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A DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN ...

By Michele McPherson

Crashes on the Kaimai Ranges have more than halved since April but police are still seeing stupid driving - including a motorcycle being towed behind a car using a flimsy piece of rope tied around the forks.
Police described that incident as "idiotic", with the car towing the bike clocked travelling at 63km/h on 8.25am on July 17. The legal speed for towing a motorbike is 30km/h or less.
Sergeant Mike Owen said the motorbike rider and his friend told police they used that type of rope so that if anything happened it would snap easily and he could avoid the disaster.
Mr Owen said even a sharp tug on the rope as the car driver put his brakes on could cause the rider to come off the bike and fall into the oncoming traffic. "The bike was fair wobbling," he said. The motorbike rider had broken down on the Waikato side of Kaimai Ranges and phoned a friend to come and tow him to Tauranga.
He also held only a learners motorcycle licence, meaning he can only ride a bike which is 250cc or less, however, the bike he was riding was a 750cc.
Mr Owen said the police campaign on the Kaimais, combined with the public's assistance, was proving a success.
Between April and June, there have been 14 crashes compared with 33 for the same period last year - a drop of 57 per cent.
Ten crashes occurred on the Kamai Ranges during April, nine of which were non-injury and one was minor injury. Six of the crashes happened in wet weather. The other four crashes occurred in May, three were non-injury and one was minor injury. One of the four occurred during wet weather. There were no accidents in June.
Over the past five years between April and September, 239 crashes in which 10 people died occurred on the stretch of State Highway 29 between Barkes Corner in Tauranga and Rapurapu Rd on the Waikato side of the Kaimai Ranges.
In order to prevent another winter of carnage on the Kaimais, Tauranga police vowed to crack down on high risk drivers who were speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or not driving to the conditions.
About 10,000 vehicles pass over the Kaimai Ranges each day.
Police have issued more than 1000 speeding tickets and more than 300 for other offences including dangerous overtaking, failing to keep left of the centre line and following too close.
EXCUSES, EXCUSES
Reasons given to police for speeding
*  "I'm in a hurry because an auction is about to close on TradeMe." While travelling at 25km/hr over the speed limit.
*  "I thought it was 90km/h (speed limit) plus 10 per cent." From a truckie travelling at 102km/h.
*  "I'm nearly out of petrol so I was rushing to get to the petrol station." The air-conditioning was also running in the car at the time.
*  "I was testing the brakes and tuning the motor." While travelling at 165km/h on the highway.
For not wearing a seatbelt
*  "It might strangle the bird on my shoulder." The woman was advised to swap the bird to the other shoulder or sit on the other side of the vehicle.
For not having a current registration
*  "I never, ever take the car on the road."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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