Rider hurt in collision with bus

A motorcyclist hit by a bus in Horowhenua was in a serious but stable condition in Palmerston North Hospital yesterday.

Police said the man was "lucky to survive" the crash, which occurred on State Highway 1 near Manakau about 4.20pm on Saturday.

He was in the hospital's intensive care unit yesterday with lower back injuries and cuts.

Police central communications centre Senior Sergeant Marc Clausen said the crash happened on the railway overbridge near Whakahoro Rd.

"The motorcyclist has been very lucky to survive . . . there are no reports of anyone on the bus being injured." A St John ambulance spokesman said the man was taken to Palmerston North Hospital by road in a serious condition.

There were mixed reports at the time of the crash about how it happened, he said, with some callers to 111 saying the injured man had hit the bridge first and then the bus.

Police are still investigating the cause of the crash, which closed SH1 for more than half an hour.

The NZ Transport Agency is planning upgrades to SH1 from Otaki to Levin in the coming years to address safety issues. The upgrades will include new intersections, diverting the road around settlements and improving railway crossings.

Saturday's crash was the latest in a series of serious crashes involving motorcyclists in the lower North Island in the past week.

A funeral was to be held today in Auckland for Gregory John Spargo, 50, who died on Tuesday after his motorbike left SH1 on a straight section of road north of Bulls.

He was found in an area of bush by a passing motorist after sun rise.

On Thursday afternoon Norman John Lessells, 52, of Havelock North, died after his motorcycle and a utility collided on the Napier-Taihape Rd.

The Hawke's Bay Today newspaper described Mr Lessells as a "motorcycling buff" who had grown up on the Isle of Man watching its famed motorcycle race.

Mr Lessells was the seventh and last person to die on New Zealand roads over the official Christmas and New Year holiday period.

Manawatu Standard