Woman fined days before hitting cyclists

By Anna Leask

Jennifer Speakman collided with cyclists on Tamaki Drive. Photo / Herald on Sunday
Jennifer Speakman collided with cyclists on Tamaki Drive. Photo / Herald on Sunday

The woman who drove into a pack of cyclists after allegedly running a stop sign in Auckland last weekend told friends she was fined for speeding six days before the incident.

Papatoetoe student Jennifer Speakman made the admission on her Facebook page on September 20.

"Hmph another speeding ticket ... $80 so not toooo bad," she wrote.

Speakman did not respond to messages, but her mother Janet said her daughter had no comment to make "besides the fact that she is majorly concerned for Greg Paterson".

Paterson was the worst injured of four cyclists hospitalised after being hit during an early-morning incident on Tamaki Drive eight days ago.

He suffered head injuries and was yesterday in a stable condition.

Dave Woods, Kevin Marsh and Steve Lobb all suffered broken bones and cuts and were discharged from hospital by Thursday.

Police said on the day of the incident it appeared the driver had run a compulsory stop sign but the serious crash unit is investigating and no charges have been laid.

The four cyclists have been told not to speak to media until they have been formally interviewed.

Constable Mark Rodgers said he was in no rush to interview the injured men. "They have been in hospital and I'm going to give them some space before I go and speak to them."

Rodgers said the driver had given her account to police but they would speak to her again "at some point".

Through the Waitemata District Health Board the injured men referred calls to their cycling club, the Pickled Pedallers. The club said they had been asked not to comment.

Paterson's wife Claire said she appreciated the need to highlight cyclist safety. "But I don't think I can cope with thinking about anything other than Greg at the moment."

Tamaki Drive is among Auckland's most popular routes for riders, and the city council this week took action to ease tensions between cyclists and motorists. It will invite organisations representing cyclists, private and public transport groups, residents and police to discuss ways to share the road.

The developments come as figures reveal the number of cyclists injured this year in collisions with vehicles continues to reach well into the hundreds.

New Zealand Transport Agency data shows 330 riders had been injured by September 29, compared to 598 in 2008, 582 in 2007 and 552 in 2006.

Of this year's crashes, 90 were in Christchurch, 52 in Wellington, 48 in Auckland, 22 in Hamilton and 17 each in Manukau and the North Shore.

Canterbury road policing manager Inspector Al Stewart said the city's position at the top of the chart was easy to explain.

"We have significantly more cyclists on the road. However, that doesn't necessarily translate into a significant road safety problem," he said.

Bike New Zealand is circulating a petition calling for changes to road rules that would force motor vehicles to give cyclists 1.5m of space when they pass.

Cycle Action Auckland co-chairwoman Barbara Cuthbert believed motorists should respect cyclists' right to be on the road: "It's about better driving habits in New Zealand."

- Herald on Sunday

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