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Christchurch City Council Media Release 15 June 2000

Burdon Talks Of Horror 

Former Cabinet Minister Philip Burdon, who was involved in a car-opening accident with a cyclist, says the Christchurch campaign to draw attention to the dangers of opening doors in front of cyclists is necessary. 

He sent a message to the official launch of the Christchurch City Council’s campaign today saying he thought it was "a most appropriate and necessary initiative."

Mr Burdon, who is overseas, wrote: "Cyclists are by definition particularly vulnerable in metropolitan areas and it requires a not merely passive but very pro-active awareness of the possible presence of cyclists to avoid the ghastly experience I had… As someone who has been through the horror of this kind of accident I cannot over emphasise how strongly I support this initiative. I wish the programme great success."

The victim of the Burdon accident, Chrissie Williams, the chairwoman of the Burwood-Pegasus Community Board, says she prefers to be called a survivor. She said in April 1998 while riding in a cycle lane in central Christchurch when Philip Burdon opened his car door. She swerved, clipped the door and fell off.

She was run over by a following car.

The present campaign arose from a speech she made to the Christchurch Traffic Safety Committee about cycle accidents with opening car doors.

She said at the launch of the 20,000 stickers that she wanted them to be plastered around the city.

She said the small stickers should go on the driver’s door and the large sticker on the back window of vehicles.

Cyclists were being targeted in the campaign as well as drivers, she said.

Ms Williams said the accident had changed her cycling habits and she now cycled 1-metre out from parked cars. She also wore brighter clothes for visibility.

She said the campaign aimed to encourage drivers to look before opening doors and to encourage cyclists to ride defensively.

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