Drapac Professional Cycling’s Ben Johnson will not be on the start line at the New Zealand Cycle Classic this week after he was hit by a vehicle towing a caravan while training on the David Low Way, Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast Sunday morning.
Johnson will be replaced at the event by Dutchman Wouter Wippert who will be making his debut for the team. Johnson sustained a deep gash to his left elbow which required six stitches, as well as multiple abrasions and haematomas. He is hopeful of being back on the bike later this week.
“I am really disappointed not to be in New Zealand,” said Johnson, 31. “I was coming off some great form following the Bright training camp and Nationals and I was looking forward to racing. I had a good opportunity to get a result there and Drapac has sent a very strong team over. I’m devastated.”
Johnson is pursuing the matter through legal channels.
The incident brings to light the importance of road safety for cyclists and the work of Drapac Professional Cycling’s community partner the Amy Gillett Foundation.
Tracey Gaudry, Chief Executive of the Amy Gillett Foundation, said sharing the road safely is a two way street.
Gaudry emphasised “let’s lower the temperature – we are friends, family, workmates, strangers sharing our great environment. Everyone has the right to ride, walk or drive in safety.
“Placing safety in our consciousness immediately changes the way we interact with others and use shared spaces. It’s important to remember we’re sharing the road with people, a moment of distraction or frustration can have potentially fatal consequences,” said Ms Gaudry.
“Queensland will soon implement trial legislation requiring drivers to leave at least a metre when overtaking bike riders. Clarity about the space bike riders need for improved safety while maintaining an efficient road system for everyone is long overdue,” Gaudry concluded.