Cyclist lucky to be standing after hit-and-run on busy Hamilton road
Tess Smith is lucky to be standing after an apparent hit-and-run on Wednesday morning.
Turning on Hamilton's Victoria St, she was knocked off her bicycle by a motor scooter.
"He could have stayed and owned up to it," she says.
Instead, the driver swore at her and took off as she lost consciousness.
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"I'm just happy I'm alive, I'm just happy it was a [scooter] not a car."
The former personal trainer wasn't wearing a helmet as she ran a quick errand in town.
Her expensive bicycle and gear were stolen last week – a thief cut through two chains while she was having a coffee – and she hasn't been able to replace the helmet yet.
Looking to make a quick U-turn on her new bike, she checked that traffic was clear ahead and behind on Victoria St.
The moped was nowhere to be seen, she says.
"He must have shot out … he must have come around the corner and put his foot on the gas.
"I was thinking in the back of my head, 'Where did you come from?'"
Smith remembers grabbing the driver for stability as he collided with her from behind. Both of them fell onto the tarmac.
"In that moment everything feels fast and slow, it's hard to explain."
The driver swore at her, picked up his scooter and took off.
"He was freaking out … you could see it in his eyes."
As Smith lost consciousness, staff from nearby businesses rushed to help her.
Aesthete Gallery owner Lyn Chapman heard the thud as she hung a painting in her shop window.
She thought the driver was lifting the scooter off Smith to assist her. He had taken off by the time she was out of the front door.
Fastlane Fitness worker Liam Robinson saw Smith get hit "pretty hard".
"The driver got up pretty quickly … took off pretty quickly down the road."
Emily Webb called the ambulance after witnessing the crash from the gym.
"It's just so cowardly, it just makes me so upset."
Webb said the intersection of Victoria and Rostrevor streets frequently caused problems.
"We see so many near misses."
Tess Smith and her bike after the hit and run.
Emergency services attended the scene and St John staff transported Smith to Waikato Hospital.
Plastic from the scooter's lights could be seen on the road, and a pair of white wraparound sunglasses were located at the scene.
Smith was concussed, bruised, and cut, but cleared of any broken bones.
She returned to the gym to find her bike had a buckled front wheel.
This isn't the first time Smith has been in a hit-and-run.
Last year, she was thrown off her bike just a couple of hundred metres down the road at the roundabout on Rostrevor and Harwood streets.
The driver of the car also took off, but not before running over her bike.
"Hit-and-runs are very common here, I didn't want to believe it, but it's true."
Police are yet to locate the driver of the dark grey scooter.
Smith has already forgiven him.
"I just feel sorry for him, that he wasn't a man enough to stick around, because a real decent man would have.
"I used to think scooters were so cute, I don't think they're cute any more."