'Hair-raising' near miss sparks alarm

MATT BOWEN
Last updated 13:04 12/07/2014
Courier driver
KELLY HODEL/FairfaxNZ

NIFTY JACKET: Courier driver Robin Thomsen and the camera that recorded a hair-raising near miss with a cyclist.

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Crashing into and killing a cyclist is a courier's worst nightmare, a Hamilton driver says.

Central city courier van driver Robin Thomsen spends each work day rolling in and out of businesses in Waikato's busiest streets and last Monday's fatal collision between a separate courier company's van and rider Margaret Pouw hit home.

A dash-board camera recorded the moment he nearly bowled into a cyclist at the intersection of Bryce and Anglesea streets.

It was "hair raising stuff", Thomsen said.

"I thought I was going to hit him. It was 7.10am and still dark and the cyclist just blew through his red light and into oncoming traffic.

"He wasn't wearing clothing that made him visible, I don't even know if he had lights on his bike. I had no time to react at all, and it came so close to ending badly. I hate to think what would have happened if there was a collision."

Thomsen was shaking afterwards when he realised how close it was.

"I had to sit in my van by the road and relax for a bit."

Police investigations into Monday's fatal crash are ongoing. However, initial indications suggest that Pouw was travelling north on Morrinsville Rd shortly before 7am and turned right into Matangi Rd, directly into the path of an oncoming south bound courier van.

Pouw was wearing a cycle helmet, had hi-vis clothing on and her bike was equipped with a light.

Despite his near miss in central Hamilton, Thomsen said cyclists generally obeyed the road rules and it was rare to see them doing something dangerous.

"It is probably more common to see car drivers behaving badly, but the difference is that car drivers have significantly more protection than an exposed cyclist and are probably less likely to get hurt."

Monday's fatal highlighted how important it was to stay alert while driving, Thomsen said.

"It's really sad to hear about this. I think this must be every courier driver's worst nightmare - getting in an accident where someone gets hurt. You just have to be so careful out on the roads, and aware of what's happening around you."

Thomsen's camera has proven to be a "great little investment" at $59. It continually records everything happening in front of him, so it doesn't distract him or require any interaction.

"Hopefully I never have an accident, but it is nice to have a recording of events if something does happen."

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