The Lauvi family: Tafaoga, left, Denny (with new helmet), Maria and Meki. PHOTO/CHELSEA BOYLE
Denny Lauvi was cycling to school on Tuesday on SH2 from his home in Waingawa when his bike and a milk tanker collided with such force it split his helmet in half.
The 17-year-old Wairarapa College pupil has brushed off the horror collision unscathed, but says he feels “very lucky”.
His father Reverend Meki Lauvi, who ministers at the Congregation of Christian Church of Samoa, cannot stop saying “it’s a miracle”.
Denny bikes about 6km most mornings to get to school.
On Tuesday, he was heading “straight for school” using the cycle lane on State Highway 2 when the collision happened at the Ngaumutawa Rd intersection just after 8am.
The milk tanker was attempting to turn right when the two collided.
The impact sent Denny sprawling head- over- heels to the other side of the road.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said.
Mr Lauvi and his wife Maria had no idea about what had happened until much later that day.
“I feel terrible about it,” Mrs Lauvi said.
The couple had been in Masterton that morning meeting Prime Minister Bill English.
They were relieved their son was ok.
“I don’t know how he escaped injury,” Mrs Lauvi said.
“I regret that I didn’t force him to wear a hi vis vest.”
Denny said his school backpack, which was gifted to him by New Zealand Black Cap cricketer Ross Taylor, helped cushion his fall.
Wairarapa Road Safety Council manager Bruce Pauling said it showed the “absolute necessity” for all cyclists to wear helmets.
“That helmet without a shadow of a doubt saved that young man from severe injury or worse.”
Mr Pauling said it was also important cyclists wear high vis to stay as visible as possible to traffic.
A keen sportsman Denny said the crash would not stop him from cycling.
He plays volleyball and cricket but was most competitive when it comes to rugby, as he is a member of Waicol’s first XV and plays for Wairarapa Bush under 18s.
Denny is keen to get back on the rugby field as soon as possible.
Road Policing Traffic Sergeant Tim Crum has lent Denny a bike so he can keep riding and he has been gifted a brand new helmet to replace the one completely shattered in the collision.
A replacement helmet was gifted to Denny by AvantiPlus co-owners Deb Allen and Ben Knight.
A police investigation into the circumstances of the early morning collision is on-going.