Motorcyclist's death latest in rising motorcycle toll in NZ

Thousands of motorists were stuck in traffic for several hours on Monday morning after a motorcyclist was killed on one of Auckland's main motorways.

It's the latest in a rising number of motorcyclist deaths and the safety council is calling for urgent action.

It's New Zealand's riskiest mode of transport and it's killing more people than ever. 

Investigations are underway into Monday's crash that happened at 6:40am between the St Luke's off-ramp and on-ramp, heading towards the city. 

The motorway was at a standstill for hours.

It's not yet known what caused the crash, but for the Safety Advisory Council it's clear something needs to change. 

"It's really, really sad that that's the time people want to talk about safety, when really safety has to be in your mind all the time when you're on the road," says Janice Millman of the Motorcycle Safety Advisory Council.

"Really it's about working with car drivers and motorcyclists to try make this a safer way to commute because we can all see the roads are getting busier and it's a going to be an increasingly popular option for people."

So far, 2018's motorcyclist death toll is at 29. This time last year it was 17. 

It's not the only number on the rise, with motorcycle retailers saying sales have bumped at least 25 percent in the past five years. 

"When this business was originally here, they were doing nine bikes a month," says Experience Motorcycles owner Kelly Green. "We're doing between 50 and 55 a month, so that's a huge increase."

Motorcyclists travelling between queued traffic on busy roads or lane splitting is often a cause of friction between motorcyclists and other road users. Police say it's not illegal and the Safety Advisory Council says it can be done safely.

The old adage "speed kills" is still as relevant as ever, getting motorcyclists to slow down, keeping traffic moving and ultimately saving lives.


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