Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cycling Carnage On New Zealand Roads

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Any one who has been reading this blog on a regular basis knows that for a long time we've often highlighted New Zealand's shameful road death and injury record, one of the worst in the OECD.

One of the most vulnerable group of road users in New Zealand are cyclists and the rate at which they are being killed and injured is disgusting. What's worse, New Zealand is often promoted as a  safe cycling destination even though many tourists and visitors to the country continue to be killed by careless / drunken drivers. Many of those  drivers escape with light sentences that are often slammed as not being proportionate to their crime and not acting as a deterrent to others.

The cyclist killed on Tamaki Drive, Auckland yesterday afternoon has just been named as 27 year old British citizen Jane Mary Bishop. She died when she was hit by a truck whilst cycling along Auckland's waterfront outside of Kelly Tarlton's (see the stretch of road in the Google streetview above)

Police said she had swerved to avoid a car door. Our deepest condolences go out to her family and friends for their loss.

Her death came hours after three cyclists, travelling in a group of ten, were killed by a car in the Waikato that crossed the centre line whilst taking a corner. Mark Andrew Ferguson, 46, and Wilhelm Muller, 71, died at the scene and Kay Heather Wolfe, 45,  died this morning. Our thoughts are with their families.

Condolence to to the family of And with the family of Patricia Anne Veronica Fraser, 34,  who was killed in the Manawatu on Saturday while training for the Lake Taupo cycle race;and our very best wishes go 12 year old Jacqueline Wyatt, a pupil at Riverlands School, whom was run over by a truck this morning as she cycled to school on Main Street, Blenheim. She is critically ill in hospital.

Tamaki Drive Carnage
The road where Jane Mary Bishop lost her life was also the scene of the infamous ‘Tamaki Drive Carnage". 

A female student lost her licence for 6 months and was ordered to pay $1,000 to each of her victims after she ploughed into a pack of cyclists travelling along Tamaki Drive. The cyclists, one of whom suffered long term brain injuries and may never be able to work again, said that the sentence handed out was far too lenient.

A report in today's NZ Herald said
Ellerslie man John McLaren was also involved in a crash on Tamaki Drive last week.
He was in shock and suffering from a broken shoulder blade and collarbone when the motorist who forced him off the road confronted him with an angry lecture. Ms Bishop's death on the same stretch of road had him counting his blessings his accident was not worse.
"It's a sad event. All our thoughts should be with the family of the deceased."
He called for increased tolerance and awareness from motorists in the wake of the cyclist deaths. "The woman that died yesterday - if that person who opened their car door had just looked around things could have been different. If the guy had waited just 10 seconds for me to go over the bridge, everything would have been fine.
"It's awareness. That one bit of impatience could mean someone getting hurt or killed." Read the full report here, including a call for cycle lane
Lacks of awareness, education, consideration, understanding and/or substance abuse are common themes in these incidents. New Zealand, quite simply, isn't as safe as you'd like to think it is, cyclists risk their lives every time they venture onto a road. New Zealand drivers take no prisoners.
These are some of the cyclists we've blogged about in the past.

Stephan Stoermer, a German tourist, had been on a cycling world tour since 2006, he had been safely winding his way through 26 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia since early 2006 before arriving in New Zealand. He died a week before his tour was scheduled to end when he was hit by a logging truck near Te Puke in the Bay of Plenty on March 12, 2009. The driver fell asleep behind the wheel.

Jenns Richardon had been living in NZ for a few years was killed by a hit and run driver. His body was eventually discovered by a passing motorist. The killer pleaded guilty to  driving under the influence of alcohol causing death and failing to stop for an injury accident. He had drunk around 10 pints of beer at a bar in Rolleston from around 2.30pm that day. He told police he knew he had hit a cyclist but panicked because he had been drinking. The judge took pity on him a gave him a sentence of home detention.

Frank van Kampen was killed by drunk driver, 71 year old Alison Downer, who received  a lenient two year sentence for her 4th conviction after she hit and killed Frank as he was cycling along State Highway 1 in Te Horo.  Mr van Kampen’s partner wept through the hearing at Palmerston North District Court and said that she was disgusted by the sentence. Can you believe that Downer’s defence lawyer was alleged to have told the judge that “this was not the worst type of offending because there was only one victim.”

Graham Robinson, a North Shore doctor, was struck and killed whilst cycling outside of Helensville. The driver of a white Toyota Hillux sped off after hitting him and police have yet to track him down, despite having an excellent description of the vehicle.

Pia Pusch, a 19 year old German tourist, also died when hit by a logging truck as she cycled through New Zealand, she had previously blogged about the aggressive and intimidating driving habits of truck drivers. The driver pleaded guilty and was asked to pay $5,000 to her family.
Mia’s death sparked calls for mandatory minimum passing distances for vehicles overtaking cyclists – from between 1 to 1.5 metres, but all of them have been ignored.

