1 Oct 2014

Truck driver fined over cyclist's death

6:55 pm on 1 October 2014

A Christchurch truck driver has been ordered to pay more than $10,000 to the family of a cyclist he killed in April.

Sharla Haerewa, a 22-year-old nursing student, died when a truck driven by John Herridge cut across her path on Lincoln Road in April this year.

The 75-year-old pleaded guilty to careless driving causing Ms Haerewa's death.

He was sentenced in the Christchurch District Court to pay $10,000 in reparations and disqualified from driving for eight months.

Herridge's lawyer, Mark Callaghan, said his client did not see Ms Haerewa before the crash because she was in his blind spot.

He told Checkpoint Herridge was relieved it was all over.

"He's had some death threats. His wife has suffered some serious illness as a result.

"He's no longer working and he's just really a broken man."

A restorative justice meeting had been held and most of Ms Haerewa's family felt no animosity towards Herridge, Mr Callaghan said.

Cycle panel recommendations

Meanwhile, an independent cycling safety panel appointed by the New Zealand Transport Agency after a spate of deaths has recommended that the Government look at a law on minimum passing distances for vehicles overtaking bikes.

Road Transport Forum chief executive Ken Shirley said more bike lanes, better education and technology advances on heavy vehicles could help to cut the number of collisions between trucks and cyclists.

Mr Shirley told Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon programme many of the country's roads were not designed to be shared by cars, trucks and bikes.

"What we totally support with the panel is more separation and dedicated cycleways. The panel also identifies a need for education.

"I think they're a bit light on actual cycle education - we see some outrageous behaviour from cyclists - and a lack of appreciation of the blind spot, particularly with heavy vehicles."

The Government may need to consider allowing vehicles to cross no-overtaking lines if they were passing a bike, he said.

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