Firefighter warns of fatal bend near Cape Reinga

File photo

There's an urgent need for warning signs on the road to Cape Reinga, where a motorcyclist was killed at the weekend, a Far North firefighter warns.

Ben Petrie, 34, from Queenstown, was riding with three friends when he lost control on a notorious bend at Te Paki and hit an oncoming car on Sunday afternoon.

Houhora firefighter Guy Herring, who attended the crash, said the unmarked bend had caught out three other motorcyclists this summer, causing injury.

"As you come into it, it looks like it's a long, sweeping corner," he said.

"But halfway through, the radius tightens, and as a motorcyclist travelling at speed and coming in on an angle and you don't expect that, you try to lean into it more; and you can skid across the road. "

Mr Herring said the winding road to the Cape was never straightened before it was sealed and the treacherous bend was unmarked.

"If it had a recommended speed on the corner, it would be a really good start, or one of those fancy pictures that shows you the corner tightens, but there's just nothing there and it's a 100km road," he said.

As a former motorcyclist himself, Mr Herring said he had found it gut-wrenching to watch Mr Petrie's friends forced to leave the body of their mate on the side of the road and ride off as darkness fell and police waited for the undertaker.

Mr Petrie's friends and other travellers had tried to save him using CPR, but he died at the scene.

Mr Herring said he understood the Queenstown man was on a mission to ride to Cape Reinga with South Island friends before his forthcoming wedding.


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