19 Nov 2010

Inquest into cycling safety now likely - chief coroner

4:22 pm on 19 November 2010

The chief coroner says an inquest into cycling safety is now likely, with a hearing possibly looking at up to 10 deaths.

Five cyclists have died in less than a week, with the Cycle Action group saying not enough is being done to stop cyclists being killed on New Zealand roads.

Judge Neil McLean was already considering holding a joint inquest for three cyclists killed during the weekend and says the two latest fatalities have strengthened his resolve for a coronial hearing.

He says there have been 34 bicycle fatalities involving vehicles since mid 2007, with 10 of those cases, including the recent deaths, still open.

Judge McLean says there are enough cases that it might warrant getting one coroner to pull as many of them together as possible for a joint inquest.

He says they would also include findings and recommendations from the other closed cases as part of the inquest.

Judge McLean says looking at a number of cases, and seeing if there are similar patterns, may make the process better.

He says he would like the hearing to be completed within a year.

Council looking at Tamaki blackspot

Auckland Council says it will consider moving parking areas on Tamaki Drive to make a blackspot where a cyclist died safer.

Jane Bishop, 27, died on Wednesday night after she fell beneath an oncoming truck while trying to avoid an opening door on a parked car.

Andrew Allen of the council controlled organisation Auckland Transport says it is looking at widening the footpath space in the area Ms Bishop died and discussed with police on Friday the possibility of moving parking.

Mr Allen says Auckland Transport will look at installing a boardwalk structure over the sea-wall to get additional footpath space, so cyclists can get off the road in that area.

He says it will also look at improving the Tamaki Drive and Ngapihi Road intersection, possibly installing traffic signals.

Boy cyclist in hospital

A boy is in a critical condition after being knocked off his bike by a car in Hastings.

Police say Peter Cowan, 15, was riding south on State Highway 2 when he was hit by an oncoming car as he was turning right into Longlands Road about 6pm on Thursday.

Meanwhile, a girl, Jacqueline Wyatt, 12, remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital after falling under the trailer of a truck while cycling to school in Blenheim on Thursday.