Brisbane cyclists will be “underwhelmed” at a decision not to charge the driver of a car that ploughed into and injured five riders at West End, Bicycle Queensland chief executive officer Ben Wilson says.
Police have issued a “fail to give way when making a U-turn” notice to the 22-year-old driver who ran into the group during their weekly ride on popular cycling strip Dornoch Terrace in August.
Five cyclists, aged between 45 and 55, were taken to two Brisbane hospitals with several broken bones, concussions and internal injuries while the car was significantly damaged on impact, shattering the windscreen.
Among them was a 45-year-old woman who suffered critical head injuries and Calvin Treacy, who suffered a broken pelvis, leg, rib and collarbone and had a hole in his leg that exposed an artery after he “body-slammed” into the side of the car.
The fine for the traffic infringement issued to the driver is $378 and three demerit points.
Mr Wilson said as well as the physical scars, some of the injured were still mentally scarred and would never ride the same way.
“I don’t think they’ll be as forgiving as the police have been,” he said.
“A small infringement notice is pretty much a slap on the wrist for what was actually a catastrophically bad traffic decision of the driver.”
The driver of the car stayed at the scene, with paramedics saying they are believed to have been blinded by the sun. (ABC News: Isobel Roe)
Police said the driver hit riders in the middle of a larger group, meaning those riding behind saw the crash unfold.
The driver, who appeared distressed and was comforted at the scene by friends, told police at the time he had the morning sun in his eyes, which temporarily blinded him to the oncoming group of cyclists.
Mr Wilson said while the driver likely made a mistake, he should have been handed a harsher penalty.
“When the consequences are very high, that small action can be penalised far more harshly,” he said.
“For the fine to be simply failing to give way when making a U-turn … it doesn’t fit the outcome of what’s happened to the riders.”
Mr Wilson said since the crash he had met with Brisbane City Council to discuss what could be done to improve safety along Dornoch Terrace, which is one of the state’s top five locations for cyclist crashes.
“The council is moving and budgeting towards making changes,” he said.