4 Dec 2012

Five motorcyclists among weekend road deaths

12:03 am on 4 December 2012

Seven people have died on North Island roads during the weekend, five of them motorcyclists.

Two motorbike riders were killed in a collision with a van just outside Normanby in South Taranaki during a charity bike ride on Saturday.

They were among an estimated 200 riders from the Taranaki Bikers Rights Organisation taking gifts to needy children.

The van driver was airlifted to Waikato Hospital where he was in critical condition on Monday. Another four people injured in the crash remained in Taranaki Hospital.

Bikers Rights Organisation of New Zealand spokesperson Byron Cummins says riders used to get far more support from the police than they do now, and that needs to change.

Mr Cummins says riders at such events were in the past sometimes headed by a police car and police vehicles would wait by major intersections.

He says this does not happen so much now. He says he is not blaming police rather insufficient funding, Government policy, or a lack of manpower.

Police say there are many rallies like this and it is not realistic for them to escort them all.

Four riders were injured in the crash; one is in Middlemore Hospital in Auckland with multiple fractures, and three are in a stable condition in Taranaki Hospital.

Three other deaths during the weekend involved motorcyclists. A motorcyclist hit a bollard on the Waikato expressway on Sunday night, while on Saturday one person died in Taumaranui and a 21-year-old farmer was killed when his motorcycle and a car collided near Opotiki.

One person died when a car crashed into a shed in Hauraki, and a three-car smash at Ruakaka south of Whangarei claimed two lives.