Fred Ogle was an avid cyclist, fitness enthusiast, and road safety advocate who was killed by a hit-and-run driver. Fred was an experienced rider who participated in many athletic events and went on training rides every Saturday.
As Northland Road Safety Association Treasurer, Fred worked on initiatives such as fatigue stops that encourage drivers to take breaks and be alert.
For a link to an article about this program, see http://www.stuff.co.nz/northland/4634002a1927.html.
The driver of the vehicle that killed Fred Ogle, 62-year-old John Williams, has been charged with failing to ascertain injury and dangerous driving causing death. He hit Fred on State Highway 14 near Maungatapere, west of Whangarei, at about 9:20 AM on August 16, when both were traveling east, and then left the scene. Fred's damaged bike was found next to him on the side of the road. Another motorist stopped, called emergency services and tried to resuscitate him.
The first ghost bike installed for Fred Ogle was destroyed by unknown individuals. It has since been replaced with a new one.
Many media reports highlighted Fred's valuable contribution to his community and his devotion to his family:
A friend of the family of 18 years, who asked not to be named, described Mr Ogle as a devoted family man and an "enthusiast for life" who had an "absolutely generous smile".
The unexpected death had been "numbing" for friends and family who gathered at the family home in Maunu over the weekend. "The family are dealing with the grief of losing Fred. They haven't really started asking why but I know there are mutterings in the wider community with people questioning why the person didn't stop," she said yesterday.
She said Saturday morning rides were a ritual for Mr Ogle who had been out training for the grueling 160 km around-Lake Taupo race, which he had already completed 10 times.
Mr Ogle, a father of two, had just left his usual riding companion about five minutes earlier and was near the brow of a hill heading toward Whangarei, when he was hit by a vehicle traveling in the same direction.
Northland Road Safety Association president Robbie Stevenson said Mr Ogle had worked as the association treasurer for four years and had tried to make roads a safer place for all. "He's a very keen and dedicated community man and did things with great gusto."
Mr Ogle was a familiar face at the roadside Fatigue Stops at Uretiti that encouraged drivers to take a break and provided them with coffee and information.
Mr Stevenson said his mate was into his biking, was very safe and always wore the right gear. "As part of his work with the association he pushed very hard for the cycling fraternity to have better and safer access to places to bike."
Mr Ogle was the co-owner of Leader Driveways construction company that employs more than 20 staff. An employee, Brian Griffin, said his boss was always encouraging and "knew his stuff". There was a great team spirit within the company and Mr Ogle had been present at a social club midwinter function last weekend. "He was the sort of person everyone liked," Mr Griffin said. "He was a real fitness fanatic and had a great attitude towards everyone."
Mr Ogle is survived by his wife Jan and daughters Genna, 23, and Tara, 21, who is returning from England.
A family friend said Ogle was an "enthusiast" for life. The father-of-two played guitar and golf and was a dedicated runner, cyclist, and triathlete, who was a repeat competitor of the gruelling Taupo Ironman. Fred, who was employed as a civil engineer and owned a local construction company, also dabbled in dance.
One article connected Fred's death with his advocacy work and local infrastructure issues:
Whangarei district councillor Sheryl Mai was part of a group which cycled to Mr Ogle's funeral last week. "I noticed people in cars were watching out for me more as a result of the publicity that Fred's death has caused. That's great if that's the positive change that has come out of it," she says.
Ms Mai believes motorists need to be educated and the more cyclists there are on the road, the more aware motorists become.
A fortnight ago the Whangarei District Council canned $160,000 of funding for cycleways, as part of its cuts to fund a $3.2 million flood damage bill. Ms Mai says it is unfortunate the relatively small budget was cut when it could have had a big impact. The funding was for education and to start a cycle corridor for school children by the railway line.
Ms Mai says the council needs to prioritise walking and cycling. "It's easy for me to prioritise it because I see the benefits. I know lots of people that walk and cycle and are looking to the future with things like peak oil and a focus on car alternatives."