Cyclists hit elderly pedestrians on Bay bridge

Elderly pedestrians are sick of being “smacked” by bad-mannered adult cyclists on the Clyde River bridge at Batemans Bay.

An 85-year-old Surfside man was hurt on Wednesday after a bike struck him and the rider then failed to stop.

Bevan Manwaring can add to that incident his other “close shaves”, a direct hit a year ago on his wife Norma, two collisions that injured his friend and neighbour John Roberts and a “bump” to Mr Roberts’ wife Jenny.

Mr Manwaring no longer drives but, still liking to eat, walks across the bridge with his wife for groceries.

“We have no choice,” he said.

On Wednesday, “we were walking across the bridge and there were about six cyclists coming towards us and they just kept on going, they never even slowed down”.

“The first one hit me, a woman riding a bike with wide handlebars.”

The rider shouted an apology, “but she did not pull up”.

Mr Manwaring said he “was too busy cursing” to estimate her age, but Norma believes she was in her 40s.

Mr Manwaring sustained a cut and says his skin no longer heals quickly.

“I would like people to be a bit civil,” he said. “They don’t care, they just plough straight ahead.”

Norma says she has regularly had to “dive out of the way” - no mean feat at the age of 81.

“About 12 months ago someone flew past, knocked me and put a big bruise on my arm,” she said.

“They come behind you and say, ‘bikes’, or ‘move over the other side’. That is very rude. It is not so easy, I am pretty wobbly on my feet. 

“I don’t mind them riding if they take care or slow down, but most think they have the right of way and just tear on.”

She says the manners of school children, in contrast, are very good.

“They stop, pull to the side and let you pass.”

Mr Roberts has suffered a stroke, a double knee replacement and has Parkinsons disease, but following his doctor’s orders to walk is proving life-threatening on and near the bridge.

“I got skittled a good one a couple of years ago,” he said. “I got knocked over and lost skin. Another time, someone pushed me over at the other end into a ditch.”

“He really does not need another smack with a bike,” said Mrs Roberts.

The couples don’t blame all cyclists, but say some don’t seem to care. 

Mr Roberts thinks warning postie bells might work, but his wife wants either a wider path or a separate cycleway.

“This bridge was built for pedestrian access, not for bikes,” she said.

“There are too many incidents and it is not wide enough for both. Even someone with a pram creates difficulties. It is barely wide enough for two people.” 

Mrs Roberts said she had to arrange for carers to escort her husband across the bridge after the incidents and said injuries to the elderly had serious consequences.

“Even a bump is dangerous, if they are fragile they can finish up with an ulcer and that can be the end of their freedom,” she said.

Mrs Roberts said many of their neighbours were elderly, did not drive and relied on walking to remain healthy and independent.

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