Sydney road rage - no one seriously injured
Car deliberately halted in front of elite bunch, hit and run
Mascot, Sydney, 8 May 2008
The driver of a car has deliberately driven in front of a group of around elite, pro and talented domestic riders then braked heavily, causing the front riders to crash into the car. Riders in the group of around 50 then crashed into their fallen training mates, or were crashed into by those desperately trying to stop behind them. The scene was littered with cyclists and bikes in the left lane of the road.
An off-duty police officer was travelling behind the group and took control of the scene when the incident occurred.
The driver was apparently agitated as he drove past the group in the same direction, possibly at being delayed on his journey. He passed the riders at a close distance, got ahead and then slowed down. Once he was in front of the group, he slammed on his brakes, according to former Olympian (silver medallist), Kevin Nichols. "We were riding over the rise near the golf course and a driver was harassing the back of the bunch," said Kevin Nichols. "He then came past us really close and pretty fast and cut off the guys in front.
"Once he got in front he slowed down and I thought 'Here we go' and took note of his registration number and called out to the bunch to watch out," said Nichols. "The bunch slowed a bit but as we got behind him he slammed his brakes on and the front of the group went straight into the back of the car."
Involved in the incident were Ben Kersten (Commonwealth Games Champion), Michelle Ferris (Olympic silver medallist) and Kate Nichols (former Australian National team member). The latter was injured in the accident in Thüringen in July 2005 when a car ploughed into the team whilst training, injuring five. Team-mate, Amy Gillett died in the crash. Kevin Nicholes was understandably extremely concerned for his daughter's welfare in the Mascot incident "If they didn't stop they crashed into the riders who had crashed in front and if anyone did manage to stop then someone else ran into them from behind," said Nichols who was riding on the front of the bunch but on the outside and so avoided crashing. " [ I ] Called out to the guy to stop and he pulled over and I stopped in front of him but as soon as I moved over he bolted and then I saw Kate sitting on the ground and ran back to her," said Nichols. She had been further back in the bunch and was caught up in the chain reaction of the crash and was treated on the scene. She later had precautionary x-rays to an injured wrist but has since received the all clear that it is not broken.
Cycling Australia CEO Graham Fredericks says this incident is a clear example of the need to educate all road users on sharing our roads.
"I am horrified by what happened this morning and urge everyone to remember the road is there to share," said Mr Fredericks. "We can only be thankful there were only minor injuries because an incident of this kind could very well have been a tragedy."
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