Riding on highways is deadly for cyclists
CYCLING on Queensland's highways is a deadly activity - and the Bruce and Kennedy Hwys top the list for bicycle rider deaths.
An analysis of 15 years of Queensland Government crash data has revealed almost 5000 people were hospitalised or killed on Queensland roads between 2001 and 2016.
The government data shows 145 bicycle riders have been killed on Queensland roads and 4788 people were hospitalised after crashes involving bicycles.
The Bruce Hwy and north Queensland's Kennedy Hwy are the two deadliest roads for cyclists in the state. But most fatal crashes involving a bicycle occurred on local roads.
Bicycle riders can ride on a highway unless signs say otherwise.
The state's top cyclist and motorist groups have both called for more bikeways to be installed when highways are upgraded and for cyclists and motorists to share the road safely.
Bicycling Queensland CEO Ben Wilson said bicycle riders needed to prioritise their safety.
"I'm always shocked that the predominant of most people's riding attire is black. It's just nuts," he said.
"Then you'll notice people riding on a $5000 bike in the morning or evening without a light."
Mr Wilson said more bikeways needed to be built to keep riders safe. He praised the construction of bikeways alongside the Pacific and Ipswich Motorways.
RACQ spokeswoman Lauren Ritchie said separate bicycle infrastructure should be built alongside any new or upgraded highway.
But she said the cost of building a bikeway the length of some of the state's major trade routes, such as the Bruce Hwy, was prohibitive.
"The safest approach would be to have cyclists in a lane of their own that is fenced off or in a separate bikeway," she said.
"But that's a very expensive exercise - especially on something like the Bruce Hwy."
Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey said every road death was a "sober reminder" that safety needs to be prioritised.
"We know that crashes involving bicycles are more likely to be fatal at higher speeds, however the majority of deaths occur on lower speed limit roads of 60kmh or less," he said.
"Every death on our roads is one too many and these statistics are a sober reminder that we all need to think safety first."
Mr Bailey said the government was spending $162 million over four years to improve dedicated bicycle infrastructure.
"This infrastructure includes bike lanes, off-road shared paths and other provisions like wide shoulders on rural roads," he said.
Ms Ritchie urged motorists to take care around bicycle riders and remember who was more vulnerable if a crash occurred.
"We would urge all motorists to give room to cyclists," she said.
"We're all in this together."
But Mr Wilson said some drivers had a poor attitude towards any cyclist.
"People will stop for a family of ducks, but if some people see a bike rider on the road their initial reaction is one of anger," he said.
"That could be someone training for the Commonwealth Games, or even just a 50-year-old trying to get into shape."