Cyclists block traffic during a ‘die-in’ in Brisbane this morning. Picture: Dave Hunt
Cyclists block traffic during a ‘die-in’ in Brisbane this morning. Picture: Dave Hunt

Road chaos as cyclists play dead

CYCLISTS have laid down on a major Brisbane road in a staged "die-in" to lobby for improved bike lanes, causing major traffic problems.

The protest on Wednesday at Vulture St, South Brisbane, outside the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital, has ended but it caused traffic snarls in the heart of the city.

"If motorists are feeling frustrated, they should be asking the Lord Mayor why he isn't supporting safe, separated bike lanes," Brisbane City councillor Jonathan Sri, who organised the protest, told ABC radio.

 

 

The controversial protest was led by Councillor Johnathan Sri. Picture: Liam Kidston
The controversial protest was led by Councillor Johnathan Sri. Picture: Liam Kidston

 

Earlier, Mr Sri told AAP that the die-in was staged as a last resort after "all the other mechanisms we've tried have failed".

"Fundamentally, the problem is that Brisbane City Council is prioritising traffic flow ahead of bike safety improvements."

Cyclists want more bike lanes and lower speed limits, Mr Sri said.

They have been prompted by the ramming of 19-year-old cyclist Shelly Cheng, who said she was hospitalised with head and other injuries after an accident at the intersection of Vulture and Stanley streets last month.

 

The protest stopped traffic and infuriated motorists: Liam Kidston
The protest stopped traffic and infuriated motorists: Liam Kidston

 

Dozens of cyclists took part in the ‘die-in’: Liam Kidston
Dozens of cyclists took part in the ‘die-in’: Liam Kidston

 

"From what I remember, the motorist hit me off my bike and I slid across the gravel into the other lane," Ms Cheng said.

"Fortunately, the oncoming van was far away enough to stop in time. I was dazed and shaking while I walked my bike off the road.

"The woman who hit me didn't even leave her details. She made sure I was off the road, then just drove away while I was still disoriented and confused."

It's not the first such protest in Brisbane, with around 100 riders gathering last year to block car lanes on Victoria Bridge at South Bank.

Mr Sri admitted the action was controversial.

"We've really struggled to get the council to take us seriously on this issue," he said.

"It's basically an act of desperation.

"We'd be happy to call off the protest in a heartbeat if the council gave a commitment to installing bike lanes and lowering speed limits.

"But we're sick of our friends ending up in hospital."


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