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More Hutt cyclists in accidents despite their safe riding

Oct 9th, 2010 | By | Category: Featured Article, Front Page Layout, News

cycleMAINHUTT cyclists have been given a tick for their safe behaviour – but the number in accidents is rising.

A police campaign that checked on cyclists last month found the majority comply with the law.

However, accidents involving cyclists last year were up 50% on the same period in 1999, and the fact 23 cyclists in Lower Hutt were injured illustrates the need to stay vigilant, says Hutt City Council’s road safety coordinator, Jan Simmons.

Police found all but one cycle commuter using fluoro jackets, backpack covers, extra lights and reflectorised bands, and accessories to make themselves more visible to motorists.

By law, all bicycles require a steady or flashing rear-facing red light and either a white or yellow headlight visible from 100m away.

Cyclists also need a rear red or yellow reflector and reflective clothing or pedal reflectors.

“Drivers aren’t always looking carefully and, as well as being required to by law, it’s just common sense to do everything you can to make sure you stand out,” says Ms Simmons.

Road policing supervisor Marc Clausen says cyclists face a $55 fine if found without these required lights or a helmet.

Police gave those who were not compliant 14 days to get the right equipment and if they came into the station to prove they had done so their fines were waived.

It was not all one-way communication, because police received feedback from cyclists.

The pedallers were pleased with the police effort in keeping cars out of the bus lane and appreciated new signs on State Highway 2 warning motorists of cyclists.

They expressed concern at a number of environmental issues which create hurdles on their rides around the area.

Some had to repair punctures caused by glass on the road or debris that accumulated on the side of the road and was not swept away.

The campaign was supported by Celsius Cafe Petone and Lower Hutt retailer Avanti Plus Cycles, which provided discount vouchers to cyclists found without adequate lights.

cycle2Police saw seven cyclists not wearing cycle helmets, one person did not have any lights on the bike at all, and on three occasions riders were more than two abreast or on a footpath.

They did, however, find 73 cyclists who met all the requirements.

Statistics show Hutt cyclists should not be complacent when it comes to visibility on the roads.

Last year there were 23 cyclists injured on Hutt City’s roads, up 50% on 10 years ago.

Most of the accidents happen at intersections and roundabouts and cyclists need to consider their side-on visibility.

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