Canadian cyclist Bernard Gendron surprised doctors in Dunedin yesterday by talking.
Gendron, 59 was cycling with his partner, Huyen Tran Thi Thanh, on Otago Peninsula on Saturday when he was hit by a campervan and suffered a severe brain injury.
He remains in a serious but stable condition in Dunedin Hospital's intensive care unit last night. Gendron's children, son Marc, 31, of Boston, daughter Isabelle, 29 and son Jean-Michel, 28, Gendron, both of Montreal, arrived in Dunedin on Monday.
Marc Gendron, speaking to the Otago Daily Times last night, said his father was woken from an induced coma on Wednesday.
The tubes in his mouth were removed yesterday and he quietly asked doctors where he was and his daughter if he could return to work next week, Marc Gendron said.
"The talking really surprised the doctors, they didn't expect him to be able to speak this fast."
The talking was an "encouraging sign" but the family was remaining cautious.
"There is a risk of his brain swelling and that could kill him, so we're trying to be cautiously optimistic, but it was super cool to see him mutter a few words."
Chinese campervan driver Wei Zhang, 34, has been charged with careless driving causing injury and will next appear in Dunedin District Court on Tuesday.