CYCLISTS who ride in packs are the target of a new safety campaign to improve their behaviour on the road.
RoadSafe North East executive board member Robbie Allen said there had been several crashes and/or falls where cyclists had been hurt, some seriously, after colliding with each other.
Benalla rider Ross Wood, 43, spent 22 days in hospital after falling from his bike.
Mr Wood was flown to the Royal Melbourne Hospital after the May crash and spent about a month in a wheelchair.
He had been riding with about 10 other cyclists near Benalla when he clipped another rider and fell, shattering his pelvis and collarbone.
He never thought a crash with a fellow cyclist could result in such serious injuries.
A rider following Mr Wood had been unable to brake and broke two of his ribs on a bike wheel.
Mr Wood waited in the dark for an ambulance for about 20 minutes and said it was lucky he had been wearing a helmet.
“It was scary how hard my head hit the ground — if I didn’t have a helmet on, I reckon I would have died that night.”
Mr Wood lost about eight kilograms while in hospital and experienced financial strain during his long recovery.
He was unable to work as a self-employed electrical contractor.
He has also lost time off work undergoing extensive rehabilitation for his injuries.
Mr Allen said collisions between cyclists were often more of a problem than with car or truck drivers.
This had prompted the release of a code of conduct brochure targeting pack riders.
“It’s aimed at recreational bunch ride cyclists,” he said.
“We’ve had incidents where riders have been injured and they’ve been injured not because of other road users or motor vehicles.
“They’ve been injured by the actions of other bike riders.”
The brochure, which is being distributed to tourism centres, cafes and bike shops, aims to improve the behaviour of cyclists on the road.
Mr Allen said riders had received broken legs and spinal damage as a result of bike crashes.
“The Tour de France riders are professionals who do it for a living,” he said.
“We have builders, dentists, doctors, a whole mix of people who like to bunch ride.
“It’s not just motorists who cause problems with cyclists.
“It’s also cyclists’ behaviour — this code of conduct is a reminder for people to do the right thing.”
Wodonga acting Sergeant Mal Burdett said riders had to comply with road rules and not ride more than two abreast.
Safety equipment was paramount.