Riders hit the streets for ‘Safe Cycle Month’

Amy Robertson, Monash Journalism

Bike riders from Whitehorse are set to hit the road in a bid to urge police and motorists to take more care while using Victorian roads.

Whitehorse cyclists group, the largest recreational bike riding group in Melbourne’s east, have organised bike rides this October to raise awareness about bike safety in their community.

The organised rides coincide with Safe Cycle Month, a road safety initiative of the Victorian Police, and Ride2Work Day, held in October each year.

Whitehorse Cyclists’ Group president Micheal Rogers said there needs to be a greater level of respect between cyclists and motorists on the road.

“One major issue is cars driving too close to bikes on the road. This is really dangerous for cyclists as it increases the chance of a collision, and it is the cyclist who’s going to be injured or killed,” he said.

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Whitehorse Cyclists President Michael Rogers rides up to 200km per week. Photo: Michael Rogers.

Whitehorse Cyclists’ safety officer Doug Hammerton said one of the most dangerous hazards for riders on the road are motorists who drive or pass too close to cyclists, and a lack of concentration on both sides. He said motorists need to maintain at least one metre spacing beside cars.

“Dooring is also quite common. The most famous incident of this in recent times happened on Sydney Road where a cyclist was killed by someone opening their car door on them,” he said.

The permanent bike memorial in memory of Alberto Paulon, who was killed in March 2015 in a car-dooring incident on Sydney Road.

Permanent roadside memorial in memory of Alberto Paulon, who was killed in March 2015 in a car-dooring incident on Sydney Road. Photo: Amy Robertson.

“We need to create more separation between cyclists and cars, but more often accidents with bike riders occur through lack of concentration on behalf of the bike rider.”

Mr. Rogers has been involved in two separate road accidents, mostly due to momentary lapses in concentration. His latest accident resulted in a shattered elbow and a seven month recovery period.

“If we keep people thinking about safety and the safety of people around them, then we’ll minimise the number of accidents.”

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