"I still don't have those words," says Glenn Becker, the motorist cleared this week of charges over cyclist Jane Bishop's death.

The Weekend Herald had asked what he might say to friends and family of the 27-year-old English nurse, who died while biking home from work along Tamaki Drive.

She collided with Mr Becker and the open door of his parked car on the Kelly Tarlton's bend and toppled under a slow-moving truck.

Speaking at his Onehunga bungalow yesterday, he said he had felt numb for the past year. He looked exhausted.


He hopes the crash will be a catalyst for continuing improvements to the popular harbourside road to make it safer for all who use it. That way, he says, something good may come of something so awful.

"I don't know how to explain it," he says. "It's something that has been there every day."

He almost saved her, just missed grabbing her as she fell. "Yes," he says, almost in a whisper.

Ms Bishop probably spoke her last word to him when trapped beneath the double rear wheels of the 8000kg tip-truck. In shock, he had asked whether she was okay. She uttered what he thought was, "No".

Mr Becker nods. It's another thing too raw for words. "It's just there," he whispers of images that won't fade.

"He still sees it," says his wife, Sarah, a health and safety manager. "We have done it tough. It's supposed to be quite a joyous time in our lives, our first child. Luckily we have an adorable little kid, who has put up with a lot."

Their son, David, was two months old when the crash occurred, and the couple are expecting another son in April. Such blessings are compromised because they're reminders of what Ms Bishop has lost.

"It's weird," says Mr Becker. "Every time something good happens to us, you feel bad."


The crash, on November 17, 2010, happened on a beautiful evening. Mr Becker had pulled in from bumper-to-bumper traffic and parked adjacent to Orakei Wharf, where he was to meet friends for some fishing.

"It was a prelude to a fishing trip," he says. "We were going to catch some bait, sprats, off the wharf, and then we were going to go out [on the harbour] on the weekend."

Mr Becker has not fished from the wharf since the crash and doesn't know if he ever will.

"It was definitely real, it wasn't surreal," he says of the accident. "I was right in amongst it. Sitting on the kerb afterwards, it started bending my mind.

"An officer ... came over and said that she had passed away. It's not something that should happen to anyone, to say the least."

Though the decision to charge him was not clear-cut (police sought the advice of the Crown Solicitor's office), he says he understands they were doing their duty.

It became clear as evidence was produced in court that the crash was the result of many factors, not least road design.

The crash was prominent in the media because of several major accidents involving cyclists that week, including the deaths the previous Sunday of three in the Waikato, hit by a car whose driver lost control on a moderate bend on a back road.

"We both feel there was a lot of pressure [on police] at the time," says Mrs Becker. "They had a job to do."

As it turned out, Mr Becker's lawyer didn't have to present the defence case, as Judge Phil Gittos threw out the charge of careless use of a motor vehicle causing death because the prosecution failed to show he was careless.

The judge said it was not a case of Mr Becker having opened his door without looking, nor was it necessarily a case that the cyclist was there to be seen because she might have been obstructed by traffic or was yet to round the bend.

Judge Gittos found Mr Becker credible. He had given a long and candid voluntary videotaped interview to the police soon after the crash and had done all that could reasonably be expected of him by checking his rear-view mirror and looking behind before slipping out of his vehicle.

"To suggest otherwise," the judge said, "is being wise after the fact".

Speaking on the first day that he has been free of the charge, Mr Becker says he can still hardly believe his ears. "[They were] words I seriously didn't think were going to come out of the judge's mouth at that point."

He plans to take a week off from his job with a signage company and spend some time alone. "I have just got to work through this. It's going to take a while to come back from it."