Mark Donnelly instinctively threw his body to the left.

Noal Kuzio - who did not have the relative protection of a vehicle - flinched in the street in fear.

The two men were several kilometres from each other in suburban Auckland this morning, but both had just witnessed the same terrifying incident - a driver fleeing police with little regard for the safety of others.

A press release from police explained the details - a man in a stolen vehicle was arrested after a police chase, which followed reports of up to three men attempting to steal a motorbike from a property on Remuera Rd.

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But it didn't - couldn't - give the experience of bystanders who watched the drama unfold.

'I threw myself to the left'

Ponsonby project manager Mark Donnelly was driving on Remuera Rd when three police cars travelling in the same direction came "screaming" past.

He and other motorists pulled to the left for the police cars, an action which - inadvertently - saved many from harm.

"The only saving grace was all the vehicles had pulled over to the side because of the police. Literally 30 seconds later [the fleeing driver] came flying down the road ... can't believe he didn't hit my wing mirror.

"He was inches off [hitting my car] and I threw myself to the left."

Donnelly watched as police cars swarmed past.

"I stopped counting at 12. It was like a movie."

Every motorist "just stopped", he said.

"People were just dumbfounded."

The fleeing driver looked about 19, and it frustrated him that people were still fleeing police after multiple tragedies, including the death of 32-year-old Eden Hoey on Saturday night, Donnelly said.

Hoey died and several others were injured, one critically, after the car he was driving crashed into an SUV at a Manukau intersection while fleeing police.

An exasperated Donnelly described the man behind the wheel this morning as an "idiot".

"There are people still in hospital right now [following Saturday's crash]. Did he not read the Herald? Just pull over."

Close call for pedestrians

Several kilometres away, Noal Kuzio was on his way to have lunch at Marsic Brothers' fish and chip shop in Glen Innes when he spotted the late model black SUV, its front and back "smashed up".

Pedestrians scattered as the driver, wearing a red cap, drove the wrong way down Mayfair Place, crashing into three vehicles along the way, Kuzio said.

"People just kind of jumped out of the way ... we were pretty frightened for a while. We couldn't really believe what happened."

The Auckland Council worker saw half a dozen police cars, and a helicopter overhead, as the vehicle continued towards Apirana Ave.

In a press release, a police spokeswoman said police were called at 11.24am after reports of a motorcycle theft in a Remuera Rd property.

A vehicle, previously reported as stolen, was spotted "leaving at speed" from the property.

"The vehicle was observed by police on Shore Rd and followed to Remuera where a brief pursuit was initiated.

"The pursuit was abandoned twice on Remuera Rd due to the high speeds and dangerous driving of the offending vehicle."

The police Eagle helicopter then followed the vehicle through Remuera and Glen Innes before it was spiked on Murton Rd.