Cyclists out to educate drivers
THE champion cyclist was partaking in an afternoon ride along Bargara Road in October of 2002 when a speeding car struck his bike and sent him flying through the air for 25 metres.
“I can’t remember a thing,” he said. “I suppose it’s probably for the best.”
The car swerved from the opposite lane to overtake a vehicle ahead and lost control hitting Delaney at 130kmh on the edge of the road.
Delaney, 44, hit the windscreen and was hurled into the air landing in a tangled heap of more than 100 broken bones.
Bundaberg paramedics later told him his heart stopped and it took two shots of adrenalin to revive him.
“I was in a bad, bad way,” he said. “It’s a bit of a medical miracle. The doctor said if I wasn’t so fit and healthy from the cycling I wouldn’t have stood a chance.”
Delaney has now joined with other Coral Isle Cycling members and enthusiasts from the Bundaberg Cycling Club and Mad Cycologists to promote a new joint initiative, A Metre Matters Bundaberg.
The initiative aims to educate motorists that when it comes to road safety a single metre can mean the difference between life and death.
“If there isn’t that buffer there, a little mistake can quickly become a big mistake,” he said.
Delaney hopes the campaign will stamp out the dangerous and aggressive driving of local motorists and promote harmony between drivers and riders on the region’s roads.
“I’ve been to hell and back,” Delaney said. “I don’t want anyone else to have to go through what I’ve been through.”
After a painful and lengthy rehabilitation process Delaney has fought his way back into the saddle of his beloved racer, but still bears the physical and psychological scars of the accident.
Every moment of his life up until the accident was wiped from his memory. His first recollection was looking at his reflection from a wheelchair in a hospital bathroom 53 days after the accident.
He awoke from a coma in a world full of strangers with no memory of his ex-wife, his children – James and Mary-Ella – his friends or his parents.
“I’m never going to get back to 100%. I’m never going to lead a normal life, but it is getting easier,” he said.
Delaney said as the sport of cycling has risen in popularity in Bundaberg, driver education had become increasingly important.
“Tail-gating, aggression and dangerous driving are a reality for cyclists on Bundaberg roads.
“We need to change people’s perceptions and make sure motorists keep a safe distance.”
A Metre Matters Bundaberg representatives yesterday met with local member Jack Dempsey and Bundaberg Regional Council sport and recreation spokesperson, Cr Lynne Forgan.
The group will liaise with Bundaberg Police, Queensland Department of Transport and schools to launch an awareness campaign.