Cyclists suffer spate of broken bones on driveways built as part of Kapiti Expressway
The $630 million Kapiti Expressway has already claimed several victims, a month out from its likely opening.
Cyclists in Waikanae have been left with shattered bones after being thrown off their bikes by high kerbs on new driveways built as part of an expressway interchange.
An urgent investigation has begun after a cluster of injuries to riders using the driveways near the Waikanae interchange.
They include retired police chief superintendent and former ACC deputy Maurie Cummings, who broke his shoulder, hip and pelvis after mounting one of the driveways in Te Moana Rd, beside the nearly completed expressway.
Cummings, a regular cyclist, said his crash, on December 8, came after he was directed on to the roadside around resealing work.
His front wheel slid on a driveway kerb and he fell on to metal. "I didn't feel too good for a wee while."
He lay on the roadside for two hours, being cared for by bystanders and roading crew, before he was taken to Wellington Hospital by ambulance.
"I was in hospital for six days. I'm still on a crutch and likely to be for another couple of weeks.
"I've got a broken shoulder, and I have got small fractures ... of the hip and the pelvis."
The problem, he believed, was that the lip at the kerbed entrance to the new driveway was too high, and it caught his cycle wheels.
The group building the expressway said the driveway heights were within specifications – but the matter was being investigated urgently, and the driveways could yet be changed.
Resident Elaine Engman, who was thrown off her bike on December 31, said her driveway was one of several near the interchange that were replaced over December, but it was unclear why.
Her head bounced off the ground when she fell while trying to enter her driveway from the road.
She was wearing a helmet, which was left with scrapes along its side.
On January 5, she went to check her mail and found a cyclist at the end of her driveway with a shattered arm. There appeared to be bone visible through a cut.
The injured woman, who did not want to be named, said she returned from Wellington Hospital on Monday, said she entered the driveway to get away from the traffic, "and the tyres didn't go up, it's too high".
"I can still see it now, it's awful: falling, and just going 'Oh no,' and then concrete."
She broke her wrist and a bone in her arm, and needed about four hours of surgery.
Neighbour Ann Laing said she was in her driveway on December 26 when she heard a yell and crash from behind her, and turned to find a cyclist on the ground.
The woman, riding with another cyclist, was able to pick herself up and bike away.
Laing and Cummings both said they were told by expressway staff that there was a mistake in the kerbing work.
Engman said she measured the lip on the driveway entrance and found it was double the height of the previous driveways.
Expressway project manager John Palm said the alliance of the NZ Transport Agency, contractors and Kapiti Coast District Council was working "as a matter of urgency" to investigate the crashes and could make changes.
The driveways were replaced because the road was widened, and its height lifted as it approached the interchange.
The new driveway lips were higher "than many older crossings", but were still within required specifications.
Council infrastructure services group manager Sean Mallon said council traffic engineers had been out to investigate.
The council was working with the alliance "to see what improvements can be made to prevent future injury".
The four-lane expressway, cutting across Te Moana Rd, is expected to be opened by late February.