Photographer ran into car's path

A Christchurch man who was standing on the centre line of a road died after he "inadvertently" ran into the path of an oncoming vehicle, a coroner has ruled.

Graham Tuaraki Radcliffe, 66, died in Christchurch Hospital on November 8, 2010, from the serious head injuries he sustained.

Coroner Richard McElrea's report said the semi-retired professional photographer was travelling south with his wife on State Highway 6, approaching the single-lane Taramakau Bridge south of Greymouth, on November 3, 2010, when he decided to stop and take a photo.

Radcliffe parked his car at the northern entrance of the bridge and after he took the photos began walking across the road towards his vehicle.

As he approached the centre of the road he noticed a vehicle travelling towards him from across the bridge, and he decided to move left, back the way he came.

The driver of the approaching vehicle, a 16-year-old youth who held a restricted driver's licence, saw the man standing in the middle of the road and swerved to the left to avoid him.

"In his attempt to avoid the oncoming vehicle, Mr Radcliffe has decided to move to the side of the road but has opted to retreat inadvertently into the altered course of the vehicle. The vehicle has collided with him, causing him to fly in the air," the coroner's report said.

Senior Constable Simon Burbery, of the Tasman police, who investigated the crash, said had Radcliffe stayed where he was, "no impact would have taken place".

The driver was not charged.

 A witness, who was travelling in a vehicle heading south, said she saw Radcliffe near the bridge and thought "that was a dangerous thing to do".

"He was close to the end of the bridge. As he neared the centre of the road, he looked towards the bridge, quickly turned and ran back the way he came,'' she said.

''At the same time, I saw a vehicle exit the bridge. The vehicle was swerving towards the west side of the road. The man ran straight into the front of the vehicle." 

The coroner concluded Radcliffe placed himself in a "vulnerable position" by moving to the middle of the road while near the northern end of the bridge.

The Press