Schoolboy 'almost 6th cycle death'

PARENTS' ORDEAL: Andy and Paulette Wyatt watch and wait  as their twelve year old daughter, Jacqueline,  is transferred into the Lifeflight air ambulance for a trip to Auckland's Starship children's hospital after she was seriously injured by a truck  near Blenheim.
PARENTS' ORDEAL: Andy and Paulette Wyatt watch and wait as their twelve year old daughter, Jacqueline, is transferred into the Lifeflight air ambulance for a trip to Auckland's Starship children's hospital after she was seriously injured by a truck near Blenheim.

A mother heard a grinding smash and knew instantly it was her 15-year-old son knocked off his bike in a vehicle collision.

Hastings teacher Geraldine Cowan-Maere said her son, Peter, was very nearly the sixth cycling road death this week. Instead he is sedated in intensive care with a smashed leg, broken wrist and internal injuries.

On Thursday evening, he turned across an intersection in front of a car in a 100kmh area – as his mum was buying cherries across the road.

She ran to where he had been flung on to the road.

"I was in shock, a panic, I could feel myself losing it but you have to pull yourself together. I'm just so very glad he is alive."

Peter was yelling in pain, but managed to tell her the crash was his fault. "He was adamant."

Off-duty doctors at the scene cared for him.

The mother of five had been following her son, who she and husband, Shannon, had just allowed to bike through the city, to make sure he was riding safely.

After deciding Peter was safe, she overtook him and stopped to buy fruit from a roadside stall.

Speaking at the hospital yesterday, she said his recovery would be arduous. His condition was listed as critical.

"His leg is smashed, about quarter of the bone is split off. But he could've been the sixth [death]."

She had not spoken to the vehicle driver at the scene, but said she had no anger towards the woman. "It was an accident."

Peter's was the sixth serious cycle crash in six days. Five people have died.

Patricia Fraser, 34, was killed in a crash while cycling near Sanson, on Saturday.

On the same day, 10 friends were cycling together near Morrinsville, Waikato, when three were were hit by a vehicle.

Wilhelm Muller, 71, and Mark Ferguson, 46, died at the scene. Kay Wolfe, 45, died in hospital on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Jane Bishop, 27, was killed when her bicycle was hit by a truck in Auckland.

On Thursday, Jacqueline Wyatt, 12, was knocked off her bike as she cycled to school in Blenheim. She was in a critical but stable condition in Auckland's Starship children's hospital last night

Hastings Boys High School headmaster Robert Sturch said his heart sank when he heard that one of his pupils had been in a cycle crash.

"Peter is a super boy from a lovely family."

Mr Sturch had 600 pupils at the college, with about 70 regularly biking to and from school.

"I really worry every time they head out of the gate. I'm there every day checking helmets."

The school lost a year 10 pupil, Michael Harvey, in a crash on the last day of school six years ago.

"Teenage boys are impulsive. It's like driving. They can do it very well, but they make one mistake and there can be tragic consequences."

Senior Sergeant Ross Smith said charges against the driver were unlikely, however charges against the cyclist could not be ruled out.

Chief coroner Judge Neil MacLean has announced a special inquest into cycle safety in the aftermath of the five deaths.

The latest cycle deaths will be examined alongside others on public roads in the past three years not already resolved by coroners.

The Dominion Post