Police urge caution after Northland road carnage

Police are urging Northland motorists to take care on the roads after a passenger in a vehicle was killed on Friday and a cyclist seriously injured yesterday.

The male cyclist collided with a large utility vehicle on Riverside Drive in Whangarei around 11am yesterday and was seriously injured. He is at Whangarei Hospital in the intensive care unit.

Senior Constable Warren Bunn, of the Serious Crash Unit, said both the cyclist and the vehicle were travelling east near Brook Rd when they collided.

Traffic was heavy while the emergency services attended and one lane was opened while police cleared the scene. Vehicles backed up east as far as the Dave Culham Drive roundabout.

Meanwhile, police say an "extremely poor decision" to overtake on a corner is believed to have caused a fatal crash near Kerikeri.

The head-on smash occurred about 9.30pm on Friday near the top of the Bulls Gorge, on State Highway 10 between the Paihia and Kerikeri turnoffs. Police have yet to release the name of the deceased, a 35-year-old Mid North man who was a front-seat passenger in the non-overtaking vehicle.

A police spokesman said the man was in the car heading north towards Kerikeri when it was struck by a car which had been overtaking as it was heading south.

He died on his way to hospital. The driver of the overtaking vehicle was a 19-year-old man from Kerikeri. Ambulance crews from Kerikeri, Kaikohe and Kawakawa dealt with five patients whose injuries ranged from critical to minor.

No decision has been made as yet about charges.

Alcohol was not thought to be a factor. The crash occurred at the first corner at the top of the gorge, which was widened and straightened in a $7.5 million realignment opened last year.

By Peter de Graaf and Sophie Ryan of the Northern Advocate

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