A cyclist is being remembered as a “champion” after he died in a freak accident on Newcastle’s new light rail track.
Danny Egan, 51, had been watching the State of Origin with friends on Wednesday night when he made the fatal decision to cycle home.
As he was attempting to cross tram lines at the intersection of Pacific and Scott streets in the city’s east about 10.30pm, his bike wheel slipped into the track, causing him to fall and suffer horrific head injuries.
Passers-by tried to help Mr Egan before emergency services arrived. He was taken to John Hunter Hospital but later died.
Friends have posted tributes to the father of three on the Facebook page for Ride for the Chopper, an annual fundraising event to raise money for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service which Mr Egan was heavily involved in.
“All of us at the Ride for the Chopper are deeply saddened to hear of the tragic passing or our good friend and fellow rider,” a post on the page said.
“Danny rode with us for many years, and was always happy to share his knowledge of riding and a good laugh with anyone.
“Rarely seen without a smile – his infectious personality, constant encouragement and love of pies will live on in our ride forever.
“Whenever we ride we will think of you Danny, and we know that you will be there riding right alongside us.”
Another friend also shared her condolences on social media.
“God bless U luv. U really was a champion (sic),” she said.
Warning over dangers of light rail tracks
The Newcastle Light Rail only opened in February and cyclists and pedestrians are being urged to stay safe around the tracks.
A Transport for NSW spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia in a statement safety was the number one priority for all road users.
“Our sincere condolences and thoughts are with the gentleman’s family and friends at this time, and with members of the public who witnessesed the incident and came to the man’s aid,” the spokesperson said.
Cyclists are advised to cross tracks at an angle but should dismount if that’s not possible.
They are also urged not to ride along the track, to use shared pathways where possible and to be aware tracks are slippery when wet.
“A comprehensive safety messaging campaign, including cyclist safety, was carried out during Newcastle Light Rail construction and start of operations,” the spokesperson said.
“Comprehensive signage alerting cyclists to their proximity to the Newcastle light rail corridor has been in place since late 2018.”
Police are investigating the incident.
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