by Shami Sivasubramanian
Sixteen-year-old Bryce Dean will make his father proud next Saturday, May 3 by participating in the Sydney to Surfers charity bike ride after having faced a traumatic accident six weeks earlier.
Bryce, a Bronte local, along with six other riders from the Eastern Suburbs Cycling Club, were ploughed by a black Nissan X-Trail four-wheel drive whilst on a routine Sunday morning ride, on a route they’d travelled many times before. Several cyclists experienced fractured skulls, broken ribs, spines, and severe lacerations to the body and face.
“The last thing I remember is running past everyone, making sure they were okay. Then I saw my dad, Hans, down the end, so I ran to him.” Bryce recalls.
Katrina Briggs, Bryce’s mother, recalls the phone call she received from the hospital as heavy. But she was grateful her boy was okay.
“Bryce very rarely rings me, but he happened to ring twice in quick succession. At that point I was like, ‘Right. Something’s up here.’”
Unfortunately, Bryce’s father was one of three cyclists who faced a worse fate – a broken back.
That night, Hans underwent surgery. In 48 hours he was walking and a week later he was moved to a rehabilitation facility in Randwick. Two weeks ago, he was released. Now, he is home-based in Coogee and is visited five days a week by a rehab trainer. But, recovery is far from over.
This tragic event has placed a spotlight upon issues regarding the relationship between cyclists and motorists, and the effectiveness of the road rules currently in place.
Bryce stated the Eastern Suburbs Cycling Club takes responsible precautions when riding.
“We all have our flashing red lights on, and we’re normally out of the way on the left hand side lane.”
Sydney to Surfers co-ordinator, Ken Robinson, believes “it’s about mutual respect” and that rules protecting cyclists need to be better enforced. He also fails to understand the road rage motorists typically have toward cyclists.
“What people don’t get is that for every bicycle on the road, there’s a car in the garage.”
Bryce, who turned 16 last Sunday, will be going for his learner’s driver test in the coming weeks. He believes his experience as a cyclist will give him an edge over other young drivers.
“[It] has made me more aware on the road. I can’t wait to get my P’s!”
The Sydney to Surfers ride commences on May 3 and supports Father Chris Riley’s Youth off the Streets Foundation, a community organisation fighting youth homelessness and substance abuse.
If you’d like to sponsor Bryce, visit his page here.