The mystery of the owner of a crashed motorbike towed from the Whangamoa Saddle yesterday was solved when the rider turned up at the Nelson Police Station to report the bike stolen.
Police spent several hours yesterday searching for a missing rider, possibly with a few bruises and scratches, after a Kawasaki road bike was found apparently abandoned down a bank on the summit of the Whangamoa Saddle.
Inspector Ian McKenzie, of Nelson, said at the scene yesterday it seemed the rider had either walked up the bank and away from the scene, or the bike had been dumped.
The rider, a foreigner, turned up several hours later at the Nelson Police Station to report the bike stolen after he had gone back to the Whangamoa Saddle to retrieve it. Police, fire and ambulance staff had by then hauled the bike up the bank, tidied the scene, reconciled there was no rider so had the bike transported away.
Police discovered that the motorcyclist had fallen off the bike about 3am yesterday when it went down the bank. The rider was unhurt, but unable to get the bike back up the bank so left it there.
The Kawasaki KLE, about 450cc, was noticed around mid-morning yesterday by a truck driver who pulled over into the layby at the top of the hill to let traffic past.
Mr McKenzie said the truck driver noticed skid marks on the road and looked down the bank where he noticed the bike some metres down in the bush.
Mr McKenzie said police were able to deduce the bike had been there no longer than overnight.
Initial checks showed it had been in Wellington up to at least 5.20pm on Thursday, city parking records showed.
Nyanne Graf-Pollard, of Highway Patrol, who was photographing the bike, said police had contacted Nelson Hospital but it did not appear anyone had shown up in relation to the accident. Police had also contacted a Nelson work address in the hope of tracking the bike's owner, but with no success.
"It's really frustrating when people have accidents and don't let us know. All these resources are utilised, but even if people don't want to report something they should at least indicate no-one is hurt so we can put a tape around it and know we don't have to go hunting," Ms Graf-Pollard said.
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