Sad news from Auckland

While I don’t like posting about cycling deaths, I feel that it is worth sharing some of the comments made after the recent death of a cyclist in Parnell. It isn’t clear what happened yet, but having cycled through this intersection a few times last year, I can say it is pretty darn scary – I opted for riding on the footpath – and it is clear something needs to be done about it.

It’s good to hear some assertive language being used with regards to the need and demand for proper cycle infrastructure. It’s sad that another persons life has been lost, because councils and roading authorities have been mucking about, prioritising anything else (trucks getting from the port to the motorway in this case) over peoples safety.

It’s worth reading the Cycle Action Auckland post and also the blog post by entrepreneur Lance Wiggs, who arrived at the scene soon after the incident. I’ve quickly pulled some salient quotes from these posts, in case you don’t have the time to read these articles in full (below).

From Cycle Action Auckland:

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“?

…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.

And from Lance Wiggs:

Today’s accident was, like all accidents, preventable. Like all accidents the root and contributing causes of the accident will be varied and troublesome, but are also able to be eliminated. However like all cycle accidents in NZ they likely won’t be, and we should all be very angry and upset about this…

It’s an election year, and this is a great time for all parties and candidates to take a tough stand. Cycling and work safety are not Green, Red, Blue or other party-affiliated issues, but ones that offer benefits across the board. Improving cycling safety and work safety generates more retail and manufacturing revenue, saves on medical expenses, prolongs lives, saves money for individuals and families and delivers better environmental outcomes. It’s cheaper than building roads and rail, and will make it far safer for our children to walk and cycle to school. It seems obvious, and will attract a decent number of voters looking for a better life.

It’s a great time for us voters to ask the candidates and existing MPs what they are doing about safety on the streets and work, but we also need to ask and apply pressure to the recently elected mayors and councillors to follow through on their promises. I am particularly concerned with Auckland and Wellington mayors and councils, who have delivered little for cyclists on a mandate of change. Too many people are dead and I think we would all like to see a genuine sense of urgency before more people die.


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