Another death at another deadly intersection.

Next came the predictable baying from the public to do something about a busy juncture that ostensibly poses undue risk to motorists.

At first glance that's understandable.

Murray Reid, aged 75, was fatally struck by a light truck somewhere near the meeting of Meeanee Quay and SH2B late afternoon Wednesday.


Said site is on the The New Zealand Transport Agency's (NZTA) to-do list, apparently because of its unenviable history.

In this job over the years I've reported on countless roading crashes and deaths - then covered any subsequent fallout in court.

In that time I didn't see anyone but the occupants of the vehicles found liable.

That is, I haven't, not once, seen a roading engineer in the dock, or a city planner, or a government agency or a roading contractor.

In every instance, neither the design nor roading infrastructure was deemed culpable. Yet many today, including Napier city councillor Mark Herbert, claim the intersection is to blame - and therefore point the finger at the NZTA's alleged inaction.

Surely that's simplistic.

"Black spots" don't name themselves. We render them thus. A hairpin corner is innocuous until the introduction of speed.

Likewise, this latest fatality, at least by my reading, had very little to do with any roading shortcomings.


While it doesn't make this loss of life any less tragic, it looks like pedestrian error. Sadly, such is the fallible human condition.

We're all keen to mitigate danger. But is the best approach to iron every bump in the road to save ourselves from ourselves?