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Cyclists targeted with rice on bike path

Date

John-Paul Moloney and Lucy Rickard

Rice over a bike path near the Athllon Drive-Drakeford Drive intersection. There are concerns it was deliberately put there.

Rice over a bike path near the Athllon Drive-Drakeford Drive intersection. There are concerns it was deliberately put there.

A Canberra schoolteacher has been left with several broken ribs after vandals dumped several kilograms of rice on a busy bike path.

Speaking to The Canberra Times from a hospital bed on Tuesday morning, Steve Audsley has told how his road bike slipped out from under him as it hit the rice on a bend in the path.

Mr Audsley said he was travelling at about 30km/h when his bike hit a smooth layer of uncooked rice on the path, near the intersection of Athllon and Drakeford drives in Kambah about 8.30am.

Cyclists have tried to sweep up the rice spread across the footpath.

Cyclists have tried to sweep up the rice spread across the footpath. Photo: Supplied

"I was on a bend that goes under the road, and I saw up ahead of me what looked like sand," he said.

"The front wheel has hit the sand and it's skidded out from under me."

Mr Audsley, an experienced cyclist of more than 20 years, said he had no time to react as he slammed into the railing on the side of the path, the force of the collision throwing him onto the ground and destroying his bike.

A passerby who witnessed the incident rushed to his aid as he lay on the ground in immense pain.

"I have no idea who [the passerby] was; I was in so much pain," Mr Audsley said.

"It destroyed my bike and knocked me up pretty bad. The helmet saved my head."

He said several other cyclists stopped and attempted to remove as much rice as possible from the track in a bid to prevent further accidents.

Now lying in a bed at Canberra Hospital, Mr Audsley is left with weeks of painful recovery ahead of him – as well as being thousands of dollars out of pocket for his destroyed bike.

He believes someone has targeted cyclists by dumping rice on the path, and smoothing it out evenly.

"It was just spread across the path, there was no way it could have been an accident and for it to be spread out so smoothly," he said.

"A few minutes afterwards I had a look back and there were probably about three trails through the rice."

Mr Audsley said cyclists on mountain bikes, with more traction on the tyres, may have been able to get over the rice without incident but the smooth wheels on his road bike were too slippery.

He said it wasn't until afterwards that he assessed the scene that he thought to look around for the culprit.

"Looking at the damage on the bike, I'm surprised I wasn't more badly hurt,' he said.

"I will recover: my bike will not."

The incident has been reported to ACT Policing. Officers spoke with Mr Audsley on Tuesday morning, and a spokeswoman asked any one with information about the incident to call police on 131 444.

The area has since been cleaned.

124 comments so far

  • Paranoid much? - Maybe someones shopping bag broke?

    Commenter
    TheJoker1214324
    Date and time
    March 05, 2013, 12:46PM
    • yep, people whose bag breaks usually spend time smoothing over across the path to make it look pretty.

      Commenter
      asdf
      Date and time
      March 05, 2013, 1:00PM
    • Rice doesn't come in flimsy plastic shopping bags. In comes in tough plastic packets.

      Commenter
      Devil's Advocate
      Location
      South of Heaven
      Date and time
      March 05, 2013, 1:01PM
    • actually not all rice does. some rice from supermarket comes in weakish wire mesh and from asian groeries it is normally in paper wrapping. however the smoothness is still an issue.

      Commenter
      yo123
      Date and time
      March 05, 2013, 3:13PM
    • Even if that happened, you'd think the person would have the decency to brush the rice off the path.

      Commenter
      Castles
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      March 05, 2013, 3:24PM
    • Geez maybe the wind was blowing, which made it smooth. There's very few people who would even think up the idea that a bag of rice would be a great weapon against cyclists. I certainly never would have imagined it would be any worse than sand on the track.

      I would call it the way i try to see such things: "Don't attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity", or in this case, laziness about cleaning up.

      Commenter
      Spender
      Date and time
      March 06, 2013, 9:34AM
    • I don't know that anyone would be carrying several kilograms of rice in a shopping bag. If you look at the photos you can see it is a lot of rice.

      Commenter
      kg2095
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 06, 2013, 10:03AM
    • A cyclist was deliberately sabotaged and wound up in hospital with broken ribs.

      But commenters on this site see fit to blame .... the cyclist.

      A telling indication of the prejudices that exist on our roads - and a likely cause of car/bike incidents.

      Commenter
      Mike
      Date and time
      March 06, 2013, 10:52AM
    • dropped a load along the road?

      Commenter
      Kane
      Date and time
      March 06, 2013, 11:49AM
    • No... they're not blaming the cyclist, just questioning the cyclist's assumptions.
      If a large - say, 5kg (they sell them that size in the supermarkets) - bag broke and the rice spilled over the path, the very same properties that make it slippery for the bike would help spread the rice out smoothly without any intervention at all. Don't know why someone would just leave it there, though - that's pure laziness, because it's also a pedestrian hazard.

      Commenter
      MerriD
      Date and time
      March 06, 2013, 12:31PM

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