As reported in the news on Tuesday, another cyclist has died after a collision with a truck in Auckland, at the intersection of Parnell Rise and The Strand, northeast of the City Centre.
Our feelings are with family and friends of the dead cyclist. Whatever the actual causes of the crash (and it is too early to do more than wild speculation), authorities need to do A LOT MORE to prevent such incidents.
And that is where we need to focus attention on Auckland Transport and NZTA. Over 2 years ago, another cyclist died not far from the location of Tuesday’s fatality, at the intersection of The Strand / Quay Street. It didn’t make the news like Jane Bishop’s death, because the woman cyclist died several weeks later in hospital, and the RWC was distracting everyone. (Editorial update and correction – the woman did not die. She required extensive hospital care and was left with serious injuries which have life limiting impact)
Since then, we have seen numerous intersection improvement plans being discussed back and forth by the two authorities responsible for these roads*. We keep hearing that cycle facilities will be built “soon”, or “this summer” (the latest undefined date) but things get pushed back and nothing happens. Will the same thing happen again?
This is an impossible state. We used to say “somebody has to be killed for something to happen” – do we have to change that to “somebody has to be killed for people to notice that nothing happens“?
Interestingly, a month or so ago, a report commissioned by Auckland Transport and NZTA was completed on walking & cycling improvements for Stanley Street / The Strand. While the proposed changes in the report would have our full support, we have heard through the grapevine that many of the changes would meet strong resistance from those worried it might impact on vehicle traffic. It will be interesting to see what priorities the road authorities place on walking and cycling safety vs Port traffic efficiency.
What else is new? Just another gravestone.
As we said, it is not clear yet what caused Tuesday’s cycle death. However, whoever or whatever cause is to blame, our cycle injury and fatality levels are way too high, SEVERAL TIMES above the best-practice rates from Europe.
We have already made our New Year call for commitment and leadership in Auckland Transport to deliver more, faster for cycling this year.
We will also be underway soon working with others from the transport sector on the NZTA’ s national cycling safety project. It will report mid’ year. It needs to produce a new paradigm and investment regime for cycling safety that will be seen and felt throughout NZ in 2015.
[Stanley Street and The Strand are part of State Highway 16, and as such part of NZTA’s network, though shared with AT].