A small community is reeling from the death of a popular teacher and new father mown down by a 70-year-old allegedly "blotto" from drink.

Frank van Kampen, 46, was cycling in a bike lane on the Kapiti Coast, when he was hit from behind by a Mazda station wagon late on Friday afternoon.

Police say the 70-year-old woman driving the station wagon failed a breath test. Her licence has been suspended and she is likely to face charges once the serious crash unit completes its investigation.

Alcohol Healthwatch director Rebecca Williams last night described such circumstances as rare. "Young people have picked up the message about drink-driving better than other generations," she said. "Some older people may not be getting the message."

The collision occurred on State Highway 1 between Waikanae and Otaki, where van Kampen lived. Both he and the Mazda were travelling north.

One of van Kampen's colleagues from Kapanui School, who asked not to be named, witnessed the crash.

He was driving along the highway at the same time and had been become concerned about the 70-year-old's driving as she followed him for 2-3km.

"She was totally out of it, she was absolutely blotto," he said. "She was all over the road. She nearly ran into me a couple of times.

"I looked up and Frank was there and she ran straight into him. I think he died instantly."

He described the woman as "a menace" and said he hoped she would be jailed for her behaviour. "Her actions along the road before she hit Frank were just unbelievable."

Former ambulance officer Grant McNabb was second on the scene and performed CPR on van Kampen.

He initially thought the woman was in shock and went over to check her. She didn't speak and was later led to an ambulance by police.

"I could smell alcohol. She had a few under her belt," he said.

Van Kampen, a keen cyclist, was thought to be training for November's Round Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge.

Kapiti Cycling Club president Bob Pratt said van Kampen had competed in competitions before but was not a club member.

Van Kampen spent years on oil rigs off the coast of Scotland before returning to New Zealand and working for the Department of Conservation.

He then trained to become a teacher.

An Otaki resident said van Kampen found love late in life and his partner, Jude, gave birth 10 weeks ago to their first child, a daughter called Alexandra.

His partner was too distraught to speak yesterday but a friend said she had appeared to take some small comfort from the news he had died instantly.

Another colleague of van Kampen's said he was "full of joy" about his daughter's birth.

"He was just such a lovely, happy person all the time. He'd do anything for anyone.

"He was very popular at school and had a great sense of humour.

"He's going to be missed so much by the school, colleagues, children and school community as a whole. Such a tragic waste of a young life. I'm absolutely shocked. It's unbelievable."

A mother whose children were taught by van Kampen said the community was in shock.

"The baby's going to grow up without its father," said Michelle, who did not want her last name printed.

"He lived with his mum so many years. To find love at that age was so special and to have a baby... he's a lovely guy it just sucks."

Van Kampen organised inter-school sport competitions and was a rugby coach.

"He really encouraged the children to take part in sport and be part of a team," said Michelle.

Another friend wrote an online tribute: "Poor, poor Frank. He was a wonderful teacher at Kapanui School for many years.

"All the kids, parents and colleagues loved him - he was amazing with the older children and so patient and kind to everyone. He leaves a partner and a 10-week-old daughter so the saddest, terrible news ever.

"The consequences of one very stupid, selfish woman has affected the lives of hundreds of children and adults who knew and loved him very much."

Pratt said the death raised fresh concerns about cyclist safety on that stretch of SH1.

"Every time a cyclist from this area goes out they have it in the back of their minds to be conscious of traffic. Lots of SH1 is very narrow. You have to have eyes and ears in the back of your head sometimes."