Today we were reminded that Mia Pusch wasn’t the only German cyclist to have died in New Zealand in the last twelve months. Much the same as Mia, another German national was also killed by a truck and it was moving in the same direction as he was.
German tourist Stephan Stoermer had been on a cycling world tour since 2006, he was winding his way through 26 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia since early 2006 before arriving in New Zealand. He died a week before his tour was scheduled to end when he was hit by a logging truck near Te Puke in the Bay of Plenty on March 12, 2009.
As if it was a portent of worse to come two months previously Police Superintendent Steve Fitzgerald, a road safety expert and National Commander of the Police Communications Centres, was killed when he was involved in a collision with a truck as he cycled home in Petone. At one time Mr Fitzgerald oversaw all NZ road policing operations and achieved significant and sustained reductions in road deaths and injury crashes. That same day, and in a separate incident, Des Eyre also died in Wellington when he collided with a truck.
Another German cyclist died on 6 August in a hit an run at Leeston, 45 km south west of Christchurch. 34 year old Jens Richardon (above, centre) had been living in NZ for a few years. He must have been quite familiar with the peculiarities of the roads and of the local driving habits. His body was eventually discovered by a passing motorist at 7.30pm and police located the offender’s car, a dark blue BMW 3251, 20km away.
Slumped over bar
The driver of the car that hit him was seen slumped over a bar shortly before the crash. Phillip Kirkwood Hamilton, 40, of Southbridge, pleaded guilty on 6 November 2009 to driving under the influence of alcohol causing death and failing to stop for an injury accident. He had drunk around 10 pints of beer at a bar in Rolleston from around 2.30pm that day. He told police he knew he had hit a cyclist but panicked because he had been drinking.
He was remanded on bail for sentencing until 8 February and the judge ordered a pre-sentence report on his suitability for home detention, and a victim impact statement from the dead cyclist’s wife.
Home detention? for drinking a skinful and then killing another man?! it’s an utter disgrace and is beyond belief. That would be an insult to Mr. Richardson’s memory and will send a message out to the local community that if you drink, drive and kill someone you’ll likely get off with little more than a slapped wrist. There should be zero tolerance for crimes such as these, it’s important that justice is seen to be done.
Stephan Stoermer kept a blog of his journey which was completed for him after his death, here is a rough translation from the original German of the last entry: (link)
“On 12 March 2009 he arrived at Tauranga Bay of Plenty. He got no further. He got no further. One on the same street in the same direction errant truck ran over him, just like that.
How do we learn from New Zealand in New Zealand is such a thing, more or less than normal: Cyclists must – if they do not want to be killed – to avoid any motor vehicle, no matter which way this comes out.
Niguel Short, author of the famous bike tour leader neuseeländsichen Pedall ‘Paradise, writes in the introduction to Bicycle Tours in New Zealand at Relevant Traffic Laws:
Cyclists should give way to cars and trucks … or you may be run over!
New Zealand might be a crank ‘Paradise but it is not Utopia! Thus it might be worth investing in a mirror to keep an eye on the moronic drivers approaching from behind.
The Bay of Plenty Times reported on 17 March 2009 about the accident:
Cyclist this week from one world tour finish
17/03/2009 by Vicki Waterhouse
The tourist killed after he was hit by a truck while cycling near Te Puke had been biking around the world for the past three years and was due to fly home on Friday.
The man was named today as Stephan Stoermer, 38, of Frankfurt.
Mr. Stoermer died on the way to hospital after he was hit by a fully load logging truck on State Highway 2 near Te Matai Rd last Thursday night.
Mr. Stoermer had traveled through 25 countries on his bicycle, throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Australia.
On his website he talked about being on the move all of his life, but not for the purpose of arriving at a destination.
“I’m always looking for a new, different mode of traveling,” he wrote.
Mr. Stoermer began his journey in the northern hemisphere’s spring of 2006.
He said on his website he enjoyed touring the world on a bicycle because he always met people with whom he could tour for hours or days and had the most interesting conversations with them.
On this three-year tour he was meeting people from various cultural backgrounds who shared his interest in cycling.
He also sought to promote environmentally friendly travel and motivate people to use bikes.
His website features hundreds of pictures of himself on the road in various locations.
Senior Sergeant Ian Campion of road policing said Mr Stoermer’s family in Germany had been notified of his death.
Mr Campion said according to Mr. Stoermer’s travel documents, he was due to fly out to Frankfurt on Friday after traversing 26 countries.
0wA5oGRlTI/AAAAAAAAAI8/htDHt3C/span>He arrived in New Zealand on December 30 and had traveled the South Iceland.
The Rotorua logging truck driver who drove the truck which hit Mr Stoermer has not been charged over the incident. Police are still investigating the collision.
Mr Campion said it may be some time until the cause of the crash was determined.
This investigation will probably result hardly anything, since there are no surviving witnesses to give except the truck driver himself, who wrote Websklave in March 2009. That’s not quite true anymore. On 30 September reports Stephen Stormer-sister Ulrike Hertel, after receiving a detailed police report:
In fact there were witnesses to the accident, and as a result of the investigation of truck drivers because of “reckless driving resulting in death is indicted.”
Would you so much, since (insert a sentence or at least the old rauszunehmen) – simply because it is not true, and we otherwise the New Zealand police and their thorough work can not be met.
What the Websklave obviously likes to do.
Cremation in New Zealand
Stephen Stormer was posted on Saturday, 21 March 2009 at 11h30 cremated at the cemetery in Rotorua NZ. Michiel van Dijk and Anna Lim report on the book of condolence. You have set at the accident scene and a small compass to remember and evergreen. “