Mother fined for cyclist's 'car-door' death

Paul Dowsley

A mother who sent a cyclist under the wheels of a truck when she opened her car door in his path has been fined over his death.

Alberto Paulon, a 25-year-old chef, died while riding down Sydney Road with his fiancé, Christina.

She says no punishment will bring him back, but cyclists believe the driver's penalty is far too lenient.

Alberto Paulon with his fiancee, Christina. Mr Paulo died in a cycling accident in February.
Alberto Paulon with his fiancee, Christina. Mr Paulo died in a cycling accident in February.

In February, Alberto Paulon was riding to work with his fiancé just a metre in front, about to pass Christine Savic who was sitting in her car.

The Melbourne Magistrates' Court heard Ms Savic, of Coburg, looked for cyclists in her side mirror as she went to get out, but only saw Alberto's fiancé, so she waited for that bike to pass and then opened her door.

That action sent Mr Paulon under the back tyres of a passing truck, killing him instantly.

The scene where Alberto Paulon was killed when a car door being opened, knocked him under the tyres of a passing truck.
The scene where Alberto Paulon was killed when a car door being opened, knocked him under the tyres of a passing truck.

Magistrate Brian Clifford fined Ms Savic $1000 for what he described as an "unintended catastophic outcome".

Her remorse was reflected in a heartbreaking letter she wrote to Alberto's fiancé.

"I cannot begin to comprehend the pain, sadness and heartache you have experienced. For that, I am truly sorry," she wrote.

Christine Savic outside Melbourne Magistrates' Court. Photo: 7News
Christine Savic outside Melbourne Magistrates' Court. Photo: 7News

Ed Hore from the Australian Cycle Alliance said he was “flabbergasted” at the fine imposed on Ms Savic.

“$1000 is how much Alberto's life was worth… Without proper penalties there is no incentive to look out for another human being,” he said.

But Alberto's fiancé does not share that anger. She told 7News that, while she was still suffering, she knew it was an accident and no fine would bring him back.

Vicroads has made Sydney Road a ‘40 zone’ and painted warnings but Moreland Mayor Sam Ratnam wants more.

“We would like to see a separated cycling lane on Sydney Road,” she said.

Tributes are laid close to the site where Alberto Paulon died.
Tributes are laid close to the site where Alberto Paulon died.

“Utlimately separation is the most appropriate, the safest option you can get, and it takes some time,” said Vince Punaro from VicRoads.

“There is no commitment to a grander plan at this point,” he said.

“I'd like them to act much more quickly,” said Mayor Ratnam.