The names of the two motorcyclists killed in Southland on Saturday have been released.
The two motorcyclists, who were taking part charity ride to raise money for an unborn child with a heart defect, were killed after a crash shortly before 1pm south of Otautau, near the intersection of Fairfax Isla Bank Rd and Riverton Otautau Rd.
Police said today they were Timothy James Meers, 50, of Otautau, and Russell Allan Blackford, 41, of Athol.
They were among eight to die during a horror three days on the roads nationally, including four motorcyclists killed in the space of four hours on Saturday afternoon.
The spate of deaths spurred a top road safety police officer to plead for riders and drivers to pay attention and stop taking risks.
The pair were taking part in a charity ride organised by the Southern Brotherhood Motorcycle Club to raise money for an unborn baby with a congenital heart defect.
The baby's Southland parents are facing significant bills to travel to and from the foetal medicine team in Christchurch, and will have to fly to Auckland when the baby is due for open-heart surgery immediately after birth, according to a Givealittle page for the family.
Drummond Motorcycle Club member Simon Galt said members of his club taking part in the ride were not involved in the crash, but they saw the immediate aftermath of the incident.
"From what I've been told, a motorcycle ... had pulled out to pass a car on the bend, and hit an oncoming motorcycle that wasn't involved with the ride at all."
He called for motorcyclists taking part in group rides not to succumb to peer pressure, to ride only at speeds they were comfortable with and to avoid dangerous manoeuvres.
"Ride to your own abilities, and don't let others make decisions for you."
Southland Motorcycle Club President Andy Underhay yesterday spoke out against the comments made by Police Minister Stuart Nash to RNZ yesterday calling for "men going through a sort of mid-life crisis'' to "pass a certain sort of test'' or "prove you can handle it [a motorcycle] in difficult sorts of situations.''
Mr Underhay said it was double standards.
"If an 18-year-old can get into a Subaru and crack on at 250kmh on the road, why is it OK for him to do it and not a motorcyclist?
"If you're going to bring in advanced training for motorcycle riders, to my mind I think car accidents for the younger generation are high.
"So why not have the same thing (for drivers). You can't pick on one set of riders and say 'you're dangerous'.''