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Focus on cyclists' habits

Cairns.com.au: Focus on cyclists’ habits

Jennifer Eliot
Monday, February 1, 2010
© The Cairns Post

THE risks and habits of regional and rural cyclists will be investigated by Atherton doctor Gayle Sticher in a bid to curb the number of deaths and accidents on country roads.

More than 200 cyclists are admitted to Cairns Base Hospital every year with the Far North last year recording two cycling deaths and three serious accidents requiring long-term hospitalisation.

In January 2009, Cairns doctor Hossam El-Shazly, 38, was killed at the Trinity Beach roundabout on the Captain Cook Highway when his bicycle and a truck collided.

It was followed by the death of Mareeba woman Suzanne Daniel.

The 55-year-old was killed instantly in a hit-and-run on the Kennedy Highway, 4km south of Mareeba, in late April 2009 while riding a bike to Yuruga Nursery.

Queensland University of Technology’s Centre of Accident research and Road Safety has launched an online survey to study bicycle use and the injury risks faced by different cycling groups.

QUT researcher Dr Gayle Sticher said there was a large cycling population outside southeast Queensland and while the risks of riding in rural areas were different from city cyclists, they were just as important.

"We might have a smaller population of commuter riders but we do have a lot of people who cycle for fitness and sport," she said.

"Riding on rural roads comes with inherent risks. You may be sharing with vehicles going 100km/h or riding where road conditions are very poor."

Dr Sticher said cyclist numbers had increased dramatically in the past few years everywhere in Queensland but most knowledge about cycling use and injury patterns pre-dates the cycling boom.