Updated: country roads not safe

Update: Craig Goulsbro, 50, has died in Waikato Hospital following an accident on Puketaha Road on Monday at about 6.30pm.

Three other cyclists were injured.

The accident happened between the intersections with Sainsbury Rd and Gordonton Rd. The Waikato Times says it appears the driver of the Ford Falcon did not see all the cyclists when overtaking them and pulled back into the group of 14.

The cyclists were part of a group that held twice-weekly rides from Flagstaff business Bob’s Bikes. Craig Goulsbro, 50, was unconscious when he was taken to hospital, and he died on Wednesday.

The Times quoted Animal Lodge kennel and cattery resident Sharon, who said speed was a common problem down the long, largely straight road.

“They just hike along here. I was out the front the other day and one guy was just racing [past].”

Sharon, who has lived on the road for 15 years said the speed limit changed from 80kmh to 100kmh just past her front gate but many drivers were already travelling at least open road speed before they passed it.

“The road has just got busier and busier.”

In a follow-up story, Road Transport Association Waikato area executive Gary Masters told Times’ reporter Mike Mather that there were plenty of Waikato roads where cyclists simply should not go – and Puketaha Rd was one of them.

“You have a 2.8 metre-wide lane there with no shoulders. A truck takes up 2.5m and that leaves absolutely no room for mistakes.”

However, it was often not the amount of space towards the centre of the road the cyclists took up that was the problem – rather, it was the length of the groups of cyclists that posed the dangers.

“You get these groups of 15 to 20 cyclists all riding in single file and you tend to occasionally get a worm effect, where they start to sway back and forth.

“These groups of cyclists can be in a chain up to 50 to 60 metres long and that’s really dangerous. It is the same reason why they don’t let trucks drive four or five behind each other in a convoy – that’s illegal. You need to treat overtaking [the cyclists] as if you were overtaking another vehicle, and it can be a bloody long vehicle to overtake.”

Mr Masters said to make things safer for other road users, the cyclists should travel in groups of no more than five – and only ride on roads where there was “a decent shoulder” of room at each side.

An accident in Poihipi Rd in Taupo in March in which a woman rider was clipped by a passing truck and killed, was a chilling example of what could happen, he said. “I’m not saying it is all the cyclists’ fault. There are some ignorant buggers driving cars too. But the cyclists are going on planned outings. They need to put some caution and thought into where they are going.”

Read the full story in the Waikato Times here.

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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

2 thoughts on “Updated: country roads not safe

  • July 2, 2013 at 9:20 am

    The usual problem with vulnerable road users having to share the road with cars. This is far too common a story for both cyclists and pedestrians in New Zealand and the consequences of a moment’s inattention or a miscalculation on behalf of a driver are horrific, for all concerned. Rather than building roads that allow drivers to travel ever faster, we need to provide facilities that allow everyone to get safely to their destination. And building cycleways and walkways is a great deal cheaper than building huge highways.

  • July 2, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Well said Judy. Quite agree.


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