Scott Yeoman is a NZ Herald reporter

Learner biker caught doing 'suicidal' 232km/h as he tried to flee police

The motorcyclist sped away from police at 232km/h but was eventually caught. Photo / Facebook
The motorcyclist sped away from police at 232km/h but was eventually caught. Photo / Facebook

A motorcyclist wearing shorts and on a suspended learner licence has been caught travelling 232km/h on a Waikato road - a speed that is one of the highest recorded in New Zealand.

The district's road policing team last night posted a photo of the figure, as shown on an officer's speed-reader, on Facebook.

A message with the photo said: "Motorcyclist. In shorts. Suspended learner licence.

"Trying to outrun police on a very fast machine. He failed. He realises that now."


Senior Sergeant Stephen Ambler, the officer in charge of Highway Patrol for the Waikato District, told the Herald this morning that the 21-year-old man had been arrested.

He was riding in an 80km/h area when he was clocked doing 232km/h about 2pm-2.30pm yesterday afternoon - 152km/h over the speed limit.

He avoided police on a number of occasions in a pursuit through the greater Hamilton area.

Police managed to track him down a short time later at an associate's address, not far from where the pursuit started, with help from a member of the public.

Mr Ambler said the man was arrested and his bike seized. He was on a suspended learner licence and was wearing shorts.

He got a further licence suspension of 28 days because of his speed and his bike has been impounded for 28 days because he failed to stop for police.

The man was charged with reckless driving, driving whilst suspended, and aggravated failure to stop and has a pending court date.

His motorcycle is a Triumph Daytona.

Mr Ambler said the clocked speed was "remarkably high" and "reckless", not only for the motorcyclist but for all of the motoring public on the road in the Hamilton area.

"It's very disappointing to see those speeds," he said.

Stu Kearns, former head of the Waitemata Serious Crash Unit, told the Herald this morning that 232km/hr was a "suicidal speed" and was certainly among the highest he had heard of in New Zealand.

"Those sorts of speeds are very rarely recorded on our roads."

Mr Kearns spent more than 20 years of his police career specialising in fatal crashes. He is now retired.

He said had the motorcyclist come off the bike, their injuries would not have been survivable.

"A rider in shorts, even leathers, wouldn't survive an impact at that speed. All his bones and organs would be just mush by the time he came to rest.

"Certainly going down the road in shorts - he wouldn't have any skin around his bones by the time his body stopped travelling at that speed, because it would be a sudden stop but his body would still be continuing at that speed down the road."

Mr Kearns said if the bike was to hit any object on, or bordering, the road - like a pole or fence - it would do severe damage to the person's limbs and organs.

And travelling that fast was not only putting the motorcyclist at danger, he said.

"I've seen bikes travelling at way less speeds kill occupants in cars."

Mr Kearns said those sorts of speeds are for race tracks only, and for good reason.

"When riders come off at that speed on race tracks, they're heavily protected and they don't have the road furniture around to be battered against."

The Waikato road policing team also posted on Facebook last night that the motorcyclist was first clocked going past a school 43km/hr over the limit on Massey St.

"The registration wasn't obtained until he re-entered Hamilton and the pursuit ended around 20 [seconds] later when the nearest unit lost sight due to the rider's speed."

They said there are "definitely risks" when an offender chooses to flee.

- NZ Herald

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