Injured doctor calls for safer cycleways

A doctor who was seriously injured when he was run down while cycling through Cottesloe late last year is leading the push to make Perth's streets safer for cyclists.

Craig Pennell, an obstetrician and associate professor at the University of WA, who competes in cycling at an international level, was hit by a car three times last year.

Only his bike was damaged in the first two incidents, but he had 18 rib fractures, a shattered shoulder and a collapsed lung in a crash on Marine Parade in October.

Dr Pennell, who returned to work last week after three months of recovery, said all three crashes had been a motorist's fault.

He has launched a project called Cyclesafe WA and last month met Road Safety Minister Liza Harvey's office and the Office of Road Safety to call for more education of motorists and cyclists about their rights on the road.

"It all began about eight months ago when I noted that of the 50 people my coach trains, four of us had been hit by a car in a 12-month period in separate incidents," Dr Pennell said.

"All four incidents were 100 per cent the motorist's fault and in my first accident the person actually drove away."

Dr Pennell said it was not surprising that people chose not to cycle because they were afraid of cars, with statistics showing a significant increase in the number of cyclists dying on Australian roads.

"Most worryingly, at a public health level, is the number of people riding their bikes has dropped 20 per cent," he said.

"What we want to do is just use every means possible to make this a safe place to ride.

"We have beautiful weather and it's a perfect place for people to commute to work."

Dr Pennell said a petition had been placed at cafes and bicycle shops around Perth to gather support for improved cyclist safety.

He said they were pushing for more investment in education to update motorists and cyclists on their rights on WA roads and to help develop a culture of tolerance for cyclists.


The West Australian

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