Call for caution as travellers return

By Sophie Ryan

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Four mates were lucky to walk away from this crash on State Highway 1. Photo / Christine Allen
Four mates were lucky to walk away from this crash on State Highway 1. Photo / Christine Allen

A 19-year-old woman suffered serious spinal injuries when the quad bike she was riding flipped on the beach yesterday, while on State Highway 1 four Northland fishing mates were lucky to walk away from a crash after their car rolled.

Police patrolling the region's roads over Labour Weekend otherwise noted troublefree travel and called for continued caution as many people headed home today.

The most serious incident by last night was when the young woman riding a quad bike on Uretiti Beach crashed, rolled and was thrown off the bike about 11am.

Ruakaka Surf Life Saving Club lifeguards were first on the scene and co-ordinated with St John Ambulance staff when they arrived.

Senior Lifeguard Ben McKernan said the woman was with friends at the beach, which was busy with Labour Weekend holidaymakers, when the incident happened.

Witnesses said the quad bike rolled a couple of times before coming to rest. The woman was thrown free of the machine.

Senior lifeguards checked that she was conscious and breathing, Mr McKernan said.

The Northland Electricity Rescue Helicopter was called at 11.30am and pilot Pete Turnball said the girl was flown to Whangarei Hospital in a serious condition. A police serious crash investigator was called and will examine the quad bike.

Meanwhile, a driver trying to avoid a collision ended up writing his car off when it rolled into a ditch.

The crash happened on State Highway One at Mata, north of the Marsden Point roundabout about midday yesterday.

The car had four people on board when the driver said he took evasive action after another vehicle overtook and cut him off, Sergeant Lance Goulsbro of Northland Police Highway Patrol said. The car rolled and ended up on it's roof in a ditch.

"It's fairly well written off," Mr Goulsbro said.

Fortunately, the driver and his three passengers managed to walk away unharmed.

However, the incident at Mata caused traffic hold-ups for travellers while police and fire units cleared the scene and waited for the car to be removed from the scene.

Overall the State Highway network had been busy, but free of serious crashes Mr Goulsbro said.

"Traffic has been steady but everyone's been quite well behaved," he said.

"There's been a number of tickets given out for people breaking the 4km/h speed limit [tolerance] but nothing serious."

Traffic was steady all through Saturday, a little lighter on Sunday, and was expected to be steady today.

Mr Goulsbro wanted to tell motorists to keep up the good driving habits he had seen over the weekend on the State Highway network.

"Remember to be patient. It's better to get home a little later than not get home at all," he said.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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