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Holiday road toll matches worst in past decade after person on motorbike crashes with truck

A fatal crash involving a truck and motorbike in Canterbury yesterday has raised the holiday weekend road toll to eight deaths – making this among the worst Labour weekends on New Zealand roads over the past decade.

Police said the motorcyclist died as a result of the 9.45am crash on the Rakaia River Bridge in Selwyn.

Investigators are still at the scene, and the road remains closed.

The eight deaths this long weekend match last year’s road toll. Prior to that, there hadn’t been eight deaths during the Labour Day weekend since 2011.

The holiday period ended at 6am this morning.

Also in Canterbury this morning, police reported an incident on State Highway 1 at Kaiapoi in which a pedestrian was hit by a truck. That person was critically injured, police said.

Police yesterday urged motorists to slow down.

“It’s already been a horrific holiday weekend on the country’s roads and a number of families have been changed forever,” said Superintendent Steve Greally, director of the National Road Policing Centre.

“While our investigators work to understand how these crashes occurred, preliminary information tells us alcohol, speed, no seatbelts, distractions and poor decisions are likely to feature, and the consequences have proved to be devastating.”

Police issued the Sunday statement after two people died in a crash that morning on State Highway 14 near Wheki Valley in Whangārei. Three others were injured.

On Saturday, a person died after falling from a moving vehicle on Clevedon-Kawakawa Rd in Kawakawa Bay just before 7pm.

Another two people died after a serious two-car crash near Waihola, Otago, on Saturday morning. Three others were injured, two seriously and one moderately.

On Friday, a motorcyclist died at the scene after colliding with a car in Burnham, Christchurch, and a woman died after being hit by a truck in Hawke’s Bay.

The woman, a mother from Napier, was hit by a truck-and-trailer horse float between Hastings and Waipawa.

It is the first fatality on Hawke’s Bay roads in more than four months, and the Herald understands the driver was transporting horses that had competed in events at the Hastings showgrounds.

The Labour Day weekend holiday road toll period started at 4pm on Friday and ends at 6am tomorrow.

“Police can’t be everywhere all of the time, ” Greally said, “Drivers need to take responsibility for their actions when operating a vehicle and focus on getting everybody in their vehicle to their destination safely.”

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