Bike crash man 'disappointed' by portrayal

The man involved in a mountain biking crash in Timaru that left a 60-year-old woman a paraplegic has defended himself.

Brett Corry, of Timaru, in an email to the Otago Daily Times said he was "extremely disappointed'' by the way he had been portrayed.

The woman, who has been in Burwood Hospital's spinal unit since the crash on Waitangi Day, described the man who ran into her as careless and lacking consideration.

Mr Corry said he had been riding the Saltwater Creek track as he had done dozens of times before.

"I was travelling at the same speed I usually do which is between 20-25kmh, which is usually slow enough for me to avoid any trouble.

"However, on that day when I came around the blind corner I was met with the other cyclist right in the middle of the track.

"What I shouted to her was "go left'', as that is where we both should have been.

"Whether it was shock or fear that made her freeze up I am unsure but she stayed riding straight up the middle of the path as I veered left to avoid her.

"It was the impact, not the speed that was the biggest issue in the crash.

"As I tried to go past her the handlebars clipped, causing me to fall towards her, impacting her chest and knocking her backwards off her bike, which is how she landed on her back.

"I ended up over my handlebars and down a ditch.

"I got up as fast as I could and went to her aid as I knew her landing backwards could not be good.''

On seeing the woman was badly hurt he called an ambulance.

Mr Corry said a physiotherapist who had exchanged a few words with the woman shortly before the crash "revealed to me those words were about how the cyclist basically wanted the track to herself so she could ride up the middle.

"Clearly, she has forgotten this part.''

Mr Corry said he had not had any contact with the woman since the crash but had been liaising with her family through the physiotherapist.

"The last I heard was that they wanted privacy and not to be contacted.''

The woman told the ODT she had no desire to meet the man involved, saying he would find the crash hard to live with.

"So yes, I have to live with this,'' Mr Corry said, "but I also know that I did absolutely everything I could to avoid the accident, and afterwards everything I could to help make sure she was safe.''

The woman spoke out in an effort to spread the message about the need for mountain bikers to be careful of other track users.

"For her to bang the drum of safe trail use smacks of a hypocrisy I can't ignore,'' Mr Corry said.

"To call me careless is plain wrong.

"There were two people at fault here and if both of us had been staying to the left of the track as we are supposed to, this never would have happened.''

Mr Corry said the ODT's story was "one-sided and completely false''.

"I really didn't want to have to bring any of this up as her injuries are terrible and her life has changed for the worse, but to blame me solely is misguided and infuriating to say the least.''

The woman's story has generated discussion on social media, one man offering to raise money for her.

The Mountain Bike New Zealand Facebook page refers to the story as "a massive reminder to ride with consideration''.

Comments included: "Our thoughts go out to this rider.

"Extremely sad outcome from a ride home.

"All it takes is time to follow the mountain bike code and think ahead on the trail.

"Don't bomb it unless it's designed for it.''


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