Facebook Group Set Up In Memory Of Mia Pusch

A Facebook page has been established to remember Mia Pusch, the brilliant, vivacious young German cyclist who tragically died too soon whilst on a cycling holiday in New Zealand. The page may be found here.

Her mother Gesa has responded to the many heartfelt messages of support left on the wall and we’d like to add our own condolences to both Gesa and Marcus who must be utterly heartbroken.

One message left by Leo Van Lin summed up the problem with cycling in New Zealand:

“Coming from the Netherlands to New Zealand I gave up biking 15 years ago. After two rides and as many crashes I gave up. Too dangerous.
In this country you need a fence around your pool, a belt while you drive, but there is NO protection at all for cyclists. And sadly overseas visitors don’t know this enough.
Time for a… wide spread discussion and actions. Let Mia be the last (unnecessary) victim of our cruel roads.
I miss the protection that all bike riders and pedestrians have in the Netherlands. Since the 80’s any accident involving a car and a slower road user automatically puts the blame on the automobilist. No exception, no doubt. You drive a car, you are responsible for your and other people’s safety!!
Sad, unnecessary, and not the first one. How long, how long…………
Time for action. Let her death not be in vain !”

If some good is to come out of all this let her death NOT be in vain, we’re hoping the government will act swiftly to increase the safety of all road users, especially cyclists. Support the RideStrong 1.5m to Survive NZ Safe Cycling Strategies 2020 petition here – link

Within the Facebook page is a link to another site (link to a Google translation) also memorializing Mia and in which more information has been given surrounding her death and time in New Zealand.

In it her father has revealed that Mia had been dreaming about doing an overseas cycling trip since high school and that the family had rejected her top choice Africa as a possible destination believing it to be too risky. Instead they opted for New Zealand believing it to have the least risk. We do not know why  they believed it to be safer or if they knew that some countries have warned their citizens about the dangers.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has recently updated its travel advice for New Zealand, to include mention of the recent accidents of British visitors, many more countries may decide to do the same in light of the many incidents involving Spanish, German, French, Chinese, Japanese and other tourists. Here is what the BF&C office have said:

Pickpocketing and other street crime occur in major urban areas Reports of thefts from unattended vehicles, especially hire cars/camper vans in major tourist areas (e.g. the Coromandel peninsula, Rotorua and Queenstown) are on the increase.  There has also been an increase in the number of thefts from hotel/motel rooms in some tourist areas.
Do not leave possessions in unattended vehicles even if out of sight in a locked boot.  Do not leave valuables in hotel/motel rooms, but use safe boxes when available.  Keep passports, travellers’ cheques, credit cards etc separate.
For more general information see our Victims of Crime Abroad page.
Local travel
There have been a number of tragic accidents involving British visitors; these also include extreme sporting accidents. If you intend to participate in extreme sports you should check that the company is well established in the industry and your insurance covers you. If you intend visiting remote areas, you should check with local tourist authorities for advice before setting out. You should ensure that you register your details with a Visitor Information Centre or family or friends. Weather conditions can quickly become treacherous in some areas and you should keep yourself informed of regional weather forecasts.
Road travel
Whilst road conditions are generally good in New Zealand, it takes a little while to get used to local driving conditions.

In 2007 there were 366 road deaths in New Zealand (source: DfT).  This equates to 8.6 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 4.3 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2008.

You are advised to read a copy of the Road Code (the official guide to traffic rules and traffic safety) before driving.  Particular attention should be given to the section covering the right of way rules, which are different from other countries.  UK driving licences are valid for use for a maximum of 12 months.

Motor insurance is not a legal requirement in New Zealand. Therefore, even though the UK has a reciprocal Healthcare Agreement with New Zealand, private accident insurance is recommended.  This is because New Zealand law has removed the right of accident victims to sue a third party in the event of an accident. Instead the Accident Compensation Commission (ACC) helps pay for your care if you are injured as the result of an accident.  However, the ACC only covers the cost of treatment in New Zealand and delayed travel or loss of income in a third country is not covered.”

More countries should be doing the same, they are doing their citizens a grave disservice by not doing so.

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