Ballarat cyclists slam government over safety law

SHOCK: Luke Taylor's crash scene at the corner of Whites and Cuthberts roads.

SHOCK: Luke Taylor's crash scene at the corner of Whites and Cuthberts roads.

Leading Ballarat cyclists have slammed the Victorian government for rejecting a one-metre overtaking law following two serious crashes that sent shock waves through the city.

Matthew Kaess, who heads up community group Ballarat Roadies, was at a loss to explain why the state government slapped down a bill in March to introduce a minimum passing distance for cars when overtaking cyclists.

Victoria remains the only state with no such law.

It comes as a collision left one man fighting for his life and another two hospitalised after a white Holden struck them from behind along Black Forest Drive in Macedon on Monday morning.

And well-known building designer Luke Taylor recently emerged from an induced coma after suffering horrific injuries in a smash with a ute west of Ballarat back on May 27.

Mr Kaess said both incidents have left Ballarat cyclists on edge.

We just want to be safe when we go out and not have to worry about getting back to our families - Road cyclist Matthew Kaess

“We just want to be safe when we go out and not have to worry about getting back to our families,” he said. “It definitely adds a sense of unease.

“A group of guys who I ride regularly with were talking about getting gravel bikes so they could travel off the road.”

Fellow cyclist Matt Briody, who is a member of Ballarat Bicycle Users Group, pointed to a recent study by the Royal Automobile Association of South Australia that claimed in 195 out of 277 road smashes it was not the cyclist’s fault.

Mr Briody suggested laws could be introduced in Australia where drivers must prove they were not to blame in a crash as was already the case in several European countries.

“We would hope these rules, described as ‘strict liability laws’, would get some play in the future,” he said.

“It would involve the driver proving they are not at fault.”

Strict liability laws would not be enforced when it was clearly the cyclist’s fault such as if they ignored road signs.

Research has revealed most collisions between cars and bicycles happen at intersections.

Mr Taylor was struck at the intersection of Whites and Cuthberts roads. A police investigation is ongoing.