Thursday, September 17, 2009

3 English People Killed in Christchurch Car Crash

"How does this happen when you are doing 35kmh in a car where airbags went off and you were wearing seatbelts? It's a huge wake-up call for everybody. The circumstances plot against you - how a trivial thing can turn into something as disastrous as this." (Quote from the driver's brother on TVNZ) See "Power poles should be removed"

View Larger Map, power poles on edge of Estuary Road

YahooXtra News
"Police have released the names of the three British tourists killed in a car crash in Christchurch.

Three-year-old Iva Harper and her grandmother 60-year-old Sera Eades died in the crash, along with Mrs Eade's cousin, 68-year-old Valerie Bryan.

They are all from Derbyshire in England and arrived in the country just days ago to visit family.

Mrs Eade's husband Michael Eade was driving when their car hit a power pole on Estuary Rd in New Brighton at 6.20 last night. He is in a stable condition in Christchurch Hospital.

Detective Sergeant Andrew Fabish says funeral arrangements are being made with family and the UK High Commission."

left to right): Iva Harper, 3, her grandmother Sera Eades, 60, her great grandfather Bob McCombe, her grandfather Geoff Eades, 62, and Valerie Bryan, 68.

Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the family and friends of all those involved.

Some reports have said that the group had been in the country for three days before the crash (ed. surely long enough to get over jet lag?) and that Mrs Eades was from Middlesex and her granddaughter from London.

Police statements suggest that jetlag/driver fatigue may've been a factor and that the vehicle was travelling at 35-40km/hr (20-25 mph) when it hit the post. Weather conditions were said to have been good at the time. Sunset in Christchurch is presently at around 6.20pm so it would've been reasonably bright at the time.

The British press has also published accounts of the crash, one is linked to here:

Road accidents death and injury rates in New Zealand are the second highest in the developed world, twice that of the UK.

See also: Article on Road Design from Wikipedia:

"Road design"

A 1985 US study showed that about 34% of serious crashes had contributing factors related to the roadway or its environment. Most of these crashes also involved a human factor.[6] The road or environmental factor was either noted as making a significant contribution to the circumstances of the crash, or did not allow room to recover. In these circumstances it is frequently the driver who is blamed rather than the road; those reporting the accident have a tendency to overlook the human factors involved, such as the subtleties of design and maintenance that a driver could fail to observe or inadequately compensate for.[25]

Research has shown that careful design and maintenance, with well-designed intersections, road surfaces, visibility and traffic control devices, can result in significant improvements in accident rates. Individual roads also have widely differing performance in the event of an impact. In Europe there are now EuroRAP tests that indicate how "self-explaining" and forgiving a particular road and its roadside would be in the event of a major incident.

In the UK, research has shown that investment in a safe road infrastructure programme could yield a ⅓ reduction in road deaths saving as much as £6billion per year.[26] A consortium of 13 major road safety stakeholders have formed the Campaign for Safe Road Design which is calling on the UK Government to make safe road design a national transport priority.[27]"


  1. What is it with Christchurch??! Again?

    "Road accidents death and injury rates in New Zealand are the second highest in the developed world, twice that of the UK."

    For a country this small it has that many road-accidents death?!!

  2. The rates are a disgrace, we are pretty sure poor road quality/design plays a big part. Over the ANZAC weekend 14 died, leading National Road Policing manager, Superintendent Paula Rose to describe NZ roads as "killing fields".

    We were surprised at how close the power poles are to side of the road on Estuary Road and that there does not seem to be any traffic calming measures on a very long, straight stretch through what is obviously a residential area.

  3. P.S. The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has issued a travel advisory on traffic safety in NZ, the link can be found under the heading of "Road Deaths" at the top of every page. Travellers are strongly recommended to read-up on the 'give way rules', which are peculiar to NZ and, in our opinion, potentially dangerous.

  4. This is sad news. Focus is a very important ingredient when you are on the road. When you miss this part, the possibility of getting into an accident increases. And this accident does not only involve only yourself but also the people who are around you on the road.


    NZ roads are not of a high quality. Minimal maintenance, poor design [one lane bridges?, really], poor lighting...


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