Two separate crashes that seriously injured motorists yesterday are the latest in a string of avoidable events on the region's roads, Northland police say.
The incidents prompted the call from police for motorists to take care and "arrive alive", especially as traffic volumes are predicted to swell due to holidaymakers visiting Northland.
The head of Northland road policing, Senior Sergeant Steve Dickson, said it is up to everyone to help save the lives of road users.
"There have been 27 deaths on the roads in Northland. Of those 27, every single one was avoidable. Our aim is for zero deaths on the road so we call on every person getting into a car to make better decisions."
Before lunchtime yesterday, emergency services had attended the two serious crashes on busy sections of Northland roads.
The first happened when a man riding a moped ploughed into the back of a ute parked curbside on Kioreroa Rd near Port Whangārei around 8am.
He was taken to Whangārei Hospital in a serious condition.
A witness, who did not want to be named, said he was headed into town for work when he spotted a man lying in the middle of the lane on the road.
"I came around the corner after it had just happened. People were trying to render first aid to him. I stopped my car and dialled 111."
A staff member from Kioreroa Rd business Terra Cat and the ute owner, who was a contractor mowing grass near his vehicle at the time, quickly placed cones on the road to stop traffic and keep the man safe until emergency services arrived.
Police noted the moped had bald tyres but a police spokesperson said the crash appeared to be caused by driver error.
"The tyre treads may possibly have been a contributing factor, but essentially this appears to be a case of the driver not paying attention."
The NZTA website said moped owners are responsible for ensuring their vehicles are road safe in the absence of mandatory warrants for mopeds.
Two hours later ambulance, fire, and police were at a crash on SH1, just south of Brynderwyn and the SH12 intersection, where a northbound motorcycle and a turning vehicle collided shortly after 10am.
The motorcyclist received serious injuries and was airlifted to Auckland City Hospital by the Northland rescue chopper. He remains in a stable condition.
Members of the public, who were first on the scene, helped divert traffic as one lane was initially blocked. Traffic was bumper to bumper until both lanes were reopened around an hour after the crash happened.
The Serious Crash Unit was notified.
The afternoon was marred by a car crashed into a ditch on Marsden Bay Drive in One Tree Point. Police attended the scene which needed a tow truck to retrieve the vehicle. Further details were unknown at edition time.
Police are pushing for better decisions from motorists to stem the region's road toll as the coming months promise swollen amounts of traffic.
"There are going to be more people on the roads this summer, bringing more risk by sheer volume," Dickson said. "This year there are more cumulative factors affecting road safety."
These factors were the impacts of New Zealand's Covid response and included postponed elections, economic uncertainties, closed borders, and seven months of tension.
"This means that New Zealanders are really primed for a big break and more people will be on the roads at one time."
Better decisions around wearing seatbelts, driving under the influence, and speed were at the heart of police road safety operations this summer, Dickson said.
Fifteen of the region's 27 road deaths this year - only one of which was not a Northlander - had drugs or alcohol as a contributing factor. Seven were people not wearing a seatbelt.
"These are people that would still be here if people had made different choices," Dickson said.
Dickson recommended people plan ahead - get a cab, organise a sober driver, or stay the night.
"We know that people like to socialise and celebrate and that is okay," Dickson said. "Share the responsibility among everyone, take a turn looking after everyone."
And he reminded people when they get in a vehicle they can help keep each other safe.
"We call on every person getting into a car, whether you're the driver or not, to make sure seatbelts are on, no-one is drink-driving, if someone is speeding tell them to stop," Dickson said.
"It's the only way to save lives on our roads. Everyone has to do their bit."