Cyclists are asking motorists and cyclists alike to share the road better after a spate of cyclist deaths and injuries. National cycling organisation BikeNZ today called for nationwide campaigns to educate motorists and cyclists on how to co-exist safely on the road. BikeNZ Chief Executive Rodger Thompson said, "These recent crashes don't tell us that cycling is necessarily unsafe, but they do show an urgent need for changes in driver and cyclist behaviour."
BikeNZ's member organisations also want to see action. Mark Ireland, President of road and track body Cycling NZ, said, "I am very concerned with the current behaviour of some of the general public and motorists towards cyclists and with daylight saving having arrived, there are many more cyclists out on the road and greater potential for unpleasant incidents."
Recent incidents involving competitive cyclists have included a group of riders in Te Awamutu being hit from behind, and Tauranga cyclists being threatened with a baseball bat and assaulted. The chairperson of the Cycling Advocates' Network (CAN), Robert Ibell, said that very few motorists actually deliberately set out to harm cyclists. "Many motorists are unsure about how they should behave around cyclists. CAN is concerned that driver training and licensing doesn't deal with this."
With increasing numbers of commuter, recreational and competitive cyclists, BikeNZ is calling for the Government to fund and co-ordinate a nationwide Share the Road campaign, including television advertising. It also wants to see all New Zealand children receiving cycling skills training at school.