Cyclists ditchhandlebars for big wheel
‘‘We don't necessarily realise problem trucks are having.’’
‘‘Oh, it is quite high up,’’ cyclist Elaine Richardson said as she climbed into the cab of a Mercedes Actros truck.
The cyclist was taking part in the first Wellington Share the Road workshop last week, which saw cyclists slip off their bike seats and into a 50-tonne truck to get a new perspective on the road.
The Freaky Friday-style workshops aim to foster a better understanding between truck drivers and cyclists.
Richardson has been cycling more than 30 years, but said she came to the workshop to get a different perspective.
‘‘We don’t necessarily realise problem trucks are having,’’ she said.
The dangers of bikes and trucks sharing the same road was highlighted in June this year when it was revealed a truck driver who was found guilty for the death of a Taiwanese cyclist in Christchurch had previously hit and killed a cyclist on the Kapiti coast.
‘‘There is a war out there, but I have been on both sides of it,’’ Aaron Forde, from Truck and Trailers, said.
Forde, who got ‘‘cleaned up’’ while riding his bike when he was 14, brought the Mercedes Actros truck cab from his sales yard for the workshop.
He said he had nothing against cyclists, but had seen them do a lot of ‘‘outrageous things’’ on the road.
He wanted cyclists to realise that, when you are in a truck with 50 tonnes and up to 23 metres behind you, there is not much room to manouevre.
Older trucks could have up to 50 per cent blind spots, he said.
The workshops were set up by Cycling Action Network, with support from the NZ Transport Authority and National Road Carriers. They have been held up and down the country for the past three years, and were recently extended for three more.
Workshop facilitator Julian Hulls said he had spoken to more than 1000 truck drivers, cyclists and bus drivers over the past five years at education workshops.
The central issues was how the biggest, heaviest vehicles on the road can share the road with the lightest, he said.
A workshop for truck drivers will be held in Wellington early next year.
Cyclist Elaine Richardson in the driving cab of a Mercedes Actros truck.