Couple dispute claim of riding single file
A Taupo couple dispute a group of cyclists' testimony that they were riding single file just prior to a fatal collision, an inquest has heard.
Witnesses Margaret and David Brien were adamant in their evidence given to Coroner Gordon Matenga during the first day of an inquest yesterday in Hamilton into the death of South Auckland cyclist Jane Ann Farrelly, 50.
Farrelly died after being hit by a truck driven by Larry James Boulcott on Poihipi Rd on April 16, last year.
But all of Farrelly's cycling companions were yesterday positive that they were riding in single file.
Farrelly and six other cyclists were riding the route of Annies Girls on Bikes ride - a 92km ride for women.
Three other cyclists, including Farrelly's husband, Ian, all yesterday gave evidence that they were riding single file.
But Margaret Brien, who along with David Brien were driving behind the truck, was adamant the group was riding as much as three abreast and "all bunched up".
They then slightly moved to the left as the truck passed, she said.
When asked what would she would say if told they were riding single file, Brien replied: "No, sorry, that's not what I saw."
She saw the truck ease to the right, so that half of it was in the opposite lane, before seeing Jane Farrelly wobble as it went past.
"She just sort of wobbled more to the centre of the road . . . her top half." Jane Farrelly then disappeared before her bike came out from under the truck.
Earlier, Farrelly's husband, Ian, said he was the "tail end Charlie" in the rear group as they made their way down the bottom of Poihipi Rd.
Boulcott's truck and trailer passed his group "relatively close".
Farrelly said Jane had veered into the lane with the truck making contact with her front wheel or handlebars.
"We saw the truck go straight through the bike and spat it out the other side. The way the body rolled I knew it was unconscious." He said the truck was unusually quiet and he wasn't aware of it until it was right next to him.
It was travelling so close to him he thought he could reach out and touch it.
Alison Van Dyk was riding two ahead of Ian Farrelly.
Van Dyk said she got a fright from the truck as she didn't hear it before it went past.
Although it passed quite closely, she didn't think it would hit her.
A few seconds later she saw a bike "fly through the air".
Van Dyk said the gap between the groups was not big enough to warn the first group of the approaching truck.
Sergeant Mark Robertson asked Van Dyk her thoughts on why cyclists didn't use side mirrors.
Van Dyk said she wasn't sure, but she had used them in the past and didn't find them very useful.
When asked, Van Dyk's husband, Norman, said he wouldn't trust a side mirror.
"I would rather turn my head and have a look." He only first noticed the truck as it went past, he then looked up and saw the bike going through the air.
He was unimpressed the truck passed them on the hill as it would have travelled over the centre line, a dangerous manoeuvre as they were climbing a blind hill.
Cyclist Diane Cunningham was biking with a friend separate to Farrelly's group. Cunningham said she did hear Boulcott's truck come up from behind and said it was so close it scared her.
- Waikato Times