A motorcyclist flew up to 10m through the air after a collision with a car, witnesses say.
One woman saw the accident happen in front of her while another saw the motorcyclist flying high enough for her to see him above her fence as she sat in her home.
They and other residents have spoken of the tragedy which happened at the intersection of Eversham Rd and Exeter St, Arataki, about 2.18pm on Sunday.
The rider was taken to Tauranga Hospital but died.
The police said the Serious Crash Investigation Unit was still investigating the exact circumstances of the crash.
An eyewitness to the crash, who asked not to be identified, said she was driving home when she saw a motorcyclist riding towards her.
She witnessed the motorcycle and a car collide at the intersection of Exeter St and Eversham Rd with the motorcyclist flying off his bike into the air and tumbling a number of times.
The rider landed on his back about seven to 10 metres away from his bike and did not try to get up, she said.
The witness, who had her four young children in her car, said a resident who lived in the street was “really good” in giving first aid to the injured man while the witness rang 111.
“We just kept asking his name and whether he knew where he was, but he wasn’t really responding although his legs were still moving and his knuckles were grazed up.
“I couldn’t see signs of any major blood loss … and he was just breathing quite crazy really, with loud heavy grunting breaths.”
The witness said the deceased, who was wearing normal long pants, a singlet and a leather vest, was still wearing his helmet and lapsing in and out of consciousness.
“It was a crazy, surreal thing to see right in front of you and quite scary as the rider landed about seven to 10 metres in front of my car,” she said.
The mother of four said a man believed to be the deceased’s brother had been riding behind him, and he also stopped and tried to comfort his sibling.
The occupants of the car, two women, were in tears, but appeared uninjured, she said.
An Eversham Rd resident, who asked not to be named, said she heard a loud bang and initially thought a vehicle had crashed into a fence.
“When I realised it was more serious than that, I grabbed our first aid kit and my husband ran outside to see if he could help the injured rider,” she said.
“By that stage, there were at least 15 to 20 people out on the street, including a couple on their phones calling 111 for an ambulance,” she said.
A lot of other people also turned up, who appeared to be the injured man’s friends, the resident said.
The mother-of-two also said she knew it must be serious as five paramedics from St John and multiple police officers responded.
“My husband, who helped to administer first aid, also held the injured rider’s head when the paramedics needed help to carry him into the ambulance.”
She said it was a “traumatic” experience and he was struggling to stop thinking about the crash.
The woman said the deceased was wearing a helmet but the visor had been torn off.
The resident said the police had the road cordoned off for several hours while the Serious Crash Unit investigated.
Another Eversham Rd resident, who lives near the crash scene, told the Bay of Plenty Times she saw part of the immediate impact of the crash while she sat in her lounge.
The resident, who asked not to be named, said she was watching television with the ranch slider open when she heard a “real thump”.
“I just heard the bang and when I looked up I saw the rider flying through the air, and he landed in the middle of the road.
“He flew high enough for me to see him over my fence, and he ended up in the middle of the road some distance from his bike, maybe about 10 metres away,” she said.
Her fence was about 1.8m tall.
“I couldn’t stop shaking… It’s a very, terrible thing to happen almost right at my front gate. It’s so sad the man has passed away,” she said.
The long-time resident in the street said by the time she got outside, other residents had poured out into the road and some gathered near the injured rider.
“This is a very dangerous corner and I have seen lots of near-misses,” she said.
The woman said that on Monday a number of people on motorbikes and other vehicles drove through the crash scene, some pausing briefly as if paying their respects.
Another resident said she was in the kitchen at the time of the crash.
“I immediately went to the front door, and saw lots of people already out on the road and the injured rider lying prone on his back in the middle of the road.
The woman said it was a “pretty horrible” situation to have happened in her neighbourhood.
Another Eversham Rd resident said: “It was quite a dramatic and sad end to a Sunday. I feel so sorry for the man’s family and friends.”
While the Bay of Plenty Times was at the crash scene on Monday, several motorcyclists and vehicles passed through and appeared to pay tribute at the intersection.
Some riders did burnouts at the crash spot, others riders and drivers paused briefly before driving off, revving loudly.
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