24 May 2011

Coroner to investigate cyclists' deaths

7:42 pm on 24 May 2011

The Waikato coroner is to investigate whether there are any common trends in the deaths of eight cyclists, in a bid to prevent further tragedies.

Gordon Matenga has decided against holding a single hearing and will instead travel to inquests in four separate regions, which he says will allow family members and witnesses to attend and lead to greater input from the cycling community.

The first hearing, for two people, will be held in Palmerston North on 21 July. Others hearings will take place in Hamilton, Auckland and Wellington.

Mr Matenga says the deaths are an absolute tragedy and everything possible must be done to uncover any lessons or measures that can help avoid them in the future.

Auckland's Cycle Action group spokesperson, Barbara Cuthbert, says it is a valuable opportunity for local people to pass on their knowledge.

The Coroner says there have been 34 bicycle fatalities involving vehicles since 2007, with 10 of those cases still open.