A new safety campaign in the Alpine region is calling for more awareness around bike riders this Australia Day long weekend.
The Amy Gillett Foundation along with a group of 11 local riders launched the Live, Drive, Ride Like A Local campaign on Friday night ahead of the first day of the Alpine Classic cycling event.
A short film features the stories of local cyclists who live and work in Bright and the surrounding areas and who want the community to understand that they are human too.
The film highlights the greatest fear most riders have when on their bike: not coming home to their family.
"I have many conversations with my kids about cycling on the road, but I tell them I certainly don't go out to be killed when I go cycling," Helen Hofbauer says in the film.
"I like being outside riding my bike but I like coming home to my family more than anything," Wandiligong doctor Doug Devereux says.
More than 500 people who live and visit the Alpine region were surveyed to understand their insights and understanding of cycling in the area.
Being able to pass cyclists safely was a top concern among respondents, 82 per cent drive and ride in the Alpine Shire, and 86 per cent underestimated the value of cycling tourism to the region.
Amy Gillett Foundation research and policy manager and senior researcher at Monash University Marilyn Johnson said the key messages of the campaign emerged from the survey and from extensive conversations with the local community, including key road safety and tourism stakeholders.
"So many people from across the Alpine Shire told us about needing to ride for their mental and physical health and needing that even more during COVID," she said.
"For example, Phil, the pharmacist in Mount Beauty talked about spending his days helping people in the community manage their medications and their health.
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"He hopes that when people see a cyclist on the road, they say to themselves, oh, that might be Phil, I'll give them a wave and plenty of space. And that's one of the goals of the campaign, to keep reminding people that people on bikes are often people they know."
The campaign is part funded by a TAC Community Road Safety Grant, the Alpine Shire Council and donations to the Amy Gillett Foundation.
The locals involved in the campaign are Mark Ditcham, Helen Hofbauer, Fiona Morris, Megan Hollingworth, Daniel van der Ploeg, David Wallace, Nick Wright, Phil Bardsley-Smith, Sam Northey, Cooper Northey and Doug Devereux.