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Road safety advocate Bevan Woodward has asked Auckland Transport to withdraw the report it provided to the Coroner’s inquest that blames cyclist Jane Bishop for her own death. If it chooses not to, then a ‘Friends of Jane Bishop’ campaign will commence until her name is cleared.
Mr Woodward says “The report is highly flawed, each of the reasons it gives for Jane Bishop being responsible for her own death is wrong. It’s no wonder Auckland Transport was refusing to make a copy of this report public.”
Mr Woodward first alerted Auckland City Council to the unsafe road layout outside the Kelly Tarlton’s corner on Tamaki Drive in early 2006, not long after Council had changed the road layout. Council took no action to rectify the road layout until two days after Jane Bishop’s death in November 2010.
Initially Police laid charges against the motorist who had exited his vehicle before the incident, the case was dismissed by the Judge as clearly not being the motorist’s fault.
Dr Tim Stevenson, the forensic crash investigator who provided expert evidence at the trial of the motorist says: “In many of the crashes I have investigated there are a number of contributory factors. Often, it is difficult to identify the main contributory or causative factor. In this case, however, it is my belief that the road layout was the most significant factor in the death of Jane Bishop.”
Mr Woodward says “The reaction from the public has been overwhelmingly in support of clearing Jane Bishop’s name. It’s now up to Auckland Transport to do the right thing and withdraw the flawed report, otherwise we will escalate this matter and do whatever it takes to ensure Jane Bishop’s name is
A copy of the NZCI Crash Report blaming Jane Bishop for her own death is attached. It was commissioned by Auckland Transport’s QC and was not to be made public. It contains serious flaws that undermine each of the reasons it gives for Jane Bishop being responsible for her own death:
1. In Para 105, 109 and 117, the report puts Jane Bishop at fault for passing traffic on the left, but her actions were legal when the traffic is stationary, which the truck was before she fell under it; refer Para 40:
"Just before the crash occurred he [the truck driver] had been stopped..." also Para 32 refers to the traffic as “stationary or slow moving traffic” so one cannot assume Ms Bishop was passing illegally.
The relevant rule is Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004, 2.8, 2b as stated on pg 27 of the NZCI report.
2. The report says that Jane Bishop was at fault for not using the cycleway provided, however the report acknowledges:
a. that the cycleway does not exist on the corner where Jane Bishop was killed (see photo 6, pg 18)
b. to access the cycleway "would require cyclists to dismount, and either walk and carry their bikes through the pedestrian access ways [steps] through the stone wall from the bus stops, or lift their cycles and climb over the stone wall onto the roadway" (para 65)
c. that the cycleway is "narrow and uneven in many places due to some challenges associated with the terrain and trees" (Para 52).
3. The report blames Ms Bishop for not following the recommendation in the Land Transport Code for Cyclists to not to cycle in the door zone of parked cars. Given the narrow corridor that Ms Bishop was required to cycle through and the inadequate sight lines leading in were created by the road layout, then Ms Bishop had little choice and cannot be blamed for not following this particular recommendation of
the Land Transport Code for Cyclists.
4. The report states that the shared path on the Kelly Tarlton's corner meets AUSTROADS guidelines (para 72 and 73), but the report incorrectly uses the guidelines for a One-way shared Path (on 20),
when it should have used the guide-line for a Two-way Shared Path. When applying the correct AUSTROADS guideline, the shared path on the corner of 2.1m is not up to standard (should be >= 3m).
5. In Para 59, the wrong guideline for lane width is applied. The appropriate guidelines from the Table on Pg 14 should be the one specifically described by AustRoads as being "Locations where motorists and cyclists use the same lane", ie: the "Wide kerbside lane" for which the guideline is 4.2 - 4.5m. Hence it cannot be argued that the road lane width (where Jane Bishop was killed) of 3.6 m met AUSTROADS guidelines. Transportation Planning for a Better World
6. In Para 34 the report advises “No documentation was provided to NZCI relating to the prosecution”. This is remarkable as the Judgement provided by Judge J P Gittos provides many valuable insights into the incident, such as the Police were wrong to believe the motorist was using his mobile phone at the time of the incident and .
7. Para 73 ignores the very narrow section of the shared path at the apex of the Kelly Tarlton's, this described in para 69 as being 2.1m which is well below AUSTROADS guidelines.
8. The report does not confirm that the cycleway has been legally designated (for a pedestrian footpath to become a shared path, a bylaw must be passed by Council). Previous verbal advice received from Council staff is that the Tamaki Drive cycleway is not legally designated, this needs to be clarified.
9. The report was prepared in June 2012. It relies upon a site visit made 19 months after the crash and acknowledges the changes to the road layout: "visited the scene on Monday, 11th June 2012 and found the roadway was undergoing some major reconstruction". Yet the report uses the June 2012 visit to make some assumptions about the layout when the crash occurred in November 2010, for example, it shows a
photo of the shared path in Photo 5 (pg 18) yet that same shared path was noticeably different before the crash (see middle photo, page 5 of the CAA report) where there are rubbish bins narrowing the shared
path. It is yet to be determined when the rubbish bins were removed.
10.Para 34 is incorrect, the case was not withdrawn by the prosecution; Judge Gittos dismissed the Police case against the motorist.
11.Para 87 understates the importance of the significantly improved sightlines now provided before the traffic lane narrows. By removing the car parking and adding the taper ('angled white line" as shown in
photo 10), the previously hazardous road layout has been largely rectified.
The lack of adequate sight lines in the original road layout meant that Ms Bishop did not have the opportunity to react and brake in time to avoid hitting Mr Becker in the dangerously narrow corridor that she was forced to negotiate..