A texting driver has been sentenced for a horror crash that killed cyclist Brent Norriss in Wellington.
Khing Tiang Wong, 47, was driving on State Highway 2 towards Lower Hutt from Wellington about 6pm on February 3, at the same time 65-year-old Norriss was cycling home in the marked cycle lane, the summary of facts said.
Wong, who had a camera mounted in his vehicle, was driving about 90km/h in the left lane amid peak traffic, and was on his way to a client's house to pick up some money that was owed to him, the summary said.
"Further analysis of the defendant's phone shows that at 6:10:33pm the defendant began a text message to the woman whose address he was driving to, which consisted of 'I'. This message was later deleted," the summary said.
Camera footage from NZTA shows Wong's vehicle rounding the corner near the BP Express Fuel forecourt and beginning to travel in a straight line instead of following the gentle curve of the road.
"The defendant's vehicle veers further to the left and he continues driving nearly entirely within the cycle lane and directly behind the deceased on his bicycle."
Camera footage from several sources shows Norriss cycling well to the left in the cycle lane. He was wearing an orange hi-visibility vest and his bicycle was equipped with a rear facing red flashing light.
At 6:11:07pm, while still within the cycle lane, Wong's vehicle pulled sharply right, colliding heavily into the rear wheel of Norriss' bicycle, catapulting him through the air and causing him to hit the Armco barrier that was positioned between the petrol station and the northbound lanes.
Passersby including two doctors tried desperately to save Norriss' life, but he died at the scene due to multiple blunt force trauma injuries.
Wong's phone analysis shows he began writing another message, which also consisted of "I" at 6:11:20pm, 13 seconds after he ploughed into Norriss. This text was also later deleted.
Wong again started writing a text message - or reactivated the original text - a little over 10 minutes after the crash, but again deleted the text.
He pleaded guilty in the Hutt Valley District Court at an earlier hearing to dangerous driving causing death.
Wong appeared in court again today for sentencing before Judge Quentin Hix, who described Norriss as an "excellent family man".
Hix said there were no aggravating features to the offending, and that he needed to take into account factors such as Wong's early guilty plea, his "genuine remorse", and the fact he is financially supporting his mother, who lives in Malaysia.
He noted Wong had offered to pay reparation of $11,000.
Judge Hix sentenced Wong to six months of community detention with a curfew of 8pm to 5am daily, and disqualified him from driving for 18 months.
Outside court, Detective Rosanne Rix of the Serious Crash Investigation Team said people needed to remember they were sharing the roads with thousands of other people whose families and friends wanted them to come home.
"A moment's inattention results in a tragedy like this," she said.
'Taken in the cruellest way possible'
Norriss' daughter, Rebecca McLean, read the victim impact statements aloud in court on behalf of the other family members, crying throughout.
She said Norriss had been taken away from them "in the cruellest way possible".
McLean described training with her father every morning for the Coast to Coast race, and how they shared a special bond based on deep respect and love.
"I want you to understand that I appreciate there was no intent in your actions on the day dad died and I want you to know that I feel no malice towards you ... I'm sure, like me and my family, the memory of that day will remain etched on your mind forever."
In her victim impact statement, Norriss' wife said they had been together nearly 46 years and were putting the finishing touches on their dream retirement home when he was killed.
"I cannot face the prospect of living there without my soulmate," she wrote.
Norriss' son and son-in-law wrote of their deep grief, and the loss of a mentor, and their pain at being unable to pick up the phone and call him any more.
In a letter read to the family by defence lawyer Chris Nicholls, Wong said he had caused the crash by "negligence".
"I write this letter to express my infinite apologies," he said.
"I hope to make up to your family as much as possible and hope that you can come to a place of peace and forgiveness."
He said he had "incomparable regret" for his offending.
Calls for speed limit to change
Cycling Advocates' Network's Patrick Morgan said NZTA needed to make changes to the road to make it safer for cyclists.
"Any system that depends on everyone doing the right thing all the time is a broken system," he said.
"We know that people make mistakes, so the road needs to be designed so that people don't get harmed as a result."
Changes should include widening the cycle lane and reducing the speed limit, he said.