A German tourist suffered life-threatening injuries to his head and face after the motorcycle he was riding and a four-wheel-drive vehicle collided on State Highway 4 yesterday.
The man was travelling in a group of 19 riders around the North Island heading to Taupo, when the collision took place on SH4 on the Aberfeldy at 1.30pm yesterday.
Whanganui road policing Sergeant Colin Wright told the Chronicle that the tourist in his 50s was riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle at the front of the group at the time. A late-model Jeep travelling toward Wanganui came around a bend in the road.
Mr Wright said the motorcyclist appeared to have driven on to the right-hand side of the road when he saw the vehicle. Germans drive on the right-hand side of the road.
There is no cellphone coverage on that part of the highway, but road workers south of the accident scene came to help the man with a first aid kit before St John Ambulance arrived.
He was taken to Wanganui Hospital, where he was described as being in a critical condition.
The man's wife was following behind on another motorcycle and last night was being supported by a German doctor at Wanganui Hospital who was also in the travelling group.
The couple in the Jeep were taken by police to the Wanganui station to give a statement.
The Serious Crash Unit attended from Palmerston North and SH4 closed while an investigation into the crash was carried out and evidence gathered.
All traffic that was already in the area was cleared past the accident scene in a single lane. Non-local traffic was turned back at Sparrow's Cliff north of Wanganui East and at Raetihi.