Cyclist and two drivers die on busy roads

A cyclist was killed yesterday (8 January) when he and a cycling partner were hit by a car on a busy road in Tauranga.

The 50-year-old local man was travelling with a female cyclist on State Highway 36 at Pyes Pa.

Emergency services were called just after midday to the critically injured man, who died soon after.

The woman was rushed to Tauranga Hospital, where she was treated for minor injuries and discharged later in the afternoon.

Senior Sergeant Robert Glencross said the serious crash team were still investigating the crash.

"An initial assessment indicates that speed and manner of driving are factors ... Weather and road conditions do not appear to have been played a part in the crash."

Cycle Action Tauranga secretary Phil Browne said the highway was a busy road and many cyclists in the area tended to avoid it for that reason.

However, a number of people used it regularly and it was also a route many touring cyclists used.

"It can be a very congested and dangerous road, but there are reasonable shoulders on each side of the road big enough for cyclists."

Mr Browne said the accident was a tragic reminder to be careful.

"The worst part of cycling is that you can't control what's going on behind you," he said.

"[Cyclists] really appreciate it when drivers give about a metre or so space when they pass. But those drivers who feel they're too good and pass quite close - it can be very scary for a cyclist."

The accident came just before a crash in Mangakino in which a 67-year-old man died.

Police said the man, from Lower Hutt, suffered a suspected heart attack while driving on State Highway 30 about 2.30pm. He then appeared to have collided with the rear of another vehicle. No one else was injured.

In Auckland, 22-year-old old Shaun FitzPatrick was killed when a stolen vehicle driven by a teenager slammed into his car as he was driving home early on Saturday morning.

The 15-year-old driver had gone through a red light on Carbine Rd in Mt Wellington, at the intersection with the Southeastern Highway.

Police said a 17-year-old had been charged with unlawfully getting into a stolen motor vehicle and the driver had been charged with dangerous driving causing death.

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