SIMON Gillett dreams of a day where children can freely ride their bikes to school without being in danger of being hit by a car.
It is a dream the Ballarat man knows is still years away, but a dream that is getting closer every day.
The husband of late cycling star Amy Gillett, who died when she was hit by an out of control motorist while cycling in Germany in 2005, is leading the charge for laws to be introduced in Australia that make it illegal for cars to drive within one metre of cyclists when overtaking.
The ‘metre matters’ campaign is now in its fourth year and today gained more momentum when star cyclist Richie Porte publicly signed a petition in Buninyong to have legislation introduced.
The Amy Gillett Foundation was born out of tragedy and aims to make Australia as safe as possible for cyclists.
The petition, along with years of definitive research is set to be tabled in the Australian House of Representatives in April.
“The momentum is really key and we’ve done a lot of work on the research side,” Mr Gillett said.
“It’s a great thing for Amy’s parents to see some sense come out of it all, it has been hard enough for all of us, but it just makes it that bit easier.
“Having big names like Richie Porte jump on is fantastic and really adds weight to this push.”
Just two weeks ago Porte, the 2013 Australian road cyclist of the year, found out family friend Lewis Hendey had been killed when he was knocked off his bike by a car in Launceston.
Mr Hendey was one of 48 bike riders killed on Australian roads in 2013.
“I still remember exactly where I was when I heard the news about Amy, it hit home so hard,” Porte said.
“I put my name to this on behalf of the families who are grieving over the loss of their loved ones in senseless bike-related tragedies, and the millions of Aussies who deserve to ride their bikes in a safer environment.”
Legendary cycling broadcaster Phil Liggett also threw his weight behind the campaign, remembering back to when he heard the news Amy Gillett had been killed – a rest day during the Tour de France.
“As I was riding from the hotel today I just thought how proud would Amy be to see her name on such a great push’” he said.
“This change has got to happen, we share the road. We’ve got to make sure people like Amy have not died for no reason.”
For Mr Gillett, he will know his work his done when parents are again happy to let their children ride to school.
“My yardstick will be when kids are able to ride their bikes to school again and their parents know they are safe,” he said.