Cyclist urges drivers to take more care after long-lasting injuries

When Jovian Haidle was hit by a car while riding his road bike at Caloundra eight months ago, he never expected his injuries would continue impacting his life in such a dramatic way.

The Currimundi father of two was thrown over the car bonnet causing him to land on the roadway after the driver failed to give way to him while attempting to turn across The Esplanade into Bulcock Beach carpark on 1 November last year.

He suffered a head knock, spinal injury including a disc prolapse, joint swelling, finger injury, pain in his hands, wrists, knees, elbows, shoulders and back.

“I suffered from headaches, reduced energy and nausea. You would never think one accident like this could change your ability to live the life you were living before,” Mr Haidle said.

“I had suffered concussion and neck injuries in the past while playing football. I didn’t see the accident as a big thing at the time but it’s resulted in long and lingering effects. I’m not the same person. I’m worried about what the longer-term consequences of this are going to be.”

The 39-year-old underwent 12 weeks of physio and could not physically compete or participate in upcoming mountain bike trail or racing events.

“At the time of the crash I had been training for months, for a four-hour mountain bike trail race. My local bike shop Hit Bikes Caloundra had sponsored me and everything. I tried to compete in the race and couldn’t complete it. I was in far too much pain. I was absolutely shattered. It has been difficult at times when I have really wanted to get back on the bike. I haven’t had the intensity or energy to train let alone to compete competitively,” he said.

Still recovering and hoping to ride competitively again one day, Mr Haidle said drivers needed to respect that cyclists were people too, with loved ones and families.

“You read negative comments people write about cyclists online. A good message for them is that if your child has a bike, they’re actually a cyclist too. That’s one thing lots of people forget. People need to remember we are all human, no one needs to lose their life on the road and we all deserve to get home safely,” he said.

“That cyclist you are passing on the road is someone’s brother, son, mother or father.

So relax, take your time, concentrate on driving, give way and look before you go to turn your vehicle. A few seconds or minutes added to your day in traffic could be the difference between someone living or dying.”

Slater and Gordon Senior Associate Nicola Thompson, who is representing Mr Haidle in a motor vehicle accident claim against the driver’s CTP insurer, said cyclists were some of the most vulnerable road users.

“Drivers need to really look out for cyclists, especially now that we are seeing more people on the roads cycling for fitness and health reasons. If you are knocked off your bike by a car, you really don’t stand much of a chance walking away unscathed,” Ms Thompson said.

“It’s best to seek legal advice as soon as possible if you’ve been injured on your bike, to understand your options and benefits that may be available to you to cover your medical bills, treatment and potential loss of wages or pain and suffering as a result of permanent injury.”

Ms Thompson said accidents like this were a good reminder that motorists must leave a gap of at least 1m between their vehicle and bicycle riders when passing if the speed limit is 60km/h or under.

“We are seeing more cyclists injured on the roads than in previous years and it shouldn’t be this way. We all have a role to play in keeping one another safe on the roads,” she said.

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