Dunedin worst for crashes and casualties

Greg Sparrow.
Greg Sparrow.
Dunedin was the worst city in New Zealand for crashes and crash casualties in 2012, and also claimed the unenviable distinction of having had the most cycling fatalities during the year, Ministry of Transport statistics show.

That year two cyclists died in Dunedin - double the number of Wellington and Auckland, the only other metropolitan cities to record a cycling fatality.

Dunedin also recorded five fatalities on city roads that year, equal with Hamilton and behind two other centres, Christchurch (7) and Auckland (41).

In terms of crashes and casualties per 10,000 head of population the city had the highest metropolitan rate at 28 and 37 respectively.

However, city road safety partners, including the Dunedin City Council, police and the New Zealand Transport Agency, said a road safety action plan would help reduce fatal and serious road accidents.

Inspector Greg Sparrow said in the South there was a high level of reporting of crashes.

''In addition, the longer-term trend for the South and Dunedin Policing Area shows a reduction in the number of crashes and the number of people killed and injured on the roads.''

Driver behaviour, weather and road conditions and the local Dunedin environment were all possible factors in a crash, but partner agencies were working to reduce harm on city roads.

Police were targeting high-risk intersections and areas where speed was a risk to safe road use.

''With our road safety partners we have had a recent focus on cyclists and their need for high visibility on the roads. Police are always working to make the roads safer for all road users through education and enforcement.''

DCC acting group manager transportation Mike Harrison said the council was working to reduce harm through actions and intervention programmes ranging from education to infrastructure changes, safe speed limits and safe road use.

Examples of infrastructure improvements included cycleways in South Dunedin, state highway cycling improvements, intersection upgrades, new guardrails and road widening on Otago Peninsula.

The NZTA helped council with funding to improve cycling safety on the local road network, including building a shared cycle and pedestrian pathway on sections of Portobello Rd.

Last year cycle lanes through the city were widened and bollards installed to separate motorists from cyclists, while consultation had just closed on two separated cycle lane proposals for the one-way system through the city. Also more than half the 10km shared walking and cycling path on State Highway 88 between Dunedin and Port Chalmers had been completed.

Meanwhile, a separate cycling path had been provided as part of the four-laning of the SH1 Caversham bypass in Dunedin that opened in October 2012. 

 Crashes and casualties in 2012
   Pop  Injury Crashes
 Fatal Crashes
 Total injuries
 Total deaths
Crashes per 10,000
Casualties per 10,000
 1508  2859  40  3535  41  19  24
 Wellington  202.2  291  2  350  3  15  18
 Christchurch  363.1  838  7  1039  7  23  29
 Dunedin  126.9  353  5  459  5  28  37
 Waitaki  20.9  80  3  110  3  40  54
Central Otago
 18.6  56  3  85  5  32  49
 Qtown-Lakes  29.2  79  1  122  1  27  42
 Clutha  17.4  78  3  123  3  47  73
 Southland  29.8  124  2  205  2  42  70
 Gore  12.3  21  1  24  1  18  20
 Invercargill  52.9  108  4  128  4  21  25



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