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Stop the carnage on the roads in Sydney's parklands

It has happened again. A crash in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park yesterday has resulted in a bike rider being placed in an induced coma in Royal North Shore Hospital—the latest in a string of troubling incidents on the roads in Sydney’s national parks.

Now in a serious but stable condition, the 51-year-old rider was struck by a station wagon driven by an 18-year-old male driver on Ku-ring-gai Chase Road, Mt Colah, north of Sydney just after 11am on Wednesday.

Images from news reports show the car on the wrong side of the road with a shattered windscreen and damaged roof on the passenger side.

Paramedics credited the quick-thinking and potentially lifesaving actions of bystanders and witnesses who rushed to the aid of the injured bike rider.  

Police are also calling for dash-cam footage or information to assist the Crash Investigation Unit. Please contact them with any information via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. 

Bicycle Network’s thoughts are with the injured man, his friends, family and the wider bike riding community during this difficult time.

Roughly 30 minutes north of the CBD, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is a popular recreational training route for many bike riders in Sydney who are keen to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

The park has also become popular with car and motorcycle enthusiasts keen to test the limits of their driving skills and their machines on the parks winding roads.

But since when is a National Park a test track for those who consciously desire to put their own lives, and those of other roads users, at risk?

The primary purpose of parkland is for the quiet enjoyment of the public engaged in active recreation, yet in both Kur-ring-Gai, and Royal National Parks there is the regular echo of the thunder of engines, and the sight of cars speeding around blind corners.

Yesterday’s crash is just another alarming incident of many in recent years.

In August 2018, NSW Police were hunting for at least three people believed to be responsible for a crude, illegally constructed speed bump.

While it’s believed that the illegal speed bump was there to slow motorcyclists and car drivers in the area, it was bike riders who became the inadvertent victims.

Back in May 2018, a female journalist, 28, test driving a luxury McLaren supercar at a press event in the same national park crashed into a person riding a bike causing them to be hospitalized with serious facial and leg injuries.

In September, she was charged with dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm, negligent driving and causing bodily harm by misconduct in charge of motor vehicle.

Alarmingly these incidents are becoming too frequent and it’s time that more is done to protect not only those who ride in the park, but also other park users including walkers, families and members of the local community.

This is not only an issue for people who ride bikes, it’s one that impacts the entire community that must be addressed swiftly before another tragedy strikes.

It is time for the NSW authorities to develop a plan to return these parks to the people for whom they were reserved for in the first place.

The public roads in Kur-ring-kai Chase and Royal are not race tracks.

Bicycle Network wants to see NSW Police and NSW National Park intervene to ensure that the rule of the law is upheld and that the parks again become place of quiet enjoyment.

As NSW National Parks says on its website:  "From outback walking tracks and coastal lookouts to picturesque campgrounds and beaches, you’ll never run out of things to do in NSW national parks."

Well, far too often drivers are running out of road, and sometimes crashing into innocent victims.

This is not good enough and it has to change.

Read more: An open letter to the media when reporting on a crash

UPDATE: Charges laid in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park crash

A teenager has been charged with multiple offences following a crash where a person riding a bike was seriously injured. 

The 18-year-old male driver of the Toyota Lexcen was charged with five offences: 

  • Dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm

  • Negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm

  • Drive in a manner dangerous to the public

  • Overtake when unsafe, and

  • Not keep left of dividing line.

The teen's P2 licence was suspended and he was granted bail to appear at Hornsby Local Court on Wednesday 16 January, 2019. 

For more, see NSW Police media.

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