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Slaughter of the cyclists in the Cotter (OK OK, no one is dead)

By johnboy - 30 April 2007 93

[First filed: April 29, 2007 @ 13:40]

The ABC informs us that a group of racing cyclists have had an unfortunate meeting with a four wheel drive on the Cotter Road.

About five cyclists were in the group that was hit just after 10:00am AEST.

Two have been taken to the Canberra Hospital.

One is in a critical condition and the other in a serious condition.

The injured cyclists were believed to have been competing in the Canberra Cycling Tour

UPDATED: Our snouts in the cycling community offer the following insight:

The Canberra Tour is an annual two-day event which attracts all kinds of interstate and top road cyclists. This year was the 24th time it has run. It involves many different grades — men, women, juniors — and a number of different kinds of races for each grade. Most of these races involve numerous laps of a course, and because there are so many races happening it is very difficult to close roads — many major roads would have to be closed for the entire weekend which is just not practical.

It is understood the accident happened in the women’s B Grade race, which was fairly small. Apparently a couple of the cyclists in the bunch touched wheels, causing them to fall and inevitably bringing down the rest of group. It is understood some of the group fell into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Without preempting any investigation, it is understood there was little the driver would have been able to do in the conditions.

Apparently one of the two cyclists hit was in a coma pretty much at the scene and word is she was given CPR at the scene. Apparently her husband was riding in the men’s A grade race that come down on the same route 10 minutes after the accident.

The cycling community is preparing for a big discussion about how better safety, or road closures, can be managed for these big events.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The ABC reports that the organisers are now going to try and get the road closed in future.

More: This is the only local news on the Canberra Times today. Firstly a padded piece on the basic detail with some bum covering by the race organisers followed by a list of anyone to ever be hurt riding a bicycle anywhere. They also have calls from the NRMA to end cycle racing on open roads.

IMHO more interesting is a comment here by our very own FB:

On Sat morning a a few mates & myself headed out to Namadgi to do a bit of 4WDing. We came back around 2:00pm along Brindabella Road then up Cotter road. The exact route of the race. We were driving in a Jeep Wrangler set up for off roading with a big F%@k off bull bar. We passed dozens of idiots on bikes & I made the comment to my mate that someone was going to get hit, it was just a matter of when.

More then once we would go around a corner to find a group coming at us with some crazy idiot trying to overtake on the inside, riding with his wheels ON the centre line. They wouldn’t even back off when they saw us coming at them, they would just ride straight at us and make us put two wheels off the road to avoid them. We even had the same thing happen with a lone cyclist. The attitude of the cyclists seemed to be that it was their road.

Comment by FB — 30 April, 2007 @ 10:14 am

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93 Responses to
Slaughter of the cyclists in the Cotter (OK OK, no one is dead)
jr 12:51 am 30 Apr 07

So much for the ACT Road Safety Strategy and Action Plan. Why don’t people understand that Bicycles and Motorized vehicles simply don’t mix.

J Dawg 11:41 pm 29 Apr 07

If not roads closed, at least signs up warning drivers, reduced speed limits, maybe altering courses to avoid dangerous situations (like Pickle’s). Accidents are bound to happen with cyclists on roads, but they could make a few more attempts to minimise them.

Bartron 9:54 pm 29 Apr 07

Cranky – Bike paths are one thing…they (should) keep bikes off the road (if only the people that ‘should’ be using them would use them…slightly OT but jeeze it pisses me off when there is a perfectly good bike path RIGHT NEXT TO THE ROAD yet some knob dressed like he/she is in the tour de France blocks half a bloody lane….that idiot the other day crossing scrivner dam, I’m looking at you).

Anyway…..bike paths = good (and they do get a lot of use)….mass groups of self rightious cyclists claiming ownership of a windy, narrow road = bad. It’s a shame some people got hurt but for some reason I have this feeling of ‘serves you right’ towards the cyclists. Cars are bad things that burn dead dinosaurs but guess what…they are bigger that you and my highschool physics tells me that they’d have a lot more kinetic energy than 60kg of flesh, bone and aluminium.

If you want to hold a race on the road….apply to have it closed for the duration.

rant off

Dude Ranch 8:47 pm 29 Apr 07

Riding bicycles on the road is such a smart idea!!

I wish I was bright enough to put my life in the hands of the ACT driving public!

Pandy 7:23 pm 29 Apr 07

Irresponsible bike riders riding *as a pack* on an un-closed hill road.

Tough titties to the organisers: Hope your smugness has not been too hurt. I hope your insurance is in order too.

cranky 7:13 pm 29 Apr 07

Further to this comment, and at the risk of moving off topic, just how much money has been spent on pushbikes in this Territory.

The unused Velodrome, the bike paths, the bus bike racks, the bike lanes on major roads, and the above mentioned racing complex.

Per head of population, pushbike riders have to be the most spoilt citizens in this city.

el 7:05 pm 29 Apr 07

I think the $8mil was for a mountain biking facility. By the sounds of it this was road racing.

And significant signage is meaningless if cyclists are riding along twisty, winding sections of road on the wrong side of it.

cranky 7:02 pm 29 Apr 07

This is after we have been party to spending $8mill on a dedicated bike race circuit?

Aeek 6:59 pm 29 Apr 07

It’s a regular course, would have been significant signage.

J Dawg 6:31 pm 29 Apr 07

Oh no!

Expect lots of public outcry for cycle lanes on the Cotter Road. Then all over the rest of ACT roads. Then expect this government to waste a lot of money putting them in.

shiny flu 6:31 pm 29 Apr 07

Myself as both road and MTB rider, I have to agree with the comments here- Cotter road is dangerous, even more so when you combine a competitive element. I would see no problem if they could close the road to cars to race along that road. I wonder; were there any support cars behind/in-front of the riders warning other vehicles or maybe significant signage? Either way, hope those involved (driver & cyclists) come out ok.

Pickle 3:54 pm 29 Apr 07

Our observation on Saturday morning was that it was only a question of when.

Our near miss occurred as we were driving a truck slowly up the steepest bit of Brindabella Road, just past Cotter, when we met a group of about 30 cyclists racing down this mountainous stretch and at least 5 members of that group were on the wrong side of the road coming around a bend, and all were moving fast.

We were in a large vehicle travelling on the correct side of the road and moving at a slower speed than the cyclists. Yet I had to take evasive action to avoid an accident.

terry_wrist 3:01 pm 29 Apr 07

It was negligent of the organisers of this event to choose a course which includes sections that the ACT Emergency Services describes as dangerous and accident prone.

I don’t know how many competitors there were in total, but if they were to do this properly, it should have been on a closed circuit. Bike rider coupled with people having a Sunday morning/afternoon drive through the Cotter makes a dangerous combination.

Pandy 2:39 pm 29 Apr 07

Racing cylists on the Cotter road?!!! Inevitable.

tybreaker 2:28 pm 29 Apr 07

Amazing that an apparently well known dangerous road was chosen as part of a racing route. The mind boggles. I wonder if the cyclists were single file or riding in a huddle that filled the majority of the lane as those groups are often seen to do. The mind boggles again.

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