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Wellington reporter films own accident

Yesterday morning I tweeted about it being a slow news day.

Media should get out there and make some news, replied one internet wag.

Newstalk ZB chief political reporter Felix Marwick actually did, filming himself in an accident on the way to work.

Marwick told NBR he going about 45km on his bike, which has a camera mounted to the handle bars, when this happened:

The press gallery reporter wound up in hospital with a smashed wrist (although as a bonus, he has perfect documentary footage for his insurance company).

Late today, he was still waiting for surgery.

"May need to have a chat with Tony Ryall about waiting times," he quipped on Twitter.

Inspirationally, Marwick vowed the accident would not ruin his participation in Beehive Christmas festivities.

"I will be attending the gallery party," he tweeted.

"You only need one arm to drink."

Mr Marwick is the second journalist to be hospitalised in recent days.

A high-profile print reporter is still recovering after a kitchen accident saw him spill water from boiling spuds onto both feet.

His socks had to be cut off by emergency services. Skin grafts were required.

Marwick after the accident


Marwick tweeted in response to this article:

"[The] driver rang my partner today. Asked if my bike was OK, didn't ask about my wellbeing tho." 

The ZB man's accident has sparked a lot of comments about the place of cyclists on the road and where/how they ride. See comments below, plus Lance Wiggs' commentary and frame-by-frame breakdown of the collision here.

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Comments and questions

In my cycling experience, drivers only look where they expect to see traffic, not where the traffic might be.

Unfortunately I'll miss the press gallery party. Surgery won't happen til tomorrow and the doc was emphatic that I wouldn't be going anywhere.

My partner holds a similar point of view (unsurprisingly).

Thanks to all who have offered support, and huge thanks to the people that stopped and scraped me off the road.

A classic case of the cyclist exceeding the speed limit

Actually my Garmin shows I was doing about 45 kph, below the 50 kph speed limit.

Looking at the video carefully and several times, it appears the car was moving forward out of the Stop sign controlled side street when the bike hit. Looks like an open and shut case against the driver to me.
Bet the cops won't prosecute - and if they do the court will find a wet bus ticket to slap him with.

Good thing you aren't the "careful" prosecutor.
Its a give way not a stop. Academic really.

If bicycles want to go as fast as cars then brakes are merely ornamental in a crisis.
Lycra or leathers ?

Not even a car can stop in that short of a distance. Think before you say.

The biker was in the bus that legal? The driver may have thought that the biker was heading left.

It's a dual use lane. Cyclists are allowed to use it.


Yes, you are quite right. I hope you have a speedy recovery.

or that he was a bus?

Well if the bus-lane is also dual use for cyclists, then because the lane has no turning sublane the cyclist should signal but also watch out. A cyclist's height and size us not of the same magnitude as what the driver at fault (I admit) will be watching for in a so-called bus lane.

bicycles shouldn't be on the road, they should be on the foot path and give way to vehicles

Care to declare any other ridiculous prejudices in public too?

Ridiculous, you say? Let's analyse the std accident scenarios...

vehicle vs bike = serious damage or death at most.
bike vs pedestrian = moderate damage at most.

my car can go 200kmh but I am limited to half that.
A bike can go about 50kmh so if we limit them to 25kmh and put them on footpaths / bike lanes (bike motorways) fewer people would get hurt.

Harm reduction is ridiculous.

Seriously, you are in Mensa are you?

If your damage scenario holds water, we had better get cars off the road, because of all the trucks: truck vs car = serious damage or death at most.

And if your speed scenario holds water, we had better get cars off the road, cos my motorbike can go 300km/h.

I think Robert A said it well.

A bike can actually go over 100kph, so by your logic, you're looking at cyclists riding at 50kph on the footpaths. Take note of the video in question. In reality, the driver has a wide field of vision. Compare this to the field of vision somebody has exiting their typical New Zealand driveway, along with their expectation of a speeding cyclist approaching at 50 clicks.

People not taking ownership and responsibility is ridiculous.

Coming out of a cave, I guess. We should ban all cars. Only bicycling and walking are the allowed mode of transport in public.

We should call drive tanks because all of these cars are the road are dangerous for me.

Bikes are allowed in the bus lane. have you not read the rode code?

Whangarei hospital fixed my smashed wrist within six hours of my ladder fall in Kaitaia 150km away. I have to say the medical service up here is far better than when I lived in Wellington. That looked like tha Karori Ramp that car was exiting from. My op took one and a half hours and was in plaster for six weeks. Get well soon.

This intersection has been dangerous from before I was born, and before I later went past it twice a day.

But it's clear that the car driver is at fault, that the incident was a near miss fatality and that the cyclist was obeying the law.

So throw the book at the car driver.

But all cyclists and motorcyclists take note - what would you have done?

I recall once exiting by going up that left ramp to avoid a similar accident. Could the cyclist have done the same? Could you?

We have to help car drivers get better, but we also have to assume and be prepared for the worst. Dead right isn't.

And watch out for us two wheelers - we are people being killed.

"And watch out for us two-wheelers - we are people being killed."

So true, but wouldn't cyclists have realised by now that 'defensive' driving on the road when they go out to battle big metal lumps is prudent in view of the fact soft flesh loses always.
Even if no vehicle is involved, it may be just a face-scraping tarseal due to incompetence, ouch... Oh well, Darwin theory comes to mind especially when pedallers climb into the fancy racing uniform (isn't green the coolest colour?) and imagine you are in the tour de France must be increased ego / decreased brain.
I'm sure there is a relationship.

The car driver will be at fault, but spare a thought for him.

