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Cyclist critical after truck collision

A man in his early 30s is in hospital with severe injuries after he was run over by a semi-trailer while cycling along Exhibition Street this morning.

PT0M44S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-297tc 620 349

A man in his early 30s is in hospital with severe injuries after he was run over by a semi-trailer while cycling along Exhibition Street on Monday morning.

The truck driver did not stop, but is not expected to be charged by police, who say it appears he was unaware he had run the man over.

‘‘It appears a cyclist, riding parallel with a truck heading north on Exhibition Street, has been struck by the back wheels of the truck about 9.35am,’’ the police said in a statement.

A semi-trailer driver failed to stop when a cyclist was hit this morning, witnesses say.

A semi-trailer driver failed to stop when a cyclist was hit this morning, witnesses say. Photo: Adam Carey

‘‘The truck driver, apparently unaware of the incident, continued on to a CBD construction site. A witness was able to note down the details of the truck to assist police.

‘‘Police have made contact with the driver who has assisted them with their inquiries and at this stage it appears no charges will be laid. The 31-year-old Glen Iris cyclist was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital in a critical but stable condition.’’

The cyclist has injuries to his chest, abdomen and pelvis, a spokesman for Ambulance Victoria said.

Tom Hester, a witness, was standing on the footpath near the corner of Exhibition and Little Collins streets when he saw the cyclist disappear beneath the truck’s wheels.

Mr Hester said the rider got squeezed between the truck and a parked car and ‘‘the truck basically ate him up’’.

‘‘As he moved off at the lights he was sucked under the semi, three wheels rolled over him and his head was smashed to the ground,’’ Mr Hester said.

The man’s helmet lay crushed in pieces on the side of the road.

‘‘That helmet saved him, that’s what’s left over,’’ Mr Hester said, pointing to the wrecked helmet. ‘‘If it wasn’t on he’d be dead.’’

Paramedics and police were at the crash scene within minutes. The man was placed on a stretcher and taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital, breathing but unconscious.

Following the crash, cycling advocates have called for better management of truck traffic around the city.
No traffic management plan exists for trucks in Melbourne’s city centre.

Bicycle Network Victoria’s Garry Brennan said truck traffic plans ought to be put in place for all large construction sites in the CBD.

‘‘The real issue is with construction vehicles,’’ Mr Brennan said. ‘‘On large construction jobs there needs to be a traffic management plan where drivers are told to be aware of cyclists’ presence.

‘‘In Melbourne, where there’s a large amount of construction, you can’t just ban trucks from the city, so you’ve got to manage them very carefully,’’ Mr Brennan said.

Mr Brennan said today’s crash did not indicate that Exhibition Street was unsafe for cyclists, as there was no pattern of regular crashes along there.

But the Melbourne Bicycle Users’ Group, which advocates for improved cycling conditions in the city, said bike riders were poorly catered for on Exhibition Street, and that the Melbourne City Council’s proposed peak-hour bicycle lanes were inadequate.

Currently Exhibition Street has no bicycle lanes, but the council plans to install peak-hour bike lanes along part of it by mid-next year.

‘‘What’s proposed for Exhibition Street wouldn’t have helped this cyclist,’’ BUG spokesman Nik Dow said.

‘‘Local and state governments have to show the political will to provide adequate conditions for cyclists. The Exhibition Street lanes will be as ineffective as the William Street peak-hour lanes are now – part-time, painted white lines disrespected by cars.’’