Whangārei motorcyclist Tony is angry after a motorist who drove into his bike and made threats against him won’t be prosecuted by police. He says the county will never achieve its Road to Zero road safety goal if dangerous drivers are not held to account. Photo / Mike Dinsdale
A Whangārei motorcyclist struck from behind by a vehicle on State Highway 1 then threatened by the driver is angry the motorist won’t be charged over the “potentially deadly” incident.
Tony, who does not want his surname used, said the country would never achieve its Road To Zero road safety target if dangerous drivers were not held to account.
He was driving south of Whangārei on SH1 on February 19. As he was pulling away from the Rewarewa Rd lights, a car hit his rear wheel, forcing him into action to stop himself from falling off. He said it would have been potentially deadly if he had been travelling faster or had fallen off.
Tony said he then indicated for the driver to pull over further up the road, which he did.
However, Tony said the man threatened and abused him and would not give his full details. The man took a photograph of the damage on the man’s car from where it hit his motorbike and passed this on to police.
“He was so angry and admitted he deliberately drove into me. He wouldn’t give me all his details, threatened me and drove off,” Tony said.
He was disappointed at the response from police after they investigated and said there would be no formal prosecution of the driver.
“Police have issued the driver of the vehicle with a formal warning for following too closely. Police assessed both accounts of the situation and there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a formal prosecution. No further action is currently required,” police said in response to questions from the Northern Advocate over the incident.
“This means there is a motorist out there who deliberately drives into the back of motorcyclists and then threatens people when they pull him over and police do not appear to be doing anything about it,” Tony said.
“That’s [police response] a crock. What they are saying is that it was my word against his, so what they should have done is put the case before a judge or jury and let them decide who is telling the truth. If police just take a person’s word like that and don’t put it to the test in court, people will never be held to account for their appalling and dangerous driving.”
He said it could have ended far worse if he had fallen off the motorbike when hit from behind by the man.
Tony, who has been riding motorbikes for more than four decades, said it was little surprise there was so much carnage on the roads when police seemed reluctant to apprehend a dangerous driver when they have been provided with their details.
He said the Road to Zero campaign would never achieve its goals if dangerous drivers like the man he encountered were not dealt with as soon as possible, rather than being allowed to continue driving and putting others at risk.
Road to Zero sets a target to reduce deaths and serious injuries on New Zealand’s roads, cycleways and footpaths by 40 per cent over 10 years to 2030.
“It’s no wonder our roads are so dangerous when they let dangerous drivers like this get away without being held to account for their actions. He’s now free to be back out there driving with his attitude that motorcyclists are just a hassle and can be forced out of the way like that,” Tony said.
“If the police are serious about reducing road deaths, they should hold bad drivers to account and get them off the roads, not giving them a slap on the wrist. The fact they gave him a warning for following too close shows that they believed some of what I said, and the areas under dispute should be put before the courts for them to decide.”
Northland’s 2023 road toll stands at 22, compared to 13 at the same time last year. The 2022 total of 38 road deaths was the highest in 22 years.