On this day a year ago, 19 November 2012, Dr Li Hong ‘Chris’ He was killed when an opening car door knocked him into the path of an overtaking truck whilst cycling past Dunedin Public Hospital. Dr He’s death has had a devastating impact for his young family and for the car and truck drivers involved in the accident, and has been widely felt across the Dunedin community, by his students and colleagues at the University of Otago, and by Dunedin’s cycling community. On the 30 September this year, SPOKES held a memorial for Dr He, supported by his students and colleagues and friends from all over Dunedin. It was held outside the hospital, very near to where he died. Many people helped to make it happen and there were more than 200 people that attended. You can see what was said in the video of the event (that was kindly made by Anna Wilde at Four Foxes Ltd).
In response to public calls for action, the Dunedin City Council asked the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) for a plan to improve cyclist and pedestrian safety on the state highway, with special consideration of separated cycle facilities, to ensure this tragedy is not repeated. Now the public are being consulted on options put forward by NZTA and DCC traffic planners and engineers recommending moving forward with cycleways that are physically separated from fast-moving and heavy vehicles on the one-ways.
We are all remembering Chris today. We wish that he were here to share the vision of a future where we can all travel safely about our wonderful city and he could enjoy it.