Cyclist died after crash metres from his home

Cyclist Russell Frankum was killed in a crash last Thursday on Brougham St. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Cyclist Russell Frankum was killed in a crash last Thursday on Brougham St. Photo: Geoff Sloan
A cyclist who died last week after being hit by a van on a busy Christchurch road was just “metres away” from his home.

Russell Frankum, aged in his 50s, suffered critical injuries when he was struck close to where he lived on Brougham St.

The crash happened near the intersection of the Southern Motorway and Simeon St just before 8pm on September 17. He later died.

His father, Michael Frankum, brought him to New Zealand from England 45 years ago "for a better life".

"You can understand this happening in London but not in New Zealand, the traffic volume here is nothing compared to London," he said.

Michael Frankum’s wife Mata Frankum said the crash occurred "metres away" from Frankum’s home.

Frankum now becomes the second cyclist to die on Canterbury roads this year.

Statistics from the New Zealand Transport Agency also show 23 cyclists have died in fatal crashes across the region since 2010.

This year there have been 18 “serious” crashes involving a cyclist, while last year there were 47.

Spokes Canterbury chairman Don Babe said the behaviour of all road users needs to change.

"Vehicles, we don’t have a lot of influence on in terms of their design, we just get what we are given from overseas," Babe said.

"Infrastructure takes a long time to change. The other factor which we do have control over is the people, and people just have to be reactive and behaving in a way that fits their environment when on the roads."

A police investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing.

Michael Frankum said he would like to know all the facts before passing any judgement. He sympathised with the driver of the van.

"It must be pretty hard on the van driver having to live with this."

He wanted his son to be remembered as "a guy that tried their best for everybody".

He described him as a private person who could still "party with the best of them".

Frankum was a mechanical engineer and had also previously worked as a primary school teacher.

He was also a "talented athlete".

"He played for the Burnside XV and he has played for the Southland Boys XV and he also represented Canterbury at schoolboy level," Michael Frankum said. 

"He was a champion runner for Burnside High School, I took him over to the West Coast once and he did extremely well.

"He won the 100m, 200m, 400m and came second in the 1500m, all in bare fee."

About 10 years ago, Michael Frankum said he managed to survive a crash with a truck when he was on his bike. He was saddened his son did not.

"I was on a bicycle as well and I managed to survive.

"Modern technology bought me back to life, the old electric things gave me a wallop and away you go."

“I was hit by a truck and I went through the window screen. From what I can gather the guy (driver) was blinded by the sun and did not see me.”

A New Zealand Transport Agency spokeswoman said “every death on our roads is a tragedy.”

“Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is committed to reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads, including specific work aimed at improving safety for people who cycle. We never lose sight of the real human loss and grieving for every death on our roads and highways,” she said.

She said the agency had received complaints about the safety of Brougham St, but not specifically for the pedestrian crossing where the crash is believed to have happened.

Christchurch City Council transport manager of planning and delivery Lynette Ellis also said the council was committed to making the city safer for people however they choose to travel.

“We are spending about $250 million on cycling through the Major Cycle Routes programme. Just as important as those routes is work to create better local connections for people walking and biking, reducing speed on our roads and working with our communities around travelling safely,” she said.

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