Mother doesn't blame truck driver

BLAIR ENSOR
Last updated 16:48 18/11/2010
Jacqueline Wyatt
SUPPLIED

Jacqueline Wyatt pictured here tubing on the Wakamarina River rapids during a Nativity Cubs and Scouts group camp at Pinedale Motorcamp earlier this year.

Bicycle
DEREK FLYNN
INJURY: Jacqueline Wyatt was seriously injured after falling under the rear wheels of a truck and trailer unit south of Blenheim on State Highway 1.

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The mother of a young Blenheim cyclist fighting for her life doesn't blame the driver of the truck which ran her over.

Jacqueline Wyatt, 12, was biking to Riverlands School on State Highway 1 south of Blenheim with a friend when she was clipped by the truck in a section of road works about 8.20am today, police said.

Paulette Wyatt said her daughter was in a critical condition and her injuries were life threatening.

She was scheduled to be transferred to Auckland's Starship Children's Hospital this afternoon.

''She has broken her pelvis, internal bleeding, lots of grazes and bruising.

''The main thing is that she hasn't got head injuries... with head injuries our little girl would be gone.''

The family was ''shocked, distraught and upset'' at the incident, Ms Wyatt said.

''It's the sort of thing you see on TV, but you don't expect it to happen to your family.''

The man driving the truck was in no way at fault, she said.

''It was just a freak accident.''

She described her daughter as a kind-hearted girl who would do anything for anyone.

''She's my girl, I love her to pieces.''

The mother of five said her son Kaleb, 10, and Jaqueline biked along the same stretch of road every day.

This morning he was following a short distance behind his sister, but did not see the crash.

Her daughter was very safety conscious, but did not wear a high visibility vest. However, Kaleb did, she said.

When asked if a cycle lane was required for the stretch of road Ms Wyatt said: ''It would be bloody good if they did it.''

Truck driver Tex Simmons said he did not see or feel anything and only realised he had run someone over when stopped by another driver.

''I just didn't know. I said 'I couldn't have run over anyone'.

''I've never been involved in an accident all my life.

 ''She just went under my wheels. I feel so sorry for the poor little thing."

Mr Simmons said the trailer which ran over her weighed 6 tonnes.

When asked if he wanted to pass a message on to the family he said: ''I wouldn't know what to say. I just feel terrible. I just wish her a speedy recovery."

Traffic management at the road works was not adequate, he said.

''I didn't think I was given enough room to get a 60ft truck through.''

Cones could have been moved 20-30m back to allow more gradual change to the other lane, he said.

''Instead I had to take a hard right. Once I started to turn I lost vision in my rear vision mirror. I feel quite bloody sick.''

It has been a horror five days for cyclists, with five people killed. The cycling deaths have seen the Cycling Advocates Network renewing calls for drivers to undergo testing every 10 years.

Cycling Advocates Network spokesman Patrick Morgan said that, in the past five years, an average of 10 cyclists a year had died on New Zealand roads – a big improvement on 1990 when 27 died.

He said there was "no silver bullet" to stopping cycling fatalities but relying on educating drivers and cyclists was not working. Drivers should have to resit their licences every 10 years.

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He has previously said Transport Ministry figures showed vehicle drivers were at fault in about 75 per cent of road cycling fatalities.

DEATH TOLL

Kay Heather Wolfe, 45, died in hospital today after being critically injured when a car driven by a 23-year-old woman crossed the centreline and ploughed into a group of cyclists on the Morrinsville-Walton Road, about 32km northeast of Hamilton on Sunday.

Wednesday: Jane Mary Bishop, 27, died after falling under a truck on Auckland's Tamaki Drive.

Sunday: Mark Andrew Ferguson, 46, and Wilhelm Muller, 71, died when a car driven by a 23-year-old woman crossed the centreline and ploughed into a group of cyclists on the Morrinsville-Walton Road, northeast of Hamilton.

Saturday: Patricia Anne Veronica Fraser, 34, from Longburn, was killed during a training ride for the Lake Taupo cycle race.

- The Marlborough Express

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