NEVER FORGOTTEN: A Ghost Bike was erected as a memorial to Hans Nico Battaerd who was killed in November 2016, while cycling home from a training ride with the Ballina Masters Cycling Club. Photo: Alison Paterson
NEVER FORGOTTEN: A Ghost Bike was erected as a memorial to Hans Nico Battaerd who was killed in November 2016, while cycling home from a training ride with the Ballina Masters Cycling Club. Photo: Alison Paterson

Driver distraction, aggression behind rise in cyclist deaths

As the number of cyclists suffering serious injuries or an untimely death on Northern Rivers roads continues, recent data shows driver inattention or aggression is the main cause in the majority of crashes.

According to research from the Australian Automobile Association, the peak organisation for Australia's motoring clubs, the number of cyclists killed on Australian roads by motorists has risen by nearly one third.

The AAA Benchmarking Report found thar in the 12 months to September 2020, 47 cyclists died on Australian roads, compared to 36 deaths in the previous corresponding period, an increase of 30.6 per cent.

The research also found that drivers are to blame for at least 79 per cent of accidents with cyclists and revealed approximately 85 per cent of reported cyclist casualty crashes involve another vehicle, not a bike or a pedestrian.

The researchers concluded that driver distraction accounted for roughly 25 per cent of accidents.

Police confirmed they are every frustrated by the continual 'groundhog day' of crashes they attended where people are too often injured or killed by distracted or aggressive drivers.

Richmond Police District Acting Highway Patrol Sergeant Matt Linton said driver distraction is one of the biggest problems officers face.

Act Sgt Linton said too many road-users act in a selfish manner such as speeding, using mobile devices, which can have tragic consequences.

"We see the results of driver distractions happen every day," he said,

"If cyclists have any footage of these offences occurring then police are happy to chase it up.

"And if drivers have dashcam footage of cyclists riding illegally again we can act on this.

Cycling NSW spokesman Ryan Miu said road safety is everyone's responsibility.

"The most important thing when is no matter if you are behind the wheel of a car on a bike is that everyone gets to where they are going safely," he said.

"When you are behind the wheel of a several thousand kilo vehicle you do have to take the responsibility of taking care."

Never forgotten - Cyclists killed on our roads

2019 - Tim Watkins

2017 - Col Haldwell

2016 - Hans Battaerd

2012 - John Foss

2009 - Milli O'Nair

2007 - Brian Brummell


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