Cyclists, drivers in conflict on Ballarat roads

CLASHES between cyclists and vehicles are “all too common” on Ballarat roads, cyclists claim.

Ballarat Sebastopol Cycling Club president Phillip Orr said the club was shocked and appalled to learn of last Sunday’s hit-and-run incident involving cyclist Mark Templeton.

Mr Templeton was struck from behind by a vehicle at Warrenheip and left bleeding on the road as the driver sped away. Police are still hunting the driver of the dark-green Mitsubishi Magna.

Mr Templeton suffered a broken collarbone and grazes to his knees, face and legs in the incident on Ti Tree Road.

“Unfortunately this is another case of what is becoming an all-too-common occurrence on Ballarat roads, where cyclists have come off second best in road-sharing altercations with motor vehicles” Mr Orr said.

“We ask that motorists employ patience and to recognise that cyclists have a right within the law to use the roads.”

Veteran road and track cyclist Doug Garley died last year after being hit by a car on a training ride near Clunes, while elite cyclist Damien Turner suffered a broken leg and ribs after being struck from behind by a vehicle at Dunnstown in August 2011.

Mr Orr said more and more Ballarat residents were taking up cycling as a sport and recreational activity and were using public roads legally for training and social riding.

“Statistically, the number of vehicles on our roads is also increasing, so it seems inevitable that traffic pressures on our roads are going to lead to situations where motorists and cyclists will have to decide how they are going to treat each other,” he said.

“The BSCC strongly urges all our members and all cyclists in general to obey road rules and to demonstrate courtesy to other road users at all times.”

Mr Orr said it would be “unfortunate” if the actions of a minority of cyclists, who might not do the right thing, tarnished the reputation of the majority who were riding safely and within the law. 

“Cyclists, whether riding in a large group or on their own, are always physically vulnerable out on public roads,” he said.

“They can increase their safety by being vigilant, being highly visible ... and by being considerate to motorists without compromising their own safe position on the road.”