Cyclist's freak fall on iWay path

By LAWRENCE GULLERY

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Cyclist Peter Halstead was left bruised and battered after being literally flagged down while biking on the new iWay pathway between Hastings and Havelock North.

Mr Halstead, APN Print Hastings' manager, was cycling home to Havelock North on Tuesday evening when the freak crash occurred.

"I was riding on the left hand side and approaching the Strawberry Patch on the pathway on Havelock Rd when there was a lady cycling towards me on the other side of the path.

"I saw a flag starting to flutter and tried to move to the right to avoid it but couldn't otherwise I might have hit the other cyclist."

Mr Halstead said the advertising flag outside the gate of the Strawberry Patch was moving "right across the pathway" and impossible to avoid.

"I went straight into it and it wrapped me up. I went down into the path head first. It was a hell of a bang on the head and all I remember is seeing a lot of stars afterwards.

"My knees and elbows were grazed and my helmet cracked. The helmet took most of the fall."

The crash was outside the main road entrance to the farm. The passing cyclists turned around to help.

His shoulder "felt a bit sore" but he managed to cycle home and later in the evening attended his daughter's birthday as planned.

"I went down to the A&E; at 7am the next day. I had an X-ray done and it appeared the AC joint in my arm had popped out."

Mr Halstead visited the Strawberry Patch later in the week to ask if the flag could be moved.

A manager for Strawberry Patch said the flag had been taken down. The flag was "no bigger than normal" from others the business had showed in previous years.

A primary school pupil crashed his bike on the Havelock Rd iWay pathway about two weeks ago and police were checking whether it was the result of hitting the bollards in the middle of the path.

"Lots of cars come out on to the cycleway and I'm not sure if the bollards work. Some cars park right across the pathway waiting to turn out into the road," Mr Halstead said.

The Hastings District Council was awarded about $10 million for Stage 2 of its iWay project.

Staff at the council in charge of managing the iWay network could not be contacted for comment. Hastings deputy mayor Cynthia Bowers said there would be a policy governing the use of flags in public areas.

"I would imagine it is more of a case of common sense, when using flags in that area."

Mr Halstead said he was not going to take any action on the matter but was more worried about falling behind in the Step Up Seven Week Challenge at work.

Staff members had been issued with step counters, to encourage people to walk and cycle, and the team with the highest number of steps at the end of term would win the challenge.

"Last week I had recorded 165,000 steps and this week [due to the injuries] I am right down to 34,000."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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