A Hastings man has been convicted after a dramatic head-on dirt bike collision with a friend that resulted in multiple fractures to both riders.
Zane Dion Bell, 30, who still had his forearm in a cast following the accident on March 30 this year, yesterday appeared in Hastings District Court and pleaded guilty to a charge of careless driving causing injury.
Bell and his friend Chas Enright were riding the off-road bikes close to Kaiwaka, near Whangarei, when Bell pulled ahead.
At 7.30pm, with the light fading and dust being kicked up by Bell, Enright purposely dropped behind to put some distance between the two.
Bell, unaware, turned his Yamaha YZF450 bike around to check on his friend's whereabouts and headed back at speed. With the two now heading towards each other with no lights to alert the other of the approach, they collided head on, knocking each other off their bikes.
Bell suffered a broken back, fractured skull and breaks to his arm and leg.
Enright suffered a broken right femur which required a steel rod, and lost the middle toe on his right foot. He had also lost some sensation in his left hand due to nerve damage.
Neither bike was fitted with headlights or registered for the road.
Judge Philip Connell asked Bell if he had anything to say about the incident.
"It happened," Bell said.
Defence lawyer Amit Malik said his client had suffered physically and financially since the incident. Yet despite this, Bell and Enright remained friends, he said.
Judge Connell said while he accepted the two were riding on a country road they were aware neither bike had lights. "This carelessness was close to stupidity," the judge said.
"I accept he was your friend but that doesn't take away from the fact he was another human being." He noted Bell had two previous convictions for careless use of a vehicle.
He was fined $500, $132 court costs and disqualified from driving for six months.
Hawke's Bay Today understands Enright has also been charged but has yet to appear in court.