Six cyclists have been admitted to hospital after being hit by a car while travelling along Southern Cross Drive on Sunday morning.
Four of the cyclists have been taken to St Vincent's Hospital and are being treated for various injuries, including head, limb, and suspected spinal injuries, according to NSW Police. The other two cyclists have been taken to St George Hospital. The injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
Meanwhile, the driver of the Nissan sports utility vehicle has been taken to the Prince of Wales Hospital for a mandatory check-up.
The car believed to have collided with cyclists. Photo: John Sunde via Twitter
The male driver, aged in his 20s, is being questioned by Botany Bay police. They say it is ‘‘too early’’ to determine the specific circumstances of the incident.
The crash closed the city-bound lanes of the motorway for several hours. One lane has since been re-opened, however conditions are ‘‘extremely congested’’ and police are warning drivers to avoid the area if possible.
Witness photographs of the scene show the vehicle’s front window had been smashed, while mangled bicycles littered the road. John Sunde posted the photos to Twitter with the caption ‘‘This SO wrong and unavoidable thoughts go to all Easts riders injured on Southern X D’’.
The metropolitan crash investigation unit will be looking into the incident, alongside Botany Bay police. The team is being led by Inspector William Darnell.
The incident, which occurred at 8.30am on Sunday morning, closed the city-bound lanes of the motorway for several hours. One lane has since been reopened, but conditions are ‘‘extremely congested’’ and police are warning drivers to avoid the area if possible.
Police are appealing for all witnesses to come forward and assist with investigations.
Call for bike lanes
The six cyclists belonged to the Eastern Suburbs Cycling Club, which has been lobbying the state government for bike lanes along the busy motorway for years.
‘‘This was an accident waiting to happen,’’ club director Frank Conceicao told Fairfax Media.
‘‘We’ve been telling the government for ages that this stretch of road needs bike lanes, but we’ve continually been ignored. It’ll take someone being killed before they do anything about it.’’
The group was taking its usual Sunday morning ride from Dolls Point to Centennial Park.
Mr Conceicao was planning on joining this morning’s ride but turned back at the last minute. He says the busy freeway is the only available route for cyclists between the Eastern Suburbs and South Sydney.
"The government treats cyclists like we don’t matter and like our road safety isn’t important - and that’s when incidents like this occur," Mr Conceicao said.
Bike safety groups are hoping the accident will spark discussion with the state and federal governments around improving cycle-centric infrastructure and road safety education.
A spokesperson for the Amy Gillett Foundation, which strongly advocates the ‘‘a metre matters’’ campaign, says it is important to address driver behaviours to improve cyclist safety. In particular, they are fighting for penalties for drivers who breach the one-metre distance rule.
‘‘It’s not about giving drivers a hard time, it’s about changing the behaviour around interacting with cyclists on the road,’’ spokesperson Sean Sampson said.
‘‘Similar to a speeding fine, it would act as a measure to make drivers more aware of their responsibilities on the road. After all, one metre can be the difference between life and death.’’