A Facebook  group Mia Pusch - NZ cyclists mourn you was set up in her memory, an the group pushed for improvements in road safety.

Jane Bishop's death is a reminder that auckland, and New Zealand, still has a very a long way to go in improving road safety for all the users of its roads.

For more about New Zealand's dangerous roads and 'accident' black spots click HERE and our  

See also:
Cycling dangers in New Zealand – see posts tagged Cycling

New Zealand Herald’s Road Accidents Archive

New Zealand’s dangerous roads

NZ’s roads described as ‘killing fields’ after 14 fatalities over ANZAC weekend

67 Boy Racers Taken Off the Streets of Christchurch

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tom Donaldson Inquest - Coroner Says "Warn Tourists"

A brief report into the death of British tourist Tom Donaldson has just been made in the Northern Advocate.

According to the paper the coroner said that
“Visitors wanting to experience New Zealand’s adventure tourism should be warned that they are taking a risk.
That message, from Northland’s coroner, comes as the region prepares to accommodate thousands of tourists for next year’s Rugby World Cup.”
The inquest found that Mr Donaldson had ignored the warnings of a far north tour operator and chose to sand board down a dune known locally as “suicide hill”, despite being warned to only slide between the flags.

The paper reported that coroner, Brandt Shortland
“said adventure tourism businesses should warn those keen to experience the thrills about the dangers via their websites.
It was timely to do so as about 16,000 people were expected in Northland for next year’s Rugby World Cup.
“What must be said is that Mr Donaldson chose not to follow instructions in that he engaged a sand dune that ultimately cost him his life,” Mr Shortland said.
“People have to remember when engaging in adventure tourism they have to follow the rules for their own safety.” read the full report here
We blogged about Mr Donaldson’s death in February 2009, saying that there was no mention of the word ‘dangerous’ in any of the advertising material for sand boarding at the Omapere/Opononi dunes. See Another tourist dies in New Zealand.

A review of adventure tourism in New Zealand was recently carried out following the deaths of a number of international and local holidaymakers, including children and an instructor on an outdoor adventure camp.

The review was only instigated after a high profile campaign was launched by the father of Emily Jordan, who died riverboarding. Her father Chris wrote to John Key calling safety regulation in New Zealand “third world.

Almost 3 years on and an inquest is yet to be held into Emily’s death, read Still no inquest for Emily Jordan, 13 November

Safety Gaps in NZ Adventure Tourism
The review found safety gaps that risk more accidents and damage in New Zealand’s $3 billion adventure tourism industry, gaps that allowed some to operate with less than acceptable safety standards.

The two major outcomes were recommendations that adventure tourism Operators be registered (which stops short of a licensing system) and that  “most” be audited in order to remain on the register. Read Safety gaps found in adventure tourism review, 24 August 2010

For more about New Zealand’s appalling record for adventure tourism deaths, click here.
Our deepest condolences again go out to the family and friends of Mr Donaldson at this very difficult time.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

No Gold For NZ Honeymoon Couple

A  couple honeymooning in Auckland didn’t have the same Gold Medal rapid response that an American rowing team member got just three days later, when they too were burgled hours before leaving New Zealand.

British newlyweds Simon and Sabine Greenslade were married in August in Germany and had been honeymooning in New Zealand. At the end of their holiday they parked outside of Auckland Zoo and it was there that their campervan was ransacked on 6 November, the last day of their honeymoon – according to a report in the NZ Herald.

During the robbery the couple lost a laptop and iPod with their wedding photos, shots of their NZ holiday and months of Mr Greenslade’s programing work were taken from their van.

Coincidentally the unnamed American sportsman also lost a laptop and iPod in his burglary.

Unfortunately there was no gold medal for this couple, they got a clunker. The Herald said:
An appeal to police in the aftermath of the theft didn’t produce any results, says Ms Greenslade.
“They simply gave us a crime reference number and left it at that.”
The young couple had to get back to the UK with the help of the motorhome company, who replaced some of their missing belongings.

The news of this robbery has filtered out in the hope that the couple may retrieve some of their lost photos, which are obviously irreplaceable.

We wish them good luck with that, although their chances are pretty slim ten days after the event, ‘miracles’ have been known to happen.

Wouldn’t it be splendid if all tourists who experienced loss or crime in New Zealand got a gold medal response. Not just those who have a high profile internationally.

