Driver to plead guilty

A Gordonton man accused of colliding with a group of cyclists on Puketaha Rd last month will plead guilty, his lawyer says.

Nicholas Dryland, 22, appeared in Hamilton District Court today (Friday 9 August)  to face a charge of aggravated careless use of a motor vehicle by illegally overtaking causing death and two charges of careless driving causing injury, says the NZ Herald.

Through lawyer Thomas Sutcliffe, Mr Dryland indicated he was likely to plead guilty to all charges.
The maximum penalty for each charge is three years’ imprisonment or a $10,000 fine.

He was remanded without plea to reappear on August 22.

The charges relate to an incident on July 1 when Mr Dryland allegedly hit top cyclist and ironman competitor Craig Goulsbro and a group of 14 friends with his vehicle on Puketaha Road. The group was celebrating the second anniversary of the opening of their friend Bob Puru’s Flagstaff cycle shop with a 46km ride.

Mr Goulsbro, 50, suffered serious injuries as a result of the accident and died at Waikato Hospital two days later.

In a Waikato Times story after the accident Road Transport Association Waikato area executive Gary Masters said that there were plenty of Waikato roads where cyclists simply should not go – and Puketaha Rd was one of them.

“You have a 2.8 metre-wide lane there with no shoulders. A truck takes up 2.5m and that leaves absolutely no room for mistakes.”

However, it was often not the amount of space towards the centre of the road the cyclists took up that was the problem – rather, it was the length of the groups of cyclists that posed the dangers.
“You get these groups of 15 to 20 cyclists all riding in single file and you tend to occasionally get a worm effect, where they start to sway back and forth.

“These groups of cyclists can be in a chain up to 50 to 60 metres long and that’s really dangerous. It is the same reason why they don’t let trucks drive four or five behind each other in a convoy – that’s illegal. You need to treat overtaking [the cyclists] as if you were overtaking another vehicle, and it can be a bloody long vehicle to overtake.”

Mr Masters said to make things safer for other road users, the cyclists should travel in groups of no more than five – and only ride on roads where there was “a decent shoulder” of room at each side.

An accident in Poihipi Rd in Taupo in March in which a woman rider was clipped by a passing truck and killed, was a chilling example of what could happen, he said.

“I’m not saying it is all the cyclists’ fault. There are some ignorant buggers driving cars too. But the cyclists are going on planned outings. They need to put some caution and thought into where they are going.”

Click here for the full story in the Waikato Times.

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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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