Cyclist's husband didn't hear truck coming

BELINDA FEEK
Last updated 14:35 07/07/2014

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The husband of a cyclist killed when she was hit by a truck in Taupo told an inquest he didn't heard the vehicle approach from behind.

Ian Farrelly took to the stand during the first day of an inquest into the death of his wife, Jane, in Poihipi Rd on March 16 last year.

The police investigated the crash, but did not charge the driver of the truck and trailer unit, Larry James Boulcott.

Farrelly, of South Auckland, and a group of friends had gone to the area to take part in Annies Girls on Bikes ride - a 92-kilometre ride for women.

Due to a lack of numbers the ride was cancelled, but Farrelly told coroner Gordon Matenga that he and his wife had decided to do it anyway at a leisurely pace.

They were all members of the Manukau Vets Cycle Club with experience levels between four and 30 years.

Farrelly had made two statements. The first one was to Taupo police Constable Tina Mitchell-Ellis and the second to private investigator Ray Watson this year after disputing aspects of his first statement.

He said Mitchell-Ellis was professional but had been tired after working the previous 48 hours without a break due to four fatal crashes in the area.

Farrelly told the inquest the group of seven left Kinloch about 9am and were in Poihipi Rd when the accident happened.

The cyclists had split into two and had just made their way down a hill before going up a slight incline.

Farrelly was in the rear group with himself dubbed "tail-end Charlie", being the last cyclist.

Boulcott's truck and trailer passed his group "relatively close" with rider, Alison Van Dyk, commenting, "Oh, s...."

Farrelly said his wife had veered out into the lane. The truck made contact with her front wheel or handlebars.

"We saw the truck go straight through the bike and spat it out the other side. The way the body rolled I knew it was unconscious."

The truck had been unusually quiet and he hadn't been aware of it until it was right next to him, he said.

The truck passed "within arm's reach", he said.

He was later told that his wife had had trouble with her shoe and that she had been reaching down with her right hand.

His wife had been further into the lane than she should have been, he said.

Mitchell-Ellis had recorded Farrelly as saying that his wife's bike came out of the single file at an angle of 30 to 45 degrees, however he denied having said that when sitting in the witness box.
He agreed that his wife had come out from her line at an angle. He likened the angle to two experienced riders riding side by side, or shoulder to shoulder.
In response to questions from Sergeant Mark Robertson, Farrelly said it was had been an "unusual movement to what a rider would normally do when riding in a straight line".
The inquest is set down for three days.

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- Waikato Times

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