Family and friends of Paul Brown, the motorcyclist killed in a collision with a cop car, have criticised local traffic police, labelling them "a bunch of cowboys".

Cousin Antony Brown yesterday spoke of other crashes involving police vehicles doing u-turns.

A motorcyclist was seriously injured when a police car, responding to an emergency call, made a u-turn on State Highway 2, at nearby Maramarua in December 2007.

"There's an element in the police ... they're a bunch of cowboys. This is not the first time this has happened."

Mr Brown had just left friend Joe MacFarlane's home in Waerenga before the accident.

Mr MacFarlane could not hide his anger. "I cannot understand why an experienced traffic officer would turn around in such a blind spot. It's absolutely ludicrous, I'm blown away. What are they teaching them?"

Friends say the officer should have waited until he was over the hill and turned around in a driveway or a street on the left, about 50m away.

Allan Kirk, head of New Zealand Motorcycle Safety Consultants, said ticket quota-motivated policemen had to learn that other road users' lives were more important than the issuing of a speeding ticket.

"This sort of crash involving police cars has become far too common and it has only been luck that up until now a motorcyclist has not been killed by a u-turning police car. Now the luck of the police and an innocent motorcyclist has run out."