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Tragic Death at Emu Plains

Muninjitsu's picture

By Muninjitsu - Posted on 16 February 2013

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

This morning a fellow cyclist was killed on the M4 at Russell St, condolences to family friends. Sad, sad news.

moggio's picture

That is horrible... yet it seems to keep happening. Definitely condolences to friends and family. A real tragedy.

ChopStiR's picture

Very upsetting and prayers go out.

The M4 really needs a cycle path like the M7

hawkeye's picture

Hit by a p-plater in a 4WD in the breakdown lane, apparently. There was a report on Channel 9.

I hope there were no shenanigans involved.

GiantNut's picture

Shenanigans....A P plater in a guess texting. From the news the breakdown lane was wide so the dude was a long way out of his lane. Gives you the shivers thinking about cycling along roads like Forestway out towards Bunnings etc.
Very sad - like a lot of us the victim was a middle age guy just trying to get fit.

Check this out for the insane attitudes out there

BM Epic's picture

I was there and it was definitely 4wdrive fault, i didnt directly see it (was talking to witness/ other driver while we were blocked on the freeway)but car kinda swerved and bike was on inside of shoulder(just) and the result was truly awful.
As an aside, i was on my way down to penrith and at faulco(buttenshaw park) on the highway, a peleton of about 20/30 bikes were heading up, at this point the shoulder is app:1.5 metres wide, several of these blokes were intruding onto the left lane by at least 1/2 feet, eveybody in the left lane had to get in the right lane to avoid these blokes otherwise another accident, trucks were blaring air horns as well as cars, these blokes reaction was to completely ignore the cars and trucks, even though they were encroaching into the drivers lanes, it makes you shake your head in wonder!

darrenjm1's picture

Hits home when i think about how many times i've been in the exact same situation as this unlucky cyclist. Condolences to his/her family and friends.

trim's picture

Gotta agree @darrenjm1. I'm feeling a little ill, having ridden that stretch of the highway many times myself. Thoughts to his family and friends

hawkeye's picture

By shenanigans, I had in mind the couple of red P-platers who thought it was funny to close pass me and either stand on the horn as they did, or have passengers yell "get off the road" on Wednesday night while I was trundling up the Allambie Road hill. The first I was in the short bike lane after the roundabout, the second I couldn't have been further left without clipping parked car mirrors.

Unfortunately camera card had filled up or Mr Plod would have been engaged to have a quiet word about respecting other road users.

By the account of the swerve above, you have to wonder.

BM Epic's picture

I think your scenario Hawkeye is probably going to be fact, either texting on mobile or falling asleep, the other possibility is swerving on purpose, i hope its not that, but it could be, i stopped road riding a couple of years ago after being hit by a 4wdrive ute, what was worse was being run off the road by a commodore driving mum, having a 2 litre bottle of coke pelted at my head(it was full and meant to hit), the other was having a small truck hit me with his big side mirrors, after that forget it, never will hop on a road again!

The Brown Hornet's picture

I wasn't at work but was stuck in the traffic as part of the aftermath. Condolences to friends and family of this guy. I shed a tear as we crawled past. Out for a morning ride and then maybe back home for Saturday sports with his kids. What a tragedy. Talking to workmates it may have been a truck clipping the other car and sending into the cyclist. THIS IS UNCONFIRMED.

Muninjitsu's picture

There are many drivers out there who feel that cyclists have no right to be on the road, some of them think its funny to see how close they can get not thinking of what could happen. Im not saying that this happened in this situation. Stephen and I were riding up Hawksbury lookout where we were abused by some bloke, whom went on to say we should not be on the road.....common were else are we to ride our tandem?? Im sure I speak for most cyclists.
As for a bike path on the M4, which i would fully support, it wont happen. The cost of building such an infrastructure would be too great, money I'm sure our government does not want to spend. I did here on the radio that LAC would access cyclists on the M4, there was talk of prohibiting them.

Burt's picture

seem quick to be harsh on the "P plater 4WD" driver whose life too has changed today for the worse.
Sympathies to both families

Matt P's picture

Well said Burt

ido09s's picture

People on both sides are just as bad and this thread only confirms that cyclists have just as bad an attitude as the car driver.....

