'Lucky' motorcyclist avoids serious injury in accident
A motorcyclist flung four metres on to the rocks next to Nelson's Rocks Rd is lucky to be alive, people who saw the accident say.
Steve Taylor, 33, of Tahunanui, was riding his Suzuki motorcycle towards Tahunanui about 4pm yesterday when he blacked out, slid across the road, crashed into the roadside chains and fell on to the rocks, witnesses said.
An ambulance crew, firefighters and police attended the accident scene before Mr Taylor was taken to Nelson Hospital, where he was in a stable condition today.
St John Ambulance shift manager Mike Casey said Mr Taylor suffered minor injuries to his lower back and a suspected fractured collarbone.
"When someone has a motorcycle accident and they come out with relatively minor injuries, you know they are really lucky," he said.
Nelson Fire Service station officer Kevin O'Connor said it was firefighters' job to get Mr Taylor off the rocks as soon as possible, using a fire engine's ladder.
It was lucky that Mr Taylor was travelling at a relatively low speed at the time of the crash, he said.
A police officer at the scene said it appeared that Mr Taylor had suffered heatstroke or something similar.
Mr Taylor's friend, John King, who was coincidentally driving along Rocks Rd when he recognised his friend's crashed bike, said he was very happy to see his friend alive.
Mr King said Mr Taylor had been to the gym just before the crash, so he must have suffered heatstroke or forgotten to eat enough, which would explain a blackout. He may have overheated in his motorcycle leathers.
"It's sad to see a friend get a bit hurt, but Steve's young and healthy and soon he will be right."
Anna Marshall and father Ray Marshall were first on the scene.
Miss Marshall said she saw Mr Taylor travelling towards Tahunanui when he slumped over his handlebars.
His motorcycle tilted towards the ground and was flung across the road. It then bounced off the raised edge of the footpath and crashed into the chains, and Mr Taylor flew on to the rocks.
Miss Marshall said she could not imagine what the damage would have been like had the barrier not prevented the motorcycle from falling on to the rocks as well.
The chains definitely slowed Mr Taylor's fall, she said.
"What if it was high tide? He could have drowned, and we would have had to get in there to try and get him out."
Initially, Mr Taylor lay on the rocks with his eyes open and was not speaking, she said.
"He looked like he could have been dead."
He soon regained consciousness, and called out for her to remove his helmet as quickly as possible.
Mr Marshall said Mr Taylor's new-looking gear and "major" helmet definitely saved his life. "The helmet is pretty darn dented."
It was lucky that there were no pedestrians or cars on that side of the road, he said, although two tourists narrowly missed being hit.
"All in all, he is pretty lucky to be alive."
German tourist Ann-Katrin Kelle saw the crash. She said she was shocked, and started running to get help while her friend Julia Rosendahl called emergency services.
Ms Rosendahl said she was relieved that she and Ms Kelle had been walking very slowly along the footpath. If they were walking at their usual pace, they could have been hit by the motorcycle.
Traffic was diverted from Rocks Rd until the crash scene was cleared.