Crashes lead to warning for 'vulnerable' bikers

SARAH DUNN
Last updated 13:00 10/02/2014
crash
CRASH SCENE: Emergency services were called to the scene in Mariri, just south of Motueka, just after midnight on Saturday.

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Motorcyclists are being warned of their vulnerability in the wake of two serious crashes in the Nelson region, one of them fatal.

Police serious crash investigators are looking into the causes of the crash that killed 22-year-old Nelson chef Shea Ketish Narayan-Laing on Nelson's Wakefield Quay on Thursday, and a crash at Mariri at midnight on Saturday that has left a Richmond man with serious injuries.

"Quite a high proportion of our fatal vehicle crashes are motorcycles," Nelson Bays police area commander Inspector Steve Greally said today.

"There's not much protection for motorcyclists. You need to have your wits about you, because you are not afforded any protection.

"For a 22-year-old to lose his life . . . when there is little risk is tragic and unnecessary, and I'm sure his family would be taking it profoundly hard. Something we always advocate for is [to] watch your speed, no matter what you are riding, and know what your environment is."

The fatal crash was disappointing but police had "absolute empathy" for Mr Narayan-Laing's family. he said. The death would be referred to the coroner.

Mr Narayan-Laing died when he crashed into a parked car.

Jody Keefe-Laing, 26, said his brother was an experienced rider who had bought his first scooter as soon as he earned his learner's driving licence at 15. He had gone through several scooters over the years, but the Yamaha motorcycle he was riding when he crashed was his first "real" bike.

Mr Keefe-Laing said the more powerful bike was a step up from his brother's earlier rides. "He loved it."

He said Mr Narayan-Laing was "kind-hearted" and popular, and was close to family and friends.

His boss at the Honest Lawyer, Chris Baillie, said Mr Narayan-Laing had been employed by the Monaco pub for four years. He had worked his way up to become a sous chef.

"He was a very talented young fella. Honestly, I couldn't say a bad word against him. He'd do anything for anybody . . . really smiley, friendly, hard worker."

He said Mr Narayan-Laing was interested in experiencing different cooking environments, and ultimately developing his talent towards fine dining.

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On Saturday night at Mariri, a large three-wheeled motorcycle with two riders left Robinson Rd, rolled and landed in a ditch. The road is used as a link between the Moutere highway and the coastal highway.

A Richmond man in his 50s suffered life-threatening injuries, and a woman, also in her 50s, had minor facial injuries, said St John Ambulance shift manager Mike Casey.

Emergency services were alerted by a member of the public just before midnight, he said.

The Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter flew the man in a critical condition to Nelson Hospital, where he was in a stable condition in intensive care today. The woman was taken to hospital by ambulance.

While the cause of the crash is being investigated, Mr Greally said police had noticed a number of crashes involving "a midlife crisis of men who decide to reinvent their youth and buy a big bike without the necessary experience".

He said anyone riding a motorcycle should do a safety course. "Big, powerful bikes can cause serious injuries."

- Nelson

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