Sure cyclists have a legal right to use these roads but when you have a 100kg bike and rider with no protection but a foam esky and lycra doing 30kph on a freeway and 1500kgs of car and passengers doing 90kph i dont know why you guys risk your lives. Surely back streets must be the better option?

RIP to the rider and to the driver of the car, i dont know, what do you say to someone who has to live with killing someone for the rest of their life Sad

hawkeye's picture

Unless it turns out the truck alleged to have tipped him into the breakdown lane really does exist...

"Keep your bloody eyes open and your brain engaged when you're in charge of 2,000kg of heavy machinery" would be where I'd start.

Too many drivers treat driving as a right, and the safety of others as a privelege, instead of the other way around. I used to be one.

dangersean's picture

Mate, I think it is very easy to to sit behind handlebars, blame the world and forget all ramifications.
Yes, I feel for the family of the the poor man on the bike, but I equally feel for the poor bastard who was behind the wheel of the vehicle. He has to live with it until the day he dies, and you have gone very close to implicating that he did it on purpose and therefore committed murder. So take a step back.
Let me share a story from when I was 19 and 1 yar out of high school.
A mate of mine who was a bit more than a cheeky shit had lost his license for the second time for speeding so caught a lift home from a party after a few beers with another friend of mine from school. Little did cheeky mate know but other friend had drank more than the legal limit for a P plater. What resulted was a car wrapped around a telegraph pole, one dead mate with a broken neck and another friend for one with a lifetime of guilt and another thing, years in prison.
What I mean to say is, these things change the lives of all involved forever, and that should not be simplified.

Hop fiend's picture

A couple of weeks I am a truck driver by profession..& in this nightmare in my left mirror there was a bicycle rider I could see cartwheeling on to the side of the road as I had tagged him!-to say I was a little freaked out is an understatement!!!!

hawkeye's picture

Sean, I've been driving for over 30 years, seen lots of stupid stuff, done some of it myself, been a revhead, had good mates killed on the road, seen others paralysed for life, seen close friendships destroyed by the consequences. I've driven many hundreds of thousands of kilometres more than I will ever ride.

I'm simply over the selective blindness we have towards road carnage. Trauma deaths are not "accidents", that implies there is nothing that can be done and the level of culpability is benign. Bollocks to that.

If any other activity led to 546 deaths per year, instead of shrugging it off like we do as being part of life the politicians would be falling over themselves to be seen to do something about the scandal.

As for implying he'd done it on purpose, definitely no. I'm implying there's a possibility open that it's an act if intended intimidation gone wrong, just one possibility among some of the others that have been raised. The others are more likely, in my view. Fatigue or drugs is another possibility.

But based on what has been reported so far (hitting the guy in the breakdown lane), I find it very hard to sympathise with the driver at this point. Unless his being in the breakdown lane at 90km/hr was the result of being bumped into it at that moment by another vehicle, or some kind of mechanical, his failure to control his vehicle properly took someone's life.

We won't know for sure until the full evidence is in the public domain.

hawkeye's picture

... for comparison.

From another site:

The wheels of justice turn slowly - Channel 10 have reported that Stephen Day, the driver responsible for killing cyclist David Williams on the M4 way back in April 2010, whose driving was impaired by both fatigue & marijuana, has been sentenced. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 9 years jail. The report states that he gave up bail a year ago & his release is 6 years away, so it sounds like the non parole period of is 7 years.

He is said to be appealing the severity of the sentence.

I would link to a more reputable source, but it appears that the major newspapers did not deem it newsworthy.

Slowpup's picture

Thanks for the balance Ido9s, Burt and Sean.

Some days it's like listening to 2GB around here Sad

Muninjitsu's picture

We all need to be responsible road users, there are irresponsible people on both sides of the fence as there are many arguable points. Its up to our government to put in infrastructure, as in the M7, to make roads safer for all to use. Personally I try to avoid the busy ones.

ChopStiR's picture

Worst experience I have had on the freeway is passing a Highway patrol officer who was booking another vehicle. The offender was parked far left blocking the left side of the breakdown lane. The officer was parked far right giving himself the safety buffer like they always do. Aproaching the officer i rang my bike bell to alert him to my presence. I had to ride up onto the white line/edge of freeway lane to pass the Patrol car. The Officer had yet to acknowledge me so in feer of him taking a step back from the offenders window and forcing me further onto the freeway I kept ringing my bell as I passed him. Not once did he ever acknowledge my presence. Thankfully he didnt step back into me and the moving vehicle in the left lane had slowed down for me.

