Crash victim blames road design

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 24/07/2013

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Road builders are standing by their design of a Bell Block ramp despite an injured cyclist calling it into question.

In the New Plymouth District Court, Darren Paul Prentis, 31, a builder, was convicted of careless driving causing injury to the cyclist.

The cyclist, who was not named, suffered a broken pelvis.

But in her victim impact statement to the court, she said: "I do not blame the driver." Rather, her crash was a result of the poor design of the overpass, she said.

NZ Transport Agency highway manager David McGonigal said yesterday the Henwood St ramp was designed to meet modern safety standards and the court's judgment made it clear the crash was caused by the careless actions of the driver.

"The layout of the give-way configuration is standard throughout the road network.

"While the impediment of visibility by trucks in adjacent lanes is unfortunate, again the onus is on the driver whose vision is obscured to be patient and only enter the intersection when they can be sure the way is clear," Mr McGonigal said.

During the court case, Judge Allan Roberts said he accepted the point of impact was as a result of Prentis edging out past the other vehicle in order to see if the way was clear.

Because of this and the actions he took to protect the cyclist from further danger he would not disqualify him from driving.

The police summary says at 4.30pm on May 15 in busy traffic, Prentis was driving his Toyota car on Devon Rd, Bell Block. He stopped at the give way to turn left on to Henwood Rd.

However, he was unable to see to the right because a large truck was stopped beside him in the right hand turning bay.

When Prentis edged forward to see past the truck his car struck a cyclist riding on Henwood Rd.

The cyclist was unable to recover her balance and, several metres away, fell from her bike.

Prentis stopped to help and protect her from being struck by other traffic at the busy intersection.

The cyclist was taken to hospital with two pelvic fractures, a sprained shoulder, bruising and grazing.

Neither the bike nor the car were damaged.

Prentis was convicted and ordered to make an emotional harm payment of $700 to the cyclist.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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