Residents fight back against boy racers

Two people were hospitalised after this car crashed into a power pole in Cockle Bay on May 28. Photos supplied

Danny Wright remembers lying in bed the first night his family spent at their new east Auckland home and wondering if they’d moved next to a racetrack.

Almost three years later the excessive noise from speeding motorists he and other Cockle Bay residents deal with on a nightly basis hasn’t let up.

Wright says many drivers, who are mostly young men, frequently travel at high speed around the area.

“We hear cars all hours of the night being turbo-boosted up the road,” he told the Times.

“They gather at Cockle Bay Beach and rev their cars so they backfire, do burnouts, and puff their chests out.

“Then they do a lap around the area, up Liston Crescent, then down Pah Road and back to the beach.”

The problem came to a head on the night of May 28, when a Mazda RX-7 crashed in Pah Road just before 7.30pm.

Wright was at home at the time and heard the collision.

“We and our neighbours were all listening to cars doing big burnouts and carrying on,” he says.

“Some guy had a particularly loud car and we heard it flying around and up Churchill Road.

“I was thinking if it carries on too much longer, I’ll phone the police.

“I heard the car come flying down here [Cockle Bay Road] and there was a ‘boom’, and I thought to myself ‘that sounded like a car accident’.

“I went down my driveway, looked down the road, and the car was on fire.

“By the time I got there, one of my neighbours had run out with a fire extinguisher and put it out.”

Skid marks were left behind after a motorist performed a burnout on a Cockle Bay road.

Wright took photos of the crash scene.

They show a badly damaged red Mazda RX-7 with both of its doors open.

A woman is holding the upper body of the vehicle’s passenger, who appears to be unconscious and is half hanging out of the damaged car.

Wright says the Mazda struck a parked car and pushed it 20-30 metres into a power pole, which was knocked over.

Emergency services attended the crash and transported two people to hospital for medical treatment.

One of the two sustained serious injuries in the crash and is continuing to recover.

Police are investigating the incident and no charges have yet been laid.

Wright is now campaigning alongside other local residents to find effective long-term solutions to slow the speeding drivers down.

“It seems locals have been banging on doors for long enough and nothing’s really happened,” he says.

“There may be some police support from time to time but it’s very erratic and not very permanent.”

He wants speed reduction measures put in place in the area and suggests judder bars, speed cameras, and a lowering of the 50kmh limit on Shelly Beach Parade as those that may be effective.

Wright also wants police to check vehicles being driven by speeding motorists and for any that are illegally modified to be taken off the road.

He’s also contacted the local electorate office of Botany MP Christopher Luxon for help to address the problem.

He says Luxon’s staff have been “absolutely brilliant” and a public meeting is being held with Luxon, representatives of Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and police this month to address the ongoing issue.

A fence in front of a local home was damaged when a vehicle crashed into it.

A police spokesperson says police are aware there have been “some issues” in Cockle Bay involving a minority of road users and police are providing additional patrols in the area.

Police have no tolerance of illegal driving activity, the spokesperson says.

“Over the past few weeks Cockle Bay has been a particular focus area for the deployment of our public safety team officers and our road policing officers.

“We do not want drivers on the road who are endangering the lives of people in our communities.

“While we appreciate there are car enthusiasts who meet up and socialise without engaging in illegal activity, there are a minority who have little regard for road safety and the communities they are affecting with their behaviour.

“We are determined to put a stop to this.”

People who see dangerous driving behaviour should phone police on 111 and record the vehicle’s registration number if possible.

A public meeting on speeding motorists in Cockle Bay is being held at Cockle Bay School in Sandspit Road at 7pm on July 27.