Police are appealing for witnesses to a fatal crash last night between a truck and cyclist in Pakowhai, about nine kilometres north of Hastings.
Police have confirmed a 54-year-old male cyclist died as a result of the crash, but could not release his name while next of kin were still being notified.
A police spokeswoman said police were notified by ambulance at about 6.26pm to the incident on Brookfields Rd near the Gilbertson Rd intersection.
The area of road was blocked off while the Serious Crash Unit investigated and the cordons were lifted at about 9.45pm.
The Serious Crash Unit continue to investigate this morning and said they would like to hear from anyone who witnessed the crash.
This crash comes after the latest figures released by the Ministry of Transport which shows that the Hawke's Bay and Northern Wairarapa area could be heading for its highest annual road toll in a decade based on its first-quarter results.
There have been eight fatalities on roads in the five local authority areas in the Hawke's Bay Today circulation area, from Wairoa to Tararua - but it's a mixture of highs and lows highlighted by the four fatalities in the Tararua District, equal to the worst whole-of-year tolls in the district since 2010 (four in 2011 and 4 in 2014). Tararua District has a population of just under 17,000.
By contrast, just four have been recorded in the Wairoa, Napier, Hastings and Central Hawke's Bay areas, which have a combined population of more than 140,000.
The highest annual toll in the Wairoa-Tararua area since 2007 was 27 in 2010, when there were 10 fatalities in the first three months. The figures compare with highs of more than 60 in the road toll peaks of the early 1970s, and 55 as recently as 1990.
Tararua District extends on State Highway 2 from north of Norsewood in Southern Hawke's Bay to south of Eketahuna in Northern Wairarapa, with three deaths in two crashes at the extremities four days apart in the first month of the year.
A father and son were killed when a truck crashed off SH2 about 5km north of Norsewood at about 12.25am on January 23 and a woman who was a passenger in one of two cars which crashed on SH2 south of Eketahuna at about 7.45am on January 27. The other fatality in the district was a passenger in a car which crashed into a ditch off Route 52 near Pongaroa about 12.10am on February 18.
The fatalities further north were those of a woman in a two-car crash on Te Aute Rd south of Hastings in the early-evening of February 3, a young father when the car he was driving left SH38 between Lake Waikaremoana and Wairoa on the night of February 24, and a teenager when the car she was driving and a truck collided on Farndon Rd, north of Hastings, on the evening of March 15.
They are among the five in the police Eastern District, which includes Gisborne and the East Coast (and excludes Tararua, which is in the Central District), while the national toll was 91, one down on the toll at the same date last year.
Meanwhile, annual research highlights the "hidden" reality of road crashes, Associate Minister of Transport David Bennett said yesterday.
The Ministry of Transport's annual Social Cost of Road Crashes and Injuries report seeks to understand the social and economic cost of road crashes to New Zealand, and the estimated total social cost of fatal and injury crashes rose from $3.53 billion in 2014 to $3.79 billion in 2015.
The average social cost per fatal crash is now estimated at $4,729,000 nationally, while each "serious" crash is estimated to have a cost of $912,000 and each minor crash $99,000. The cost per fatal crash in Hawke's Bay was, however, put at $4,846,000.
"Putting a value on a life lost or permanently altered is impossible," Mr Bennett said. "This report shows that on top of the high price paid by friends, families and communities, each and every crash has serious social and economic consequences for all of us."
He said many of the crashes were avoidable, with factors including alcohol, excessive speed for the conditions or people not wearing seatbelts.
But Mr Bennett said billions of dollars are spent each year on "physical infrastructure improvements" which include realignment or modifications of highways, and greater use of median barriers and "rumble strips".
-Information should be passed on to Constable Andre Taylor of the Serious Crash Unit on (06) 873 0500.