Fatal intersection had been awaiting cycle improvements, says Hamilton mayor

Emergency services at the scene of the crash on Monday.

CHRISTEL YARDLEY/STUFF

Emergency services at the scene of the crash on Monday.

The intersection where a cyclist died after colliding with a truck was on a program of ‘low risk low cost’ improvements – but hadn’t gone ahead as it was awaiting funding.

The crash happened at the intersection of Tristram and London streets outside Seddon Park at 8am on Monday. The spot that has no cycle lanes or other infrastructure – features which an advocate says could have helped prevent such an incident.

A witness, who arrived at the scene before the police, said a truck had stopped a little way up Norton Rd with a pushbike under a wheel.

“It was in pieces, all crunched up around the wheel. It looked as if the truck dragged the bike.

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“The police were quick to cover up the area.”

The circumstances of the crash are under investigation.

The road was closed and diversions were in place until it reopened early afternoon.

Hamilton mayor Paula Southgate said the council had put in an ambitious amount of funding in the long term plan to support cycling infrastructure and improvements.

“Especially at the most dangerous intersections and we’re committed to that, we really want to avoid these kinds of tragedies.

Hamilton mayor Paula Southgate said the council had put funding into support cycling infrastructure (file photo).

Christel Yardley/Stuff

Hamilton mayor Paula Southgate said the council had put funding into support cycling infrastructure (file photo).

“We want to make Hamilton the safest city to move around.”

Southgate said that Tristram St intersection is part of the low risk low cost project, but the work hasn’t been undertaken due to waiting on notification of Waka Kotahi funding.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to make the most dangerous intersections for cyclists safer.

“There’s a lot of work to be done across our city, it’s really a challenge to retrofit an old city for cycling when it wasn’t built for cycling. But we shouldn’t have to wait for a tragedy to make those changes.”

Cycling advocate Melissa Smith said there was no cycling infrastructure at the site of the accident, and it just highlights the need for any cycle infrastructure.

“We have been calling for a long time for the council and government to put in infrastructure that prevents this type of accident from happening.

“If there had been separate cycle paths, or dedicated cycle lights at the intersection then this could have very easily been prevented and prevented the trauma for the driver and the cyclist’s family.”

She said it’s really important for city centers to be friendly towards those on two wheels and also pedestrians.

“Where there is no dedicated space for cycling, drivers can get very frustrated with having to share the road with cyclists. And as a cyclist I can say it can be very frightening to share the road with cars, especially at high speeds.

“So just give us that separation and keep us both safe and keep both of us able to get to where we are going conveniently and safely.”

A spokesperson from Semco, the company whose truck was involved in the crash, said they had spoken with the driver of the truck who they said was “not good”.

The company was going through the necessary processes with police.

“I’ve spoken with the driver, what’s happened has happened, and we need to go through the process.”

The company was planning to contact the rider’s family at some point.

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