Hit-and-run rider 'deplorable'

SASHA BORISSENKO
Last updated 13:00 10/01/2014
Georgia Thomas
MARTIN DE RUYTER/Fairfax NZ
AFTERMATH: Georgia Thomas with the bent front wheel of her bicycle, which was damaged in a hit-and-run incident in Stoke.

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A mother is outraged after an adult cyclist crashed into her 12-year-old daughter's bike, leaving her injured and in tears.

Georgia Thomas was riding on the shared cycleway on Langdon Bridge, next to the Whakatu Dr roundabout at Annesbrook, at 9.15am on Tuesday when the other cyclist, who was travelling downhill on the wrong side of the path, crashed head on into her.

Georgia landed underneath her bike, with the man and his bike on top. As she was lying on the ground in shock, the man said he "had to go", jumped up and cycled off.

She suffered a bleeding arm and bruising to her shoulder, elbow, thigh and knee.

"I was really freaked out," she said. "If I crashed into someone, I would definitely make sure they were OK, especially if they were younger."

She described the man as about 25 years old with brown hair and a distinctive black diamond tattoo on his upper arm. He was wearing a grey T-shirt and jeans cut off at the knees.

The man was riding a black mountainbike with flat frame tubing.

The crash left the front wheel of Georgia's bike bent and the frame cracked. It cannot be repaired. Her helmet was also cracked.

"When I saw the state of my bike, my first thought was, ‘Mum's going to kill me'."

Georgia's mother, Michelle, said it was clear from the damage that the man had been riding too fast.

"Just looking at the nature of the hill, if you pedal down that bridge, you are flying."

A serious injury could have damaged Georgia's promising athletics career. She has been a member of the Tasman running team and has qualified for this year's Colgate Games track and field competition.

Ms Thomas said she could not understand how an adult could leave someone hurt, let alone a young girl.

It was basically a hit-and-run, she said. "He needs to man up and be responsible for his actions."

A police spokeswoman said a description of the cyclist was circulated when the accident was reported, but there had been no sightings of him.

"Other than taking a complaint, there is nothing more we can do."

Bicycle Nelson Bays co-ordinator John-Paul Pochin said the cyclist's actions were deplorable.

Nelson's cycleways and shared paths were generally safe for cyclists, he said. All users, whether walking or cycling, should be entitled to use these routes safely.

"This incident would be a double blow if it destroys the riding confidence of the child.

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"We all need to recognise that as cycling becomes more popular and routes more busy, we all need to adjust our speeds and be more tolerant of other users."

Mr Pochin said there were bad cyclists, just like there were bad drivers of motor vehicles. "Let's not allow this kind of behaviour to get established here."

- The Nelson Mail

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