Car V. Cycle Crashes

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Car V. Cycle Crashes

We see the results of car accidents every day, some are minor but others are tragedies for those involved and for their families & fiends. Few are worse than those involving a car versus a cyclist. This image is real. It’s at the extreme end of ‘car V. bicycle’ but not unique, and a number of recent NZ examples have high-lighted the growing problem. One example involved the five top members of a school-girl cycle team and their coach, who were hit near Taupiri while training for a major competition. All sustained serious injuries and were hospitalised. THE CAR WAS AT FAULT.

Cyclists have a number of risk factors that do not affect car drivers. The main ones are decreased stability and a much lower level of protection than is given by a car. In addition, a cycle is less visible to other road users than a motor vehicle. These factors, combined with the condition of the road environment, give cyclists a high level of risk per time unit travelled, although surprisingly this risk is significantly lower than that for motorcyclists.

Cycle use is increasing in NZ, and the problem of ‘car V. cycle’ is significant and growing. Currently around 1.2million kiwis own a bicycle, 750,000 are regular users and around 38,00 commute during rush-hour. Not surprisingly, this is the peak period for ‘car V. cycle’ incidents, and last year over a thousand accidents were reported including many fatalities.

Though there could be fault on both sides, it is clear that some aggressive kiwi driver behaviours put cyclists at increased risk. Please remember that cyclists have as much right to use our roads as you do (yes, we’ve heard the “but they don’t pay road-tax argument” – bicycles take up a tiny space, cause no congestion and no pollution so get over it). All parties need to keep their eyes open, and maintain at least 1.5 meters between car and bike, a cyclists life may depend on it.

5 Responses

  1. BruceB
    | Reply

    Theres another view to this. Bikes are a menace on the road, they think they own it, run red lights and cut in front of cars. Drivers would get arrested for the way these guys drive! Then they cry when they get hit. they need to take more responsibility.

  2. Crash Management
    | Reply

    Thanks for your comments Bruce, and valid concerns. We’ve certainly seen panel and paint damage caused to client’s cars by cyclists as they weave through cars especially at traffic lights. We think the point is though that although cars can suffer cosmetic collision damage when nudged by a cyclist, cars hitting bicycles can kill riders.

  3. Suze
    | Reply

    Ignorant opinion Bruce. I’ve run tow trucks for many years and have seen a lot of car accidents including crashes with bikes and a few fatalities. Stop playing the blame game and realise drivers have a responsibility to protect pedestrians, bikes, other vehicles and themselves to drive safely and avoid smashes. The salvage and panelbeating industries probably won’t want to hear that but car crashes have to stop. Good post though Crash Management and great service to drivers generally thanks.

  4. Brenda
    | Reply

    If all NZ roads had cycle lanes on the far left of the road, and cyclists stayed within these boundaries,there would be fewer cyclists injured. Many years ago now, I falied to check my driver’s exterior mirror before opening my driver’s door, while parked on the side of the road to an oncoming cyclist . Fortunately for him, and I, he only suffered being severely winded, but the experience was enough to make us both far more aware how important it is, to check your mirrors before getting out of a car! You don’t have to be driving to cause an accident!

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