The bike was pretty much obscured by the car on the right from when the car driver would have been checking (looking from our side, we can't actually see the car until the car on the right passes).

He was possibly also (incorrectly) assuming that traffic in that lane would be large and visible from a distance (like a bus).

Even in a car, but especially on a motorbike, defensive driving would have contingencies flashing up. I guess the brakes on a bicycle at that sort of speed are a bit of a problem.

Pretty unfortunate all round. I hope the recovery goes well.

Agree in part in that the car was expecting to see a bus and the bike would have been partially blocked by the car. The fact is bikes are allowed in that lane so they should also have been expecting those.

Brakes on a bike would probably stop it faster than a car if you got your weight distribution right. Neither a car, bus, motorbike nor bike could have stopped in that time.

The driver is at fault and should get a careless driving and at least ($200 fine + court costs back when I got mine - nobody injured). Should they get more?

Car driver definitely at fault but I do ponder the sanity of doing 45 kmph on a bike down hill there

Cyclist is in the right. Right place, appropriate speed. Could you evade if you were in a car? It’s hard.

Safer to be near traffic speed than to worry about what’s behind. And legal.

To those doubters, watch it again. At the time the car moved forwards, brakes would make no difference, whether Felix is on a bike or piloting a Sherman tank.
The driver is at a controlled intersection and is not to proceed until the road is clear. The road was not clear. It is incumbent on the driver positioned at a giveway not to make assumptions. The driver made assumptions, and Felix got hurt.
Get well soon, Felix.

A cyclist in Wellington once caused me to have an accident. I ended up nailing a body donor (motorcyclist). He could have really hurt me if he had landed through my windscreen a bit further to the right (when he eventually came down).

I wish I had a camera to to show how the cyclist had caused it all because I ended up getting charged with careless use.

I hope the reporter gets better and buys a SUV.

For every near miss like the bizarre one you describe, there are more than 100 cyclists killed by careless motorists like this one. I think you might need to re-adjust your empathy settings.

What we cannot see is whether some action by the bicyclist could have suggested to the car driver that he would be going up that road to the left. Like if he is hugging the left-hand side of the lane, for example.

Get well soon Felix, as a daily bicycle commuter in Auckland I know how often cars pull out in front and how easily these accidents can happen. We dodge our fair share but it sucks when the outcome is injury and damage. All the best to you mate.

the road is flat where the accident happened . it is stop sign not a give way sign . The car had rolled over the line and probably missed the cyclist following the car..... looked to the right thought it was clear and proceeded . My advice is as a cyclist.... anticipate and establish eye contact with the driver if crossing in front of you . The intesection is not that dangerous but i would of rode more central to the road and kept away from the intersection and the bumper. people are generally only looking for what they think might be there , so as cyclists we have to think like that when travelling thru the rush hour traffic. i hope the cyclists hasnt stuffed up his holidays and gets back on board soonest

Sorry, you don't know the road code.
Give way signs in NZ are a triangle.
Stop signs are hexagonal.

Sorry, but based upon the triangle, the car was still at fault for failing to give way. What are you trying to prove?

Stops signs are octagonal. Just saying...

I worry about the safety of cyclists and feel society owes them protection. We should ensure that they are safe to the standards OSH would expect - full leather gear, with wrist and ankle guards, chest and spine protectors and padding, full-face helmets, leather gloves and boots with steel caps, all in fluro. Frontal markers of a cross-section similar to a small car so they can be seen from the front and similar at the rear with four concentric circles to highlight their position to following vehicles. Maximum speed should be 30kmh to reduce their injuries in unexpected situations. Cyclists travelling in groups should have the added protection of safety/pilot vehicles in front and every 40m through their pack to help their visibilty on the road (after obtaining a suitable permit).
Cyclists deserve to be protected.

Analysis of injuries from auto accidents found that most were head injuries which would not have occurred if the occupant had been wearing a bicycle type helmet.

I urge National/ACT/United Future to enact legislation under urgency that all vehicle occupants must be wearing approved helmets as well as seat belts. It's only prudent.

Since drivers deserve to be protected from heart disease, should cars have their motors removed and be fitted with pedals? I think that would free up a lot more hospital beds than the odd cycle crash.

It's a stop sign


NZ Road Code

Give Way sign
At an intersection controlled by a Give Way sign:
A triangle give way marking and a white line will be painted on a sealed road.

Stop sign
At an intersection controlled by a Stop sign:
The word STOP and a single yellow line will be painted on the road.

The person did not properly follow the rules of the road based on your link. So, still fault of the car.


Brilliant link - what a different perspective the view gives.

As someone who cycles through there daily, the safest place to be is actually in the main traffic lane. That's where cars expect to see other vehicles.

Ideally you would either be reasonably close to the car in front of you, so that if the car pulling out didn't see you you'd be past the intersection before it could hit you anyway. Or you'd be further back so the car in front wasn't obscuring you from other traffic.

Just another day in the life of a cyclist trying to avoid homicidal drivers :)

Wellington needs cycle lanes where possible.

There will always be a driver vs cyclist debate until there is a clear lane for each.

A cyclist has to squeeze between buses (bus lanes) and vehicles all the time, and are more often than not riding the gutter.

As for the riding on the footpath statement, what a ridiculous statement. You would see a few more pedestrian injuries if that were to happen. It is also against the law: Don't ride your bicycle on a footpath unless you are delivering newspapers, mail or leaflets, or there is a sign indicating it is a shared pedestrian and cycle path.

I do agree that cyclists need to hand signal more (the majority of daily cycle commuters do, though).