Thankfully i have yet to have a run in with a vehicle, except for clipping a parked one when i was young.

News like this reminds me im not immortal and i do need to take care of myself. Always scary news to read.

Burt's picture

I hope your children never have an 'accident' where they crash a car or god forbid kill someone.
Your lack of empathy is astonishing and possibly why cyclists get a bad rap.

ac·ci·dent (ks-dnt, -dnt)
a. An unexpected and undesirable event, especially one resulting in damage or harm: car accidents on icy roads.
b. An unforeseen incident: A series of happy accidents led to his promotion.
c. An instance of involuntary urination or defecation in one's clothing.
2. Lack of intention; chance: ran into an old friend by accident.
3. Logic A circumstance or attribute that is not essential to the nature of somethi

hawkeye's picture

Ive outlined a couple of scenarios that are possible but acknowledge the facts sre open. Its speculation,amd I'm prepared to keep an open mind until the facts are more fully known.

I just think we have the balance seriously wrong. Is it a lycra thing? Because he was a roadie that some of us feel more for the driver than the rider?

Re my attitude to the word accident, it's a view i apply to myself first and foremost. I have no trouble forgoving mistakes, but no excuses. You have to own your mistakes before they can be forgiven. I hate the word accident. Its a cop out.

Burt's picture

you are enjoying being a 'lycra victim'.

The word Accident is a fact of vocabulary and sadly of life.

That P plate driver has to live for the rest of his life that he killed another person. Since it wasn't pre-meditated murder you going on about 'owning mistakes' doesn't strike me as a particularly intelligent 'argument'.

GiantNut's picture

A ride up to Mount White on the old pacific hwy that I was invited on but declined as that road is frequented by hoons. One of the guys I know was either clipped or spooked by two motor bikes who were described as racing. He fell and besides other injuries he sustained a fatal blow to the head. This was yesterday ( Sunday 17th)

My mates who were there said the bikes were riding at insane speeds and were too close. They did not stop after Steve fell.

I have been ill and the only ride I did this w/e was along the flat bits of Duffy's forest. In one 20 min ride I had a ute pass close, rev it and then drop the clutch. There are some deranged and dangerous motorists out there that's why in general I would side with the cyclists

hawkeye's picture

Not part of my vocabulary, Burt. As for your sledge, cheap shot.

Sorry to hear about your friend Giant Nut.

ido09s's picture

and this is exactly why cyclists and car drivers will never get along.....

sykesey's picture

I posted this on the front page too, the rider was a local from Springwood it seems, tragic accident no matter the circumstances.

He was training for an upcoming charity ride, the donations page for this is still active and his employer (ASI) is encouraging everyone to donate...,simones-legacy...

Muninjitsu's picture

Thanks sykesey. I feel for his wife and two young children, now without a Dad.'s picture

I've always viewed the description of motorway shoulders as "bike paths" as being politically motivated. I remember a politician comparing Sydney to London and saying how the number of km of bike path in Sydney dwarfs the km in London. When they trot out the statistics about how many km of bike paths have been built, how much of this was achieved by just removing the "bicycles prohibited" sign on the motorways?

I occasionally commute between Croydon and Girraween but would never ride the shoulder of the M4. Driving to work I see dozens of drivers texting while driving, and lunatics speeding up the shoulder during heavy traffic. There are off road cycle paths for my whole trip along the M4 but the condition west of Wentworthville is just appalling and the journey is so slow.

Be safe everyone. So sorry for the family of the cyclist.

sykesey's picture

Front page of SMH online just now...

ChopStiR's picture
BM Epic's picture

Seen him riding along hawks road all the time, i met up with him a couple of times while doing trackwork, seemed like a lovely bloke who loved bike riding, offered to help out some time, man its heartbreaking!

ChopStiR's picture

Sorry to raise an old thread but I wanted to point out that Marc's fund-raising page is short of reaching his goal of $100,000 and his intended date of ride 10th of April 2013 is just over a week away.

I'm appealing to everyone to make a donation and help Marc reach his target.

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