15 Feb 2013

Cycling group opposes mandatory high-visibility clothing

6:55 am on 15 February 2013

A Coroner's call to make high visibility clothing compulsory for cyclists has been criticised by a cycling advocates group which says it is a misguided idea and would not reduce deaths on the road.

Wellington coroner Ian Smith made the recommendation in his report into the death of the country's top roading policeman.

Stephen Fitzgerald, 57, died after being clipped by a truck at a roundabout at Petone, near Wellington, in June 2008. It was dusk, and Mr Fitzgerald was wearing reflective strips on his clothing and pack, and had bike lights on.

The truck driver, Desmond Wilson, was found guilty of careless driving in 2009.

Cyclists Advocates Network spokesperson Patrick Morgan says says there is no evidence to support high-visibility clothing and suggests New Zealand would become a laughing stock if it did make it compulsory.

The Coroner also recommended making it compulsory for cyclists to use cycle lanes, but Mr Morgan says they shouldn't be made to use them when so many are in such poor condition.

Mr Smith is also reminding motorists to leave a one-metre gap when passing cyclists and for cycle lane rules to be made more clear.