfront.

Cyclewatch Auckland spokesperson Bevan Woodward told the Court he wrote a report warning about the lack of room for cyclists on Tamaki Drive in 2006.

Mr Woodward says the council told him it could not implement any of the measures because of budget restraints.

He says Ms Bishop's death was a consequence of low priority given to cyclist safety by roading authorities.

Auckland Transport told the Court it is looking at introducing a cycle path where Ms Bishop was hit.

In earlier evidence a motorist involved in the death of Ms Bishop said he checked his mirrors before opening his door.

Ms Bishop died after falling beneath an on-coming truck when trying to avoid a parked car's opening door.

Glenn Becker says he looked in his interior and outside mirrors before opening the door but did not see Ms Bishop.

He says his door was about half open when he heard a large skid and was struck by Ms Bishop and her bike.

He was charged with careless driving causing death but the judge dismissed the case earlier this year.

The inquest began last July in Palmerston North where two cyclists died, followed by Hamilton in November, where three cyclists died, and last month in Wellington, where a young man was hit.

It was ordered by Chief Coroner Judge Neil McLean to help establish what lessons can be learned to avoid similar incidents.