Cyclists targeted with rice on bike path
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. 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.