(From left) David Halliwell, Cameron Frewer and Stephen Small were all killed while cycling on the Sunshine Coast. Photos: John McCutcheon/Contributed
(From left) David Halliwell, Cameron Frewer and Stephen Small were all killed while cycling on the Sunshine Coast. Photos: John McCutcheon/Contributed

Three too many: Cyclist death sparks calls for change

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THE third cyclist death on the Sunshine Coast in less than four years has sparked calls for more action to improve the region's road infrastructure.

David Halliwell, 62, was killed while cycling with a friend along Steve Irwin Way last weekend.

It was a regular Saturday morning ride that ended in tragedy when the pair were hit in the rear at Landsborough.

A 21-year-old woman is assisting police with inquiries and investigations into the cause of the crash are continuing.

Mr Halliwell's death has stark similarities to that of local cycling safety advocate Cameron Frewer, who was hit and killed while riding on Caloundra Rd on November 5 last year.

Mr Frewer and Mr Halliwell were travelling the same hinterland route, were both hit from behind and both left behind a wave of grief from those who believe they deserved better. Their deaths came after the local cycling community had just come to terms with the death of Doonan man Stephen Small, who was deliberately run down by a drunk driver at Doonan in 2016.

The latest death has reignited calls for better driver behaviour on our roads, but it's also led to questions over what's being done to protect cyclists.

Bicycle Queensland advocacy and policy manager Andrew Demack said it was time for Steve Irwin Way to be made safer for vulnerable road users.

He said many cyclists used the stretch for scenic rides or to get from a to b, and it was the only option in the area.

"There's not a lot of alternatives to use," Mr Demack said.

"It's paramount that Steve Irwin Way gets some cycling facilities, at the very least wider shoulders.

"We'd prefer a bike lane that had some physical separation from the traffic."

He said the Sunshine Coast hinterland should be somewhere people felt safe and enjoyed riding their bikes.

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Mr Demack acknowledged there was plenty of safe off-road options on the Coast for cyclists, and he commended the State Government and Sunshine Coast Council for newly-implemented bikeways.

This week, the State Government announced the implementation of a Road Safety Data Bureau, which will aim to fill the "gaps" to develop a clearer understanding of the social, emotional and economic costs of road trauma.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey said reporting gaps in bike rider crashes was one of the factors behind the creation of the Road Safety Data Bureau.

"We want the road toll to be zero, and to do that means looking for new opportunities to build on and complement our current $900 million road safety program," Mr Bailey said.

"Part of that is not only encouraging more people to ride, but backing that with an action plan to ensure we build safe and welcoming bike facilities."

Mr Bailey did not comment on the cycling facilities available on Sunshine Coast hinterland routes, but said the $812 million Bruce Highway upgrade from Caloundra Rd to Sunshine Motorway would feature 9km of dedicated shared paths.

"In our last budget, the Palaszczuk Government has committed $219 million to building new bike infrastructure across Queensland over the next four years," he said.

The Sunshine Coast Council Integrated Transport Strategy prioritises safe streets and pathways with a focus on the most vulnerable users, and cycling safety is one of seven priority areas of council's Active Transport Plan.

A Sunshine Coast Council spokeswoman said council extended its sincere condolences to the family members of those who have tragically lost their lives.

"Safety is Sunshine Coast Council's top priority, and to ensure everyone commutes safely on our roads we continuously monitor the safety and operation of our transport network," she said.

"In addition to investing in infrastructure such as new pathways and on-road cycling facilities, council is committed to educating all road-users about cycling safety."

Mr Demack said it wasn't the sole responsibility of governments to keep cyclists safe on the roads.

"It's not just one factor. Lack of good infrastructure, driver attitudes and community attitudes around safety," he said. "I think we all have to have a good hard look at ourselves."