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BOLLARDS BLAMED FOR BIKE INJURIES

The Geelong Advertiser: BOLLARDS BLAMED FOR BIKE INJURIES

Alex Oates

December 31st, 2009

AN Ocean Grove man whose son suffered extensive facial injuries in a collision with a metal bollard has demanded authorities remove the same barriers from a popular tourist spot.

John O’Reilly has called Barwon Coast to clear away two bollards, which he described as an "accident waiting to happen" on a pathway at Ocean Grove’s Lookout Reserve.

Mr O’Reilly’s plea comes almost seven years after his son Billie suffered serious neck injuries in a cycling accident in Melbourne.

Billie, then 24, was riding around Albert Park Lake when he careered into the metal barriers, smashing several teeth.

He also suffered severe bruising to the side of his neck and jaw.

"He took it to court and won his case against Parks Victoria and the City of Port Phillip but that’s not the point," Mr O’Reilly said.

"They (Barwon Coast) have to think about different ways of slowing bikes down. They’ve put up signs saying ’changed conditions’, and that’s fine, but we all know kids ride their bikes at night and it’s dangerous.

"These bollards are at the perfect height to hit a child in the head or neck."

Bicycle Victoria is running a campaign to have bollards removed statewide.

"Bicycle Victoria does not support the use of bollards or gates at entrances to cycling and shared paths. Too many people have been injured - sometimes seriously - by these obstacles," a statement on the website reads.

"However, Barwon Coast general manager Bob Jordan said the authority had reviewed VicRoads Cycle notes and the Bicycle Victoria documents and deemed the new barriers, installed on Christmas Eve, safe.

"The chicane has been put in to slow down cyclists on the downhill section because of the interaction of riders and pedestrians," Mr Jordan said.

"We’ve received a number of positive comments from pedestrians and ladies with prams who’ve said it’s improved the safety of the area. And since we’ve received John’s email, we’ve placed warning signs near the chicane to say there’s been a change in the path."

Mr Jordan said Barwon Coast would also place additional reflective tape on the bollards.