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New study reveals most dangerous streets for cyclists

Published: 7:07PM Thursday February 07, 2013 Source: ONE News

A new study which has revealed the country's most dangerous streets for cyclists has prompted a call to improve infrastructure around cycle lanes.

Swerving to avoid car doors has always been a common hazard for cyclists and now an online map developed by University of Otago shows where they are most at risk.

University of Otago professor and injury prevention researcher Hank Weiss said the map can also help show what might need to be changed on a street.

"They can also drill down and go into street view and see what the street might have looked like at the time of the crash," he said.

"They get an understanding of what the infrastructure was like and what might need to be changed."

The study of 245 accidents in the four years to 2011 showed clusters of accidents in urban areas.

Auckland's notorious Tamaki Drive, Waterloo Quay and Jervois Quay in Wellington and Riccarton Road in Christchurch were among the worst streets.

The study was launched after British nurse Mary Jane Bishop was killed swerving to avoid a car door on Tamaki Drive and it is hoped it will lead to better cycle safety.

"Should we have separated lanes in some areas where thats going to work?" said Weiss.

"Can we slow cars down, can we offer more buffered protection between the road and the parked cars and where the cyclist is? And can we have alternative routes that people can think about?"

New Zealand Transport Agency spokesman Andy Knackstedt said the agency is working closely with councils to "make we're addressing the needs in their cities and their towns and putting in place the solutions that will work".

In the meantime NZTA's advice to motorists is to park as close as possible to the curb and always look before opening a car door.