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Cyclists in an 'undeclared civil war'

Published: 2:16PM Sunday December 05, 2010 Source: ONE News

Hundreds of cyclists rallied in Auckland today to call for improved road safety.
Around 350 cyclists gathered at Queen's Wharf following a horror month in which five cyclists were killed in as many days.

Roger Wolfe's wife Kay was one of three who died last month when a car crossed a centreline and crashed into a group of cyclists in Morrinsville.

Speaking out for the first time since his wife's death, Wolfe said he wanted to make a difference, and to ensure her life was not lost in vain.

"We're not statistics, we're not numbers, we are families, and a lot of people are affected when someone dies."

Cycle Action Auckland's Barbara Cuthbert says cyclists are not getting their fair share of the roading budget.

The rally called for connected cycle lanes on all busy city roads, and for shoulders on key rural roads, along with on-road cycling training in schools and a new public education campaign.

There were calls for a change in attitude from drivers too.

Auckland Transport Committee Chair Mike Lee describes the relationship between drivers and cyclists as "an undeclared civil war".

He called on local and central government to bring that war to an end.

However an increase in government spending seems unlikely.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce said he was "quite comfortable" with the amounts being spent.

"We're investing hugely in the separation of cyclists from other road users on the heaviest and largest roads."

"But the simple reality is with 94,000 kilometres of road, we're never going to do enough to separate the road users from each other."

Coroners' inquiries are being held into the recent deaths and into cycling safety in general. The minister said that the government will act upon any recommendations.

Action at a local level may be quicker in coming.

Mary Bishop was killed on Auckland's Tamaki Drive when she swerved to avoid a car door opening.

Auckland Transport has already removed the parking spaces in the area, and cyclists say more positive changes like this are needed.