Also read:
US Rowing Team Member Robbed, World Rowing Championships 2010: 9 November 2o10
“The United States rowing team has just had an unpleasant brush with New Zealand’s spiralling crime problem.
On Saturday a member of the team had a number of personal items stolen after the World Rowing Championships at Lake Karapiro.
A Police press released managed to turn what could’ve been a PR clunker into a  ‘gold medal’ news story for the police (and New Zealand) when they apprehended the young burglars responsible and returned the stolen goods to the rower just minutes before he left the country:
“After speaking to management at the teams’ hotel, police tracked the stolen iPod, laptop and other belongings to three brothers aged 14, 15 and 17, who admitted the theft.
More stolen property was also found at an Otorohanga property, 58km southwest of Hamilton in the King Country.
Police contacted a man in Otorohanga who admitted receiving the laptop and “it was explained the significance of the theft and the damage to this country’s reputation and he agreed to bring it into the Hamilton Police Station.
“From there an aunty of the offenders helped Police recover the victim’s camera, the US team left Hamilton yesterday about 6pm for an 11pm flight and we needed to get all the property recovered, documented and back to the victim. Time was against us and there’d be no ‘B’ final if we didn’t make it.”” Smith (Ed. Sergeant Dale Smith of the Hamilton Proactive Policing Team) said.” Read more here – police win race to return rower’s stolen property

We particularly liked the section that said
It would be fair to say that while the rest of the country is celebrating the achievements of our teams on the water the team in blue delivered a gold medal performance as well in terms of New Zealand’s reputation of a safe, friendly place to visit.”
Well done to the police for working with the community and relatives of the thieves to bring about a successful conclusion to this sorry event. But, if New Zealand was that safe the rower’s hotel room wouldn’t have been burgled in the first place, would it and he would have left the country with only fond memories? If only other tourists could’ve been so lucky!”
Other stories you may find interesting
Czech Tourist, Jan Fakotor, Stabbed In Motueka
English tourist mugged in Gisborne
Chilean tourist punched, robbed in Nelson
A group of students that were beaten and robbed whilst on a treasure hunt at the Hundertwasser toilets in Kawakawa, Northland
A series of random, unprovoked attacks in Queenstown
Previous robbery of British tourists at Kerosene Creek
Tourists robbed at Kerosene Creek
Three French tourists beaten and robbed in their campervan in Mangamuka, Northland - police have yet to resolve this crime

A family of Swiss tourists that were assaulted and racially abused in Kaitaia, Northland
Anke Kuballa and Marc Busch from Germany who were robbed in Whangarei, Northland
A family of five robbed at the roadside whilst camping in their van at Oturere Stream, 25km south of Turangi
Two German tourists attacked in Paihia, Northland
Two American tourists were robbed at Shipwreck Bay in Northland whilst sandboarding
Asian woman, (probably Japanese) age 22, raped in her room by 2 teenagers in a home invasion in Opotiki, Northland

Three Chinese tourists attacked and robbed at Te paki, 90 Mile Beach, Northland, by two men they’d stopped to help
French tourist Anthony Cressend, beaten and robbed at campsite in Ahipara, Northland
Two Australian tourists robbed at knifepoint for their holiday money in Te Puke, SE of Tauranga.
Japanese tourist age 23 (female) kidnapped, robbed and assaulted in Rotorua by four men
French tourist (male) raped at gunpoint near Opotiki,

American peace corp twins Adam and Alex Rahmlow, 21 were robbed of all their possessions by a man they tried to help in Amberley, Christchurch.
Dutch couple raped and robbed on a campsite in Tuatapere, NW of Invercargill, whilst on their honeymoon. (Dutch govt. issued a travel warning about NZ)
Two Koreans were attacked and robbed of their possession which included a laptop computer by a man claiming to be a gang member in Blenheim.
British tourist worker sexually assaulted near Hururu Falls, Northland when she was dragged off a walking track.
Canadian tourist Jeremie Kawerninski, kidnapped, assaulted and robbed in Lower Hutt, Wellington
Dutch couple robbed and sexually attacked Haruru Falls, Northland whilst on honeymoon.
Two British women robbed and raped in their campervan at Tokomaru Bay, north of Gisborne.
Japanese tourist subjected to a prolonged and brutal sex attack in a communal area of a backpacker’s hostel in Turangi, Taupo.
Scottish woman Karen Aim brutally murdered by a youth in Taupo.
German woman Birgit Brauer murdered near New Plymouth.
Korean man Jae Hyeon Kim decapitated with a spade by white supremacist.
Japanese tourist robbed at gunpoint in Oamaru.
Irish cycle tourist Paul Mack bashed, robbed and urinated on throughout his NZ tour.
6 English and Danish tourists attacked and stabbed in Cashel Mall, Christchurch for having “foreign accents.”
Irish man Robby O’Brien beaten up in Westport.
Russian couple Denis Khotchenko and Lera Nesterova beaten and robbed in Milford, Auckland
English woman knifed and sexually assaulted in a toilet block at an A1 motor camp in Kaikoura
American campers Patrick Dykstra and Kelsey McGinley beaten and robbed at Whangarei Falls, Northland.
Australian tourist sexually assaulted on a street in broad daylight in Nelson.
Australian tourist subjected to a sex attack by Maia Crawford Rongonui whilst walking home to a backpackers in Christchurch.
Canadian tourist left with a fractured skull outside Silver Fern backpackers in Taupo.
Dutch tourist beaten and robbed at Lake Rotorua.
British man Paul Speakman and his young son beaten and robbed in a campervan at Athenree Gorge, Katikati.
Chinese woman attacked for speaking Chinese on a train approaching Petone.
Scottish visitor Stuart Martin who was left in a coma and with a boot print on his face after a street bashing in Taradale, Christchurch.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Indian? Tourists Set Upon By Mob In Kaikoura

