Crash cyclist pleads for more empathy

By Celeste Gorrell Anstiss

David Joyce. Photo / Stephen Barker
David Joyce. Photo / Stephen Barker

The man knocked off his cycle in a dramatic crash at Taupo a fortnight ago says drivers have to moderate their behaviour, before more people are killed.

David Joyce and his wife, Sirpa Lajunen, were hit by a car on rural Poihipi Rd and had to be flown to Waikato Hospital.

Speaking about the incident for the first time, regular cyclist Joyce said "badly behaved" drivers were putting lives at risk.

"I've had beer bottles thrown at me, young guys in their car breezing very close, people who beep the horn at you for no reason," he said.

Road cycling was one of the fastest-growing forms of recreation in New Zealand, Joyce said, but was dangerous because of the attitude of drivers.

He suffered a cracked vertebra and shoulder blade, a dislocated rib and a large cut down his backside.

Lajunen is still in Waikato Hospital, having sat up for the first time on Friday.

She has damage to five vertebrae and was bruised - "the blackest colour you could imagine" - down one side of her body.

"Drivers need to learn empathy, because it's always us that's going to get hurt. In Denmark, if you hit a cyclist and you're in the wrong, you go to jail. I'd like to see that happen here."

Joyce said the top-of-the-line helmets he and Lajunen were wearing were the difference between life and death.

"I remember lying on my back and trying to sit up, but I couldn't. Sirpa was screaming 'My back, my back'. I turned and looked at her and she was lying about 3m away, with the wheel around her head like a halo ... I was hyper-ventilating, going into shock. "

Police have charged a 17-year-old man on two counts of careless driving causing injury and a 51-year-old man with counselling another driver to drive while their licence was revoked.

- Herald on Sunday

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