Big Ride will drive campaign for safety
The big Canberra Bike Ride 2011. Photo: Karleen Minney
MORE than 1500 cyclists are expected at the Big Canberra Bike Ride in a fortnight, an event which could fund a $50,000 bike safety campaign
Organisers said it could be the largest gathering of cyclists in the ACT's history at a time when there are more than three crashes every week between bikes and other vehicles.
The latest figures being finalised by Roads ACT are expected to show there were 174 on-road crashes between bikes and vehicles in 2012, compared to 205 in 2011, and 170 in 2010.
The gathering of cyclists on Sunday, March 3, will also be known as Amy's Ride, in memory of Amy Gillett, the Australian track cyclist killed after a collision with a car during a training ride in Germany in 2005.
A friend of the Gillett family, Canberra cyclist Rod Katz, has taken part in most of the Amy's Ride events across Australia since their inception and will again pull on the Lycra in two weeks.
Despite close to 200 collisions a year between bikes and other vehicles, he said the territory could become a beacon for cycle safety.
''Canberra is not yet Europe (in terms of bike safety) but we are setting the standard for the rest of Australia,'' Mr Katz said.
He is a council member of the Pedal Power lobby group and sits on the Amy Gillett Foundation board.
His daughter, Jo, was a flower girl at Amy Gillett's wedding and, during what Mr Katz described as the ''worst five days of his life'', he travelled to Germany with Amy's husband Simon Gillett to collect the cyclist's body after the accident.
''Cycle safety is a measure of a society's cultural advancement,'' he said.
According to Mr Katz, who has also researched why people ride bikes, lack of safety is the No. 1 reason people do not cycle.
For the 2013 Big Canberra Bike Ride, organisers have listened to feedback and secured more closed roads as well as a quieter, family route of 20-35 kilometres.
There will be two other routes of 68 kilometres and 110 kilometres.
It costs $80 for a family and starts at 8.30am near Old Parliament House.