A group of four or five holidaymakers from Christchurch were attacked by a 'mob' in Kaikoura early on Friday morning.

Some locals are saying that it was a gang that was responsible (possibly the Mongrel Mob) and it is noticeable that some media reports about the attack are using the phrase “group of people,” which is usually press code for gang in New Zealand.

Kaikoura is a small coastal town about 180km north of Chritchurch on the east coast of New Zealand and a favourite setting-off point for whale watching tours.

Reports in the media about the incident varied.

The Marlborough Express‘ report says nothing about the visitors being holidaymakers and that the attack took place outside a pizza restaurant, emphasis ours
Five Christchurch men were assaulted in an attack by a group of up to 30 people on Beach Rd in Kaikoura early this morning, police say.
Two of the men were ”severely beaten” and another kidnapped, taken out of town and dumped on the side of the road.
Sergeant Barry Hansen, of Kaikoura, said the victims, aged between 19 and 20, were attacked about 12.30am.
Two of the group were severely beaten while another was kidnapped, driven out of town in a Toyota Hilux, and dumped on the side of the road, he said. The abducted man managed to walk back into town.
A ”sharp weapon” may have been used during the incident, he said…read it in full here
Whereas a NZ Herald report says it was a group of 4 holidaymakers that was attacked and that the victims were set upon as they walked back to their hotel.

The reports of the injuries are pretty shocking and we wish the victims a full and speedy recovery from their ordeal. Was this just another attack on a party of tourists in New Zealand, or is there more to this story than is being released to the media?

We also have an unconfirmed report that the men from Christchurch may have been Indian nationals.

Was there a racist element to this crime and if so why wasn’t that information released to the press? Were they residents of Christchurch, students perhaps or visitors from abroad?

The chances of finding out in the near future are pretty slim but no doubt when the thugs responsible are caught, and if the case ever comes to court, we may find out more.

Local people made their feelings known about the attacks, with some saying that the town couldn’t be recommended to tourists anymore and with hints that a gang may been responsible. Sadly Kaikoura, it seems, suffers from many of the problems that plague small town New Zealand.

Their comments were published on Stuff, emphasis ours

Kaikoura is a small town surely those responsible can be found and made an example of. There should be zero tolerance to this sort of behavior. Find them and throw away the key harsher penalities have to be imposed otherwise no one is going to pay any attention and it will happen time and time again. This is not the image that New Zealand wants to portray the is a very real danger of allowing a society of yobs that will take over many towns in New Zealand. It is an epidemic that has to be stamped out sooner rather than later.

Tom m
it would appear that Kaiakoura has had its fair share of badly bred mogrel dog tuckers for a fair while now . I for one do not recommend the place to any tourists anymore.. If the cops do get this mob what will happen to them,, in short nothing, the government arent interested

i lived in kaikoura and am well known there to.we never did things like that or our friends i just hope it wasnt a local gang.what gets me is that the police have yet to find 1 of the 30 people in the gang.are they hard is it in a small town to find just has a small town reputation to gosip and the word travels fast.i live in oz now and yes its is nicer here but not all people are shocked to hear that this has happened in such a beautiful small town.
Alcohol! ITS one of the worst drugs!

Yer i agree! No respect no hopers just drinking and fighting! while the government sells synthetic substances legally in dairies and lock up young good kids keeping outta trouble who just wana chill and not wanting to drink and why is it so normal for drunk to be complete assholes and its normal and excepted part of society! make alcohol illegal, come on and wake up, pathetic attitudes from the one eye nation! If those gang of kids were on the green natural! no anger no fights! logical????? stupid government! stop ya crap – - you sell alcohol and tax it! has anyone ever heard of someone overdosing on the happy backey! nope!!!!!

I was in kaikoura today and this country is so full of uptight angry wee teenages with bad attitudes! Suppose the only thing to do is move to oz where most people are calm, happy and friendly! Let the animals in nz carry on with there minor insignificant angry lives. Harsh but the truth isn’t pretty
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