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One day – two Wellington region cycling deaths

  • June 20th, 2008

The tragic loss of Superintendent Steve Fitzgerald at a Petone round-about, and the earlier Upper Hutt death of a cyclist  who ran into a van door being opened, highlight the risks of road cycling. I’m not sure whether either of these particular losses could have been avoided with decent cycle lanes, but until they become a focus these tragedies will help keep people in cars.

The truth is, cars feel like safe cocoons. And in comparison with other ways of being outside your home, especially after dark, or on a per km travelled basis, they probably are much safer. Until that changes, cars will always be preferred by most.

Increasing safety for the alternatives would save the planet more than any amount of public transport subsidy, or advertising rhetoric, or forced concentration into rat-nest housing near "transport hubs".

Women in particular do not want to risk a 300m walk from the bus-stop to home after dark, so public transport is underused outside peak hours.

People stay in cars who’d prefer to cycle. Though some will not cycle because they don’t like hat hair all day from their helmets, for others it is simply a risk assessment.

Yesterday’s deaths might be some impetus to reduce the risk.




Fat lot of good those bike helmets made, eh. Far better to separate the traffic streams.

As for the bus stop fear factor, perhaps some form of walking bus for women might be in order? Or learn some self defence and stop feeling afraid.

  • jcuknz
  • June 21st, 2008
  • 11:36 am

My son who has either got to or is close to black belt level says that he believes that being able to run is a much better defence than the martial art. He also does marathon stuff too 🙂

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