John Robertson was working in Christchurch when he got word
that his only child Samantha had been badly hurt cycling in
Pukekawa. Photo / Brett Phibbs
A 10-year-old who crashed her bike into a car has shown
the first signs of recovery after a week in a coma.
Samantha Robertson's family have kept a bedside vigil at the
Starship hospital in Auckland for seven long days.
And yesterday, they were rewarded - she spoke for the first
Her father, John Robertson, said the relief of seeing his
only child stirring was almost overwhelming. "She's doing
well. She's slowly coming back to us. We're really chuffed.
It's indescribable, really."
The start of the road to recovery comes as cycling advocates
renew pressure on Mayor Len Brown to prioritise bikeway
projects for Auckland, claiming there is too much talk and
not enough action.
Samantha was not wearing a helmet when she accidentally
overshot the end of a friend's driveway on Thursday last week
and rode straight into the path of a car on a 100km/h road in
Pukekawa, 66km south of the Auckland CBD.
Doctors started reducing her anaesthetic on Wednesday night
after seeing positive results in an MRI scan that day.
Yesterday, she started to wake up and communicate with people
- much to the relief of her father, who has described the
days since the accident as a parent's worst nightmare.
Samantha mostly rested yesterday, he said, but had shown
signs of her old self.
"When the nurse was combing her hair, she told her to leave
her alone, which is a real positive.
"I feel real proud of that. That's my girl, she's like that,
she's independent. That's her all over, coming out again."
Samantha suffered severe head injuries and significant wounds
to her legs, right shoulder and elbow.
Mr Robertson, a 63-year-old Christchurch builder, received
the news from his ex-partner, Samantha's mother, Sherry
Coulson, in a phone call that night and flew to Auckland the
He described the following days as "hell", saying he was
unable to do anything but watch on as Samantha lay
unconscious and hooked up to a breathing machine in the
It was a parent's worst nightmare, he said. "It's hell. She's
my only kid. And I'm an older dad, and that doesn't make it
"Life's a risk, but you don't think it's going to happen to
It wasn't yet clear whether Samantha had suffered any lasting
A police spokeswoman said it was too early to determine
whether charges would be laid in relation to the collision.
Mr Robertson said he didn't know the full details of the
crash, but there was "absolutely" no animosity towards the
"She [Samantha] didn't deserve to be hit like this. [But] we
obviously feel for the guy, the driver who was involved, as
He did, however, want the authorities to look at rural speed
"They're little narrow roads and they've got the same speeds
as motorways. It doesn't make sense."
Samantha's accident came as the Herald was highlighting the
issues between cyclists and motorists, following the deaths
of two cyclists this year. Since then, cyclists have
challenged Mayor Brown to get behind efforts to make bikeway
projects a priority.
"We want action, not talkfests," Cycle Action Auckland
chairwoman Barbara Cuthbert said of a mayoral proposal to
bring together representatives of cyclists and walkers before
the end of this month to decide on a batting order for
providing more bikeways and shared paths.
A mayoral spokesman said a full active transport action plan
would be developed during the 2015 long-term plan process, in
conjunction with walkers and cyclists.
- Sam Boyer of the New Zealand Herald