Recently we told you about the cycling remembrance memorial at Woronora Cemetery in Sydney's south. Graham Boyd, CEO for the Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust has followed up to tell us about the opening event;
Ron Doolan’s death was a tragedy, not just for our Park, but for his family, who could never have suspected something like this would happen to their husband and father. We hope our memorial to riders like Ron will call attention to cycling safety in our community and that more drivers and cyclists will be aware of just how easy it can be, to seriously injure or even kill a cyclist, who has limited protection.
Determined to give cyclists and their families a special place of remembrance, Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust NSW chief executive officer Graham Boyd and his team began work on the “la Madonna del Ghisallo” Cycling Remembrance Memorial.
The Cycling Remembrance Memorial is named after the patron saint of cyclists, la Madonna del Ghisallo and is the first of its kind for a major cemetery in Australia – a place dedicated to honouring the fallen riders.
“In some parts of the world, like the United States, a ‘ghost bike’ – a road bike painted white – is placed near the scene of the accident,” Mr Boyd said.
“But there are no permanent, publicly listed memorials for cyclists in this country,” he said.
The Sydney Morning Herald covered the event by citing the dangers of cycling on NSW' roads.
New Australian research published in Accident Analysis and Prevention last month found 16 per cent of all drivers drove dangerously close to cyclists. That number rose to 34 per cent of drivers on curved roads and those without bike paths.
Cars must give cyclists at least a metre of space when passing in speed zones of 60km/h or below, and 1.5 metres in higher speed zones, under changes introduced in 2016.
Cycling groups claim not enough has been done to educate the public or enforce the safe-passing rules. Side-swipe collisions account for 14 per cent of cyclist fatalities, and passing too close is the most common type of crash, according to the Queensland research paper.
Only 70 NSW motorists have been fined for driving too close to cyclists in the two years since the safe-passing rules were introduced in March 2016, NSW Police said. But about 10,000 drivers are charged with dangerous or negligent driving each year, and many of the fines applied to those driving too close to cyclists, police said.
A special cycling memorial will be unveiled in Woronora Memorial Park tomorrow as a tribute to all people who have died while riding a bike.
The memorial was inspired by the tragic death of Ron Doolan while riding his bike in the Woronora Memorial Park, last November.
Giving people who ride bikes and their families a special place of remembrance, the “la Madonna del Ghisallo” Cycling Remembrance Memorial has been named after the patron saint of cyclists.
It is the first permanent, publicly listed memorial of its kind in Australia.