Blackspot claims another victim
Residents of the Hope community are calling for the speed limit to be lowered near one of the area's hottest crash spots.
On Wednesday, 19-year-old Georgia Bartlett was returning home from her partner's house when she was hit head-on by an oncoming car on State Highway 6.
Bartlett said she was turning right onto Edens Rd, where she has lived for 10 years, when a car overtook another turning right onto Aniseed Valley Rd from the other direction and crashed into the front of her 1996 Nissan Navara.
Her ute, which is now a write-off, was spun around and ended up on the other side of the road.
The former Waimea College student spent six hours in hospital after the accident and is now recovering from severe bruising and whiplash down her sternum and across her chest.
"The sounds keep playing over and over in my mind," she said.
"I couldn't stop crying yesterday. I already feel scared about driving again."
The 3-kilometre stretch of state highway where Bartlett crashed has a speed limit of 100kmh, but is flanked either side by 70kmh speed limits.
Bartlett's mother Natalee said the four-way intersection was "unforgiving" and the damage could have been much worse.
There were no turning bays, limited visibility for turning out of side roads and cars approached too quickly, she said.
"There's no room for error. I always tell my kids to go the back way, but even that's dangerous."
Hoddy's Orchard managing director Michael Hoddy said: "There is no question that at peak times it's a very busy intersection."
His orchard is on the corner of Aniseed Valley Rd and SH6, and he said in the past there was not as much pressure on the road as it was a less built-up area. "Everyone using it has felt nervous at some point," he said.
NZ Transport Agency media manager Anthony Frith said the agency shared concerns about the intersection, and was planning to add right-turn bays and remove trees obscuring motorists' view.
"Most crashes appear to be largely linked to difficulties motorists experience at the intersection, rather than to speed," he said.
Work would not begin until the end of this year at the earliest and would take about four weeks, said Frith.
However, locals insist this won't fix the problem and the speed limit is the real issue.
"It's not the width of the road that's the problem, that's silly to think," said SH6 resident Owen English.
He and his wife have been in two accidents during the 10 years they have lived on the highway and he said he often saw motorists driving at "well over 100".
"It's the drivers, not the road," he said.
Joyce Johnston, of Eden Park and Gardens, on the corner of Edens Rd, agreed crashes "really do happen too often".
"The speed limit is too high, it needs to go down to 70 or 80kmh," she said.
Johnston said she always tells customers to be careful of the intersection when they leave, and has a sign in the car park wishing visitors a safe journey.
The Nelson Mail