Northland's horror road toll for 2018 rose to nine when a 34-year-old Queenstown man died at Te Paki on Sunday afternoon, when the motorcycle he was riding collided with a rental car driven by an American tourist.

Friends of the motorcyclist, who were riding north with him, said the ride to Cape Reinga had been on his "bucket list" before he married, in three months' time.

According to police the man lost control of his machine on a bend immediately outside the Department of Conservation headquarters, the bike crossing the centreline and colliding with a car that was heading south. Neither the driver nor his passenger, also American, were hurt, but they were badly shaken.

They spent the night in Kaitaia while they waited for a new rental car.


Houhora firefighter Guy Herring said the man's companions raised the alarm using an emergency phone at the DOC base — the area has no cellphone coverage — and used a defibrillator stored there. They and passers-by continued CPR until emergency services arrived. St John medics were unable to find any vital signs.

There had been nothing that the driver of the car could have done, Mr Herring said, adding that the motorcyclist would have crashed into a fence in the same place where a Whangarei man was seriously injured in October last year, but survived, if the car had not been coming from the other direction.

It was the fourth motorcycle crash on the "nasty, deceptive" corner in as many months.
"Two were minor, we sent one bloke away in a helicopter, and unfortunately on Sunday we sent one away in an undertaker's wagon," he said.

The bend caught riders out because it appeared at first to be long and sweeping, but tightened up halfway around. Mr Herring wanted to see warning signs installed, or at least a sign stating a recommended speed for rounding the corner safely.

A Serious Crash Unit investigator was due to examine the scene yesterday.