CYCLIST SABOTAGE: Sickening trap found on popular road
INTERNATIONAL triathlete Peter Clatworthy has grave concerns a cyclist could be killed after tacks were found on a popular Point Vernon road.
Mr Clatworthy, who has ridden for most of his 62 years and has represented Australia in triathlon overseas, was riding on the Esplanade with his wife Margy early Wednesday morning when the pair discovered about 80 sharp tacks on the road near the Kehlet St intersection.
"She called out 'tacks' and I managed to miss them, but when we pulled up, sure enough there's a tack in her front tyre," he said.
"I went back and picked them all up, and obviously a box of tacks has been on the pavement, the road surface, and ended up on the footpath."
Noisy morning cyclists are often a source of tension in social media debates and letters to the editor but Mr Clatworthy said a tack against a deflated tyre could cause the rider to lose control.
"There's the risk of striking the kerb, and if you come off your bike and break your neck you could end up paralysed or worse," he said
"What I don't understand is why people actually do this. They're social misfits, there's something missing.
"I understand road rage to a certain degree but I don't understand why they have to be malicious and expose mums, dads, brothers and sisters to unnecessary risk and personal injury."
When Mr Clatworthy returned to remove the tacks, he discovered they were strewn across the front yard of a Point Vernon home.
"It's just wanton disregard," Mr Clatworthy said.
The incident comes a day before cycling safety advocate Cameron Frewer is laid to rest.
The Sunshine Coast cyclist, husband and father-of-three was killed on Monday, November 5, when he was struck by a car while cycling at Caloundra in the morning.
Frewer was a well-known outspoken advocate for cyclist safety and the founder of the "Drive Safe, Pass Wide" Facebook page, which encourages safe and responsible passing of vulnerable road users.
There is no suggestion any resident near where the tacks were discovered had anything to do with the incident.
It is not the first time tacks have been discovered on the popular Fraser Coast road.
The Esplanade is one of Hervey Bay's most picturesque roads; the newly-resurfaced road is a haven for drivers and cyclists alike.
The road also forms part of the 40km bike course at the Beach House Hotel Hervey Bay 100, which attracted hundreds of professional and amateur triathletes from across Queensland and interstate last weekend.
But this is at least the third time Mr Clatworthy himself has been impacted at different sections of the Esplanade.
"There's three circumstances of tacks alone and there's numerous instances where people have thrown beer bottles which explode and there's shattered glass where the bikes ride," he said.
"It seems to be increasing. It's a problem that's becoming a social scar on our society, it's very few people (doing it).
"In my experience, 99 per cent of motorists do the right thing and 99 per cent of cyclists do the right thing, but there's always that small margin of people.
"By the interaction with people I know, they're upset and they're disgusted someone would do this and endanger someone's life."
Hervey Bay Police Sergeant Jules Tyson, who is a cyclist himself, said the deploying of tacks was a disturbing trend.
"It happens quite a lot," Sgt Tyson said
"It probably doesn't get reported to police as much as it should.
"They caused a lot of concern at the Hervey Bay 100 one year, after a lot of them were put on the road."
Sgt Tyson encouraged residents to report tacks on roads to police.
"If anyone knows who's doing it, let us know," he said.
Those caught placing tacks on roads face the prospect of an on-the-spot fine or risk going to court.