Memorial ride boosts cyclist safety

Cyclist in action during the weekend’s Amy’s Gran Fondo, which honours the late Amy Gillett, inset.

COLAC Cycling Club secretary Clare Jehu says a charity cycling race at the weekend has helped make cyclists safer.

Ms Jehu said Amy’s Gran Fondo, a 120-kilometre race from Lorne through the Otways, was a “fantastic” way to encourage cyclists and motorists to share the road safely.

“It brings awareness that the roads need to be safe for everybody, cyclists included,” she said.

The Amy Gillett Foundation started the race to raise road safety awareness after Mrs Gillett died when an out-of-control car hit her in Germany in 2005.

Melbourne rider Tom Leaper won the Gran Fondo, clocking in at 2.52.36, 28-seconds ahead of Melbourne’s David Kelly.

Ballarat’s Rhys Gillett finished third, while Melbourne’s Miranda Griffiths was the first woman to finish the race, 42nd overall.

About 3800 people raced in the Gran Fondo, while a further 200 contested a 40-kilometre Medio Fondo and 150 competed in a 14-kilometre Piccolo Fondo.

Sydney’s Anthony Levi won the Medio Fondo in 1.08.42, followed by Melbourne’s Kelland O’Brien in second-place and Daniel Frawley in third.

Amy Gillett Foundation spokesman David Lee said the event raised more than $90,000 that the charity would put towards its goal of reducing cyclist fatalities to zero.

“The profile of this event allows us to create increased awareness about our cause and our vision and mission about trying to reduce serious incidents to bike riders,” he said.

Mr Lee said the riders’ behaviour was good, with all riders receiving a safety briefing before the race.

“It’s been a very safe event yet again, which is the primary intention,” he said.

Mr Lee said the Gran Fondo allowed cyclists to experience “one of the best coastlines in the country” in closed-road conditions.

“It’s an opportunity for riders to experience Tour-de-France-like conditions,” he said.

Ms Jehu said the Gran Fondo was an opportunity for amateur cyclists to experience a professional set-up and to take in “beautiful scenery”.

“It’s great to be able to get onto those roads and use them without sharing them with cars,” she said.

“We support it and encourage our riders to ride it.”

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