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Cyclists push for tougher drink-drive restrictions

The Dominion Post: Cyclists push for tougher drink-drive restrictions

By KAY BLUNDELL - The Dominion Post Last updated 05:00 23/10/2009

Angry Kapiti Coast cyclists have launched a campaign demanding the law be changed to prevent drink-drivers having their licences returned even if they have not been charged.

Frank van Kampen, 46, died 35 days ago when he was hit cycling home along State Highway 1 at Te Horo. Peka Peka pensioner Alison Downer, 70, allegedly failed a police breath test after the September 18 crash. She has not yet been charged.

Mr van Kampen’s partner, Jude Pauwels, said it was "crazy" that, according to drink-drive laws, culprits had their licences suspended for 28 days but, if no charges were laid, were free to drive again.

"The law has to change, particularly in cases when there is a long and complicated process of investigation. It should be changed to indefinite suspension.

"Legally she can get her licence back and be allowed to drive again, which is a huge matter of public safety," Ms Pauwels said.

She has written to Justice Minister Simon Power and he has passed her concerns on to the police and transport ministers.

Cyclist Brent Parsons said he was dismayed no charges had been laid.

"Lessons must be learnt from this tragedy, the law must change and a tougher line taken for drink-drivers who kill."

A group of supporters has formed "Team van Kampen" to take part in the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge on November 28.

With T-shirts emblazoned with Mr van Kampen’s face, they are raising money to support his partner, new daughter and stepson and were donating funds to the Sensible Sentencing Trust.

Ms Pauwels said the campaign was a beautiful tribute to Mr van Kampen. "He would be humbled, yet very proud.

Detective Inspector Sue Schwalger said she was reviewing the case, which was proceeding along normal timelines.

She could not say whether Ms Downer had her licence back or was driving again.