Folks, I saw a sobering sight yesterday at the park on the corner of the Esplanade and Whyte Street, Somerton Park. A cyclist went to ground, falling over his handlebars and landing hard on his back and head. His helmet split in three places at the back.

Whilst he didn't have any obvious scratches or blood, he was stunned, and when he sat up it became obvious that he had lost his short term memory. Hopefully it was just concussion and not brain injury, but I'm not sure. I stayed with him and insisted that he go to hospital for scans. He didn't want to get an ambulance, but he agreed to call his wife and allow her to drive him to hospital.

Given the force of the impact, and the damage to the rear of his helmet, I'm certain that he would have suffered extremely traumatic head injuries if he wasn't wearing a helmet, even though he was riding slowly when he went down. 

Here's why it happened

  • there are roadworks on that section of The Esplanade, and pedestrians and cyclists are being detoured through the park
  • there's temporary fencing right around the roadworks, including right alongside a path in the park which cyclists use as the detour
  • there's a long banner (advertising the construction company) on the fence, affixed along its top edge
  • when the wind flows, the banner blows inwards across the path
  • there are little holes with flaps on the banner, to allow the wind to pass through, and these holes are a hazard for cyclists. Handlebars catch in them. 

The cyclist who went down was travelling fairly slowly, and when his handlebars caught in the banner hole, his bike came to a sudden stop and he went flying across his handlebars. A second cyclist (a young woman) became caught about 20 minutes after the first guy, but luckily she stayed on her bike. 

I've reported this hazard to the Holdfast Bay Council. 

The lessons for me from this incident are:

  • Helmets can save your life! Sure, we may get more people on bikes (eg women who don't want helmet hair, or people who ride very short distances) if helmets were non-compulsory, but I'd always to choose to wear one. 
  • Brain injuries can happen very easily. 
  • Detours for cyclists around roadworks are often thought through very poorly, unlike detours for motorists.

Protect your noggins, people!


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I was there yesterday and on the northerly ride from Seacliff to Glenelg we followed the car detour which was a lot better (roads all the way) but coming back we went through the park.  Not a great idea.

If you are riding there, I'd recommend taking the same detour as the cars and avoiding the park completely.

Agreed - the Council have left a walkway open, not a bike path - a quick look at the path and some common sense  would suggest that following the detour would be much safer (and take no longer)

Hope he is OK. 

I broke my thumb and a rib after clipping a poorly placed roadworks sign on a bend. + wrote-off my bike. It wasn't entirely their (the workmens) fault, but the position of the sign certainly contributed. Detours for cyclists can take a less-than-ideal route, and there needs to be more thought by authorities.

I hope the council has taken away that banner with the wind holes in it by now.  So many hazards out there.  I have recently been walking along this detour and found it is rather dangerous at the moment with the cyclists and the walkers coming onto and leaving this little track.

My impression is that the construction company is at fault.

Austroads 'Guide to Traffic Engineering Practice: Part 14 – Bicycles'
pages 147, 149: Appendix B
Signing and Delineation of Works
The signing and delineation of construction and maintenance works on roads and footpaths should be performed in accordance with Australian Standard AS 1742.3 and any relevant local codes of practice and regulations. In general, provision for works on paths should be made in accordance with the principles of these standards. Additional consideration of cyclists should be made in accordance with the details set out below.
Provision for cyclists on roads should be made in the following circumstances:
– where bicycle lanes exist;
– arterial roads.
Where containment fences are used, to avoid catching the pedals of cyclists the fence should be set back from paths used by cyclists by at least 0.3m. In the case of mesh fencing particular care is needed to ensure it remains tightly stretched and that it is supported regularly along its length.

AS 1742.3 – Australian Standard – Manual of uniform traffic control devices – Part 3: Traffic control for works on roads

Workzone Traffic Management Frequently Asked Questions

I'm inclined to agree with you, Heather. 

you certainly dont want to be an inpatient in a head / brain injury unit.....

Could people please stop reminding me that this game is bloody dangerous? It's scary enough with my skill level without the end result appearing on the forum every second day (in a slow week)

Richard, reasons for such posts could include:
-- Let people know of an accident that might even involve an AC member.
-- Be aware of this hazard.
-- A reminder for some to wear a helmet, and correctly.
-- A breach of a regulation and report to authorities.
-- Inform cyclists of their rights for future reference, if ever needed.

Bicycle SA has been running lessons for those new to commuting, although I do not think that is you.

And runs them too!


Sorry Lee-Anne that your work slipped my mind. I did include you in my info for Prospect Council to prepare a submission for a TravelSmart grant.

.....head/brain injuries are my occupation before the cycling....been in this area of rehabilitation for many years now.....everyday is a reminder for me yet still out there cycling :)


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