Waikato coroner Gordon Matenga has announced that he will travel to four separate regions of New Zealand to hear evidence about the deaths of eight cyclists killed on NZ roads in the last year.
According to the Coroner’s minutes, the inquests have been requested by the Chief Coroner Judge Neil MacLean in order to investigate any commonalities among the eight dire accidents and to consider potential preventative measure to avoid such tragedies in the future. The judge appointed Coroner Matenga after the deaths of three riders near Morrinsville. When the toll climbed, Coroner Matenga was asked to pursue inquiries into all eight, including the death of Ben Lawless of Karori, who was hit and killed by a motorist in January.
The coroner decided to travel to each of the regions impacted by these deaths so that he could hear from victims’ families and witnesses as well as cycling advocates from the areas. Although this is a desperately sad foundation on which to continue the conversation about the safety of cycling, it also presents a special opportunity for cycling advocates to share their ample knowledge about safely sharing the roads, improving bike paths and evolving driver training to account for vulnerable road users.
The inquiry into the Karori accident has not been scheduled as the prosecution of the motorist is ongoing. The next court date in the matter is scheduled for June 9.