Wendy Collard says Barnes Dance crossings may have
prevented her mother from being killed by a truck. Photo by
A tearful Dunedin City Council staff member clutched a
photograph of her late mother as she made an emotional plea for
Barnes Dance pedestrian crossings in the city yesterday.
Wendy Collard, a council governance support officer, was
speaking from tragic personal experience, after her mother
was struck and killed by a truck while crossing on an
inner-city pedestrian crossing in 2008.
She was the first submitter to speak at the start of the
council's draft transport strategy hearing in Dunedin
Mrs Collard told the hearing she wanted Barnes Dance
crossings reintroduced at busy city intersections, giving
pedestrians the right to cross in all directions at once in
She acknowledged that could lead to short delays for
motorists, ''but nobody died from waiting''.
''I am not here for your sympathy. I truly believe that if
this busy intersection had been a Barnes dance crossing, my
mum would be alive today.
''I believe that Barnes Dance crossing are safer ... They
allow pedestrians to cross the road without fear of cars
coming at them and allow cars to use the intersection without
fear of pedestrians crossing when they shouldn't.''
Her 64-year-old mother, Shirley Heads, had been fit and
healthy and only days from retirement when the accident
happened on April 28, 2008.
She had stepped out of her office to run an errand, only to
be hit by the truck and trailer unit while using the
crossing, and died at the scene.
The driver did not realise what had happened until told
later, after arriving at his destination, and later pleaded
not guilty to driving charges, forcing Mrs Collard and her
family to relive the trauma in court before a guilty verdict,
''No matter how hard I expected it to be, it was much, much
worse ... It was very traumatic and will stay with me
She urged subcommittee members to consider Barnes Dance
crossings, saying any cost and inconvenience would be worth