A cyclist on a 1700km marathon bike ride to raise awareness of road safety has left a poignant tribute to Jason Lowndes, the man who lost his life in Mandurang before Christmas.
The metal bike dedicated to Lowndsey is not concreted into Mandurang’s soil yet. But there are hopes it will soon become a permanent memorial.
Mr Lowndes’ parents Graeme and Trudie were at Pearce Reserve on Monday, near to the place Jason was struck by a car.
They were there to support the White Bike Foundation’s Chris Savage, who is riding from Dromana to Canberra to raise awareness about the safety of road users.
A total of four memorial white bikes will be placed at or near crash sites by the time Mr Savage’s ride ended. Each would commemorate the death of a different rider.
“I believe there were about 40 cyclists killed on the road last year,” Mr Savage said.
“It’s not just the racing cyclists. It’s the kids on their pushbikes on the way to school. It’s mums and dads on their bikes. It’s people commuting.”
Every 100km of Mr Savage’s ride represents a year in the life of another promising Victorian cyclist killed on a Victorian road.
Joel Hawkins was a 17-year-old athlete struck and killed by a car during a training ride on the Mornington Peninsula in 2015.
His father, Leslie, said Mr Savage’s ride underlined an important message.
“It only takes a second for a road-user to double check they are making the safest decision for everybody,” he said.
“Life is such a vulnerable thing and the impact of a road casualty is absolutely devastating to all communities involved.”
Mr Savage said the foundation’s message would be taken into schools.
“It starts with the kids. Kids want to ride their bikes and they want to do it safely,” he said.
“It’s a big challenge to change peoples’ attitudes. You have to start young. If no-one does it then (deaths) will keep happening.”
Mr Savage’s ride is scheduled to finish on Monday 26 March at Parliament House in Canberra.
Mr Savage will speak at Braidies Tavern in Strathfieldsaye at 7pm tonight.