Jane Farrelly died while she was cycling with her husband,
Ian, and friends near Taupo in March. Photo NZ Herald/Sarah
A truck driver was "within arm's reach" of a group of
cyclists seconds before his vehicle hit one of them, an inquest
has been told.
Jane Farrelly, a 50-year-old mother of two, died while on a
group ride with her husband Ian and friends near Taupo in
March last year.
Today, at a coronial inquest in to her death being held in
Hamilton, Mr Farrelly said he was riding as part of the group
behind a bunch of riders that included his wife, who had
planned to compete in the Annies Girls on Bikes ride around
The race had been cancelled but the group of riders had
booked their accommodation in Kinloch and wanted to replicate
the 92km ride.
Mr Farrelly said the riders had set off about 9am and were
travelling in single file shortly before the accident on
He told the inquest he was riding about 50 to 100 metres
behind the leading bunch. It was his responsibility to warn
the groups of approaching vehicles from behind.
But Mr Farrelly said he couldn't hear the truck that would
later collide with his wife. He also couldn't yell loud
enough for the riders in front to hear his warning.
"As our group began to climb a truck passed us so close I
could have reached out and touched it," he said.
"The truck was definitely within an arm's reach, it gave me a
fright that it was that close especially because it was so
He said Mrs Farrelly had trouble with her right shoe and was
reaching down to adjust it. She went away from the road's
edge towards its centre when the passing truck either clipped
her front wheel or handle bar.
"We saw the truck go straight through the bike which got spat
out the other side," said Mr Farrelly.
He saw someone knocked over not knowing that the injured
person was his wife as all the riders ahead were wearing the
He saw Mrs Farrelly, his wife of 26 years, lying prone on the
road, when he got closer.
Her cycling buddies put her into the recovery position but
she never regained consciousness.
"Some time later the driver tried to make a brief appearance
to us and tried to claim it was Jane's fault for turning
towards the truck," said Mr Farrelly.
"In my mind Jane had come out more than a rider would...and
more than a truck driver would be expecting, but why was the
truck driver trying to overtake in this situation ?"
"These are generally truck drivers who are professionals and
are seated higher. With the 100-metre rule he could not have
seen 100m ahead, he was quite close when he overtook us."
The inquest before Coroner Gordon Matenga is set down for two
days and will hear evidence from 14 witnesses including the
- James Ihaka of the New Zealand Herald