Motorcycle rider sneaked in and out of traffic before crash that killed passenger


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Simon Greenwood is on trial in Auckland District Court on charges of reckless driving causing the death of his passenger Nikki Gapes.  (File photo)

Ricky Wilson / Stuff

Simon Greenwood is on trial in Auckland District Court on charges of reckless driving causing the death of his passenger Nikki Gapes. (File photo)

A motorcyclist involved in a fatal collision was weaving through heavy traffic before the crash, a court heard.

Mother-of-three Nicola-Jane (Nikki) Gapes, 43, died on impact after the motorcycle she was a passenger on crashed into the back of a cornering car on the Kaipara Highway ( State Highway 16) on January 29, 2018.

Driver Simon Greenwood, who was 52 at the time, denied a charge of reckless driving causing death and was tried by a judge alone at Auckland District Court on Monday.

Motorcyclist Jeremy Winks was riding his red Ducati motorcycle behind Greenwood and Gapes on the day of the incident.

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The two motorcycles were not traveling together, but both used the oncoming lane to squeeze through the line of heavy traffic, he said.

Just before the accident, the couple had entered the oncoming lane and both accelerated before colliding with a Mazda car.

Winks was airlifted to hospital.

Rana Kipa, who drives the Mazda, said he stopped at the yacht club so that his partner, Tracey Potter, could use the restroom.

He said he slowed down, checked his mirrors, signaled and made the turn, but never came to a complete stop.

Kipa described the turn as a “standard turn” for himself, a 12-year-old driver, to do.

“I remember going to the boat launch stop and heard a loud crash behind me. I felt an impact, I thought someone had just another car in the back of me, but it was kind of like two impacts, ”he told the court.

Potter said the traffic was heavy because it was a bank holiday weekend. All the cars were traveling between 90 and 100 km / h.

She agreed with Kipa that the car would slow down to make the turn and indicate, but she never came to a complete stop.

Defense attorney David Jones questioned Kipa about his actions before taking the tour.

He said Kipa did not check the mirrors before performing the maneuver and that he entered the right lane sooner than needed in his rush to get his partner to the bathroom .

“If you had, you would have seen motorcycles in the opposite lane trying to overtake you,” he said.

“The car was hit in the rear bumper, not on the side as you would expect from a cornering vehicle.”

Kipa disagreed and said he looked behind him on “several” occasions before turning around.

Kipa was not pursued by the police.

Drivers Blair Stanley and Dylan French, who were in separate cars behind the Mazda, both testified that the motorcycles were accelerating and passing traffic when the collision occurred.

Police confirmed that no alcohol or drugs were involved in the incident and that the weather was clear that day.

Trial before Judge Michael Crosbie continues

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