Shock at cyclists' deaths in New Zealand

Two cyclists were killed this week on New Zealand roads during a national cycling awareness week....

Two cyclists were killed this week on New Zealand roads during a national cycling awareness week. Hilary Evelyn Howard, 57, of Hvelock North was killed instantly on Saturday in Taupo while riding with her husband according to the New Zealand Herald. An elderly cyclist from Matamata was killed Friday night.

"Both crashes occurred during what was otherwise a very successful Nationwide Bike Wise Week," says Cycling Advocates´ Network (CAN) spokesperson Stephen McKernon. "We cannot imagine how distressed the motorists concerned must feel. It is a great tragedy that a few seconds of inattention by motorists can lead to two cyclists deaths." Three other cyclists were injured in different accidents.

"The two of these cyclists were struck from behind in Taupo, during the week of a local campaign to educate motorists about sharing the road safely with cyclists. Another was struck from behind in Matamata,” says Mr. McKernon. "The problem is that motorists can forget roads are for everybody. Most motorists understand this and are treating cyclists with respect, as about a third of motorists are also cyclists. We can only hope that motorists and cyclists nationwide appreciate the tragedy and are reminded to share the road in safety.”

The New Zealand Rode Code reminds motorists that many vehicles are smaller and slower than today’s cars. It calls for special care around cyclists, who will always come off worse in a crash, and instructs motorists to leave a minimum gap of 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists, and more on the open road. It also emphasises that if a cyclist can’t be overtaken safely, the motorist must wait behind until it is safe to do so, just as with any other slower vehicle.

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