Council improves steps, after girl's bike death

By Hana Garrett-Walker

File photo / Hawke's Bay Today
File photo / Hawke's Bay Today

A number of changes have been made to a set of steps on a public path in Porirua after a 10-year-old girl died when she fell while biking near them last year.

Hamilton girl Ariana Kokaua, known as Ari, was staying with her grandparents in Porirua during the holidays when she went with her aunt to the local dairy on January 6, Coroner Ian Smith said in a report released today.

She cycled ahead of the group and went down Papakowhai Walkway in Porirua.

But after the group caught up with her she was found lying on part of a wooden platform, having fallen from her bike.

She was wearing a helmet, but died at the scene from a neck injury, Mr Smith found.

Since the accident Porirua District Council had made a number of changes to the path to make it safer for the public, particularly for someone unfamiliar with the layout.

The council's leisure assets and services manager, Karen Stillwell, said it was a very sad accident which the council hoped to never see repeated.

"It has taught us a hard lesson in taking a different perspective when we look at all our recreational assets and the way they are utilised.''

Since the accident, the council has removed vegetation from behind the handrail, installed a handrail on the other side of the path, highlighted the edge of the stairs, and put up signage for the walkway.


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