"...they don't belong to clubs, and that's why we're having some of the issues we're having today."
“...the number of cycling club members are decreasing; in 2007, there were only 2,600 club cyclists in Victoria”
"cyclists need to learn how to ride safely in a bunch."
Marcel Lema, Beach Road Cyclists
MELINDA JACOBSEN, AMY GILLETT FOUNDATION: This morning was all about a ride for respect. It was a show of solidarity from the cycling fraternity, and also to show everyone how sad and in shock the cycling fraternity has been about this incident.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was in the Hell Ride when it happened, in fact, right in front of me. It's just really sad to see someone die in front of you and it's sad and no-one likes to see it, so I just wanted to be there and support the effort of the cycling community.
KATHY BOWLEN: What did you see?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today, or-
KATHY BOWLEN: No, on Saturday?
UNIDENTIFED MALE: Well, I was stopping at the lights and all I saw was a cyclist come straight through and hit James Gould.
JEFF PROVAN, ST KILDA CYCLING CLUB: I suppose everyone thought that the next death on Beach Road would be a cyclist, not a pedestrian. So this has really run to the core and it's tragic. We just don't want to ever see this happen again so we felt that there was going to be some outrage and we needed to offer our respect.
KATHY BOWLEN: The riders listened to a message about safe riding, but the problem for these cyclists, and for the image of the sport they love, is that to a large extent it's preaching to the converted. The most dangerous riders, the ones who run red lights and frustrate motorists, were not there. They are part of what's call the "Hell Ride", a Saturday morning bunch which does the round trip from St Kilda to Frankston and back.Last year Stateline broadcast vision of the Hell Ride, filmed in secret by police.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's great tradition, but unfortunately it's becoming a bicycle race, a Pellaton just like the Tour de France. They're taking up all the lanes. Consequently, cars can't pass at all, and we're getting a lot of friction.
KATHY BOWLEN: The riders' determination to stay with the pack means they will ignore red lights and take up both lanes; anything it takes to avoid being dropped by the bunch. The frustrations aren't only felt by motorists. Responsible cyclists are being abused by drivers, and they're looking for ways to bring the rebels into line.
MARCEL LEMA, CYCLIST: I hope there will be change. I think there's amazing willpower within the cycling community to change that. One of the cycling federations is looking at actually putting the Hell Ride on a banned list and saying to riders that if you do ride the Hell Ride, you are going to be banned from our cycling federation. So there's already a lot in the pipe works to actually try to stop it.
KATHY BOWLEN: A former professional cyclist, Marcel Lema, was a member of the Australian national team in the early '90s. Back then, and still today, he loves to ride Beach Road. But he also spends time there professionally. As an ambulance officer based in St Kilda, he's often called to bike accidents on Beach Road.
MARCEL LEMA: We're looking at, 15 years ago the Hell Ride was nowhere near what it is now. 15 years ago it was mostly racing cyclists. It wasn't even called the Hell Ride, it was called the Frankston Derby. Basically, it was nowhere what it is today. Today the Hell Ride is completely a law unto itself, basically.
KATHY BOWLEN: He says cyclists need to learn how to ride safely in a bunch. But those basic precautions are not followed by Hell Riders.
MARCEL LEMA: Most professional, or cyclists that ride in clubs, actually don't go on that ride because it's just so dangerous. Probably 80 to 90 per cent of cyclists that are on Beach Road today have a very low set of skills, they don't belong to clubs, and that's why we're having some of the issues we're having today.
KATHY BOWLEN: Police estimate 10,000 cyclists use Beach Road every weekend. But, along with cycling's growth in popularity, has been an increase in serious injuries. Dr James Taylor is the head of the accident and emergency centre at Sandringham Hospital, which is now seeing injured cyclists every week.
DR JAMES TAYLOR, SANDRINGHAM HOSPITAL: It might be something simple like a broken arm, broken wrist, shoulder injury or a head injury. Some of them are more serious and require hospital admission, some have required operations. But it is a growing concern to us, the number of patients that we see here, the number of cyclists that attend, and it's been largely a hidden problem up until the last two or three years. We're now becoming more aware of it because of the increase in numbers, and it is a real safety issue to the community.
MARCEL LEMA: We have mainly a lot of soft tissue injuries and a lot of broken bones, a lot of broken collar bones. A lot of the accidents are when bike riders come up the back of parked cars. We have a lot of accidents like that when riders hit the back of parked cars.
KATHY BOWLEN: Dr Taylor and Marcel Lema are both members of a working party, which also includes police and the three Bayside councils which cover Beach Road. They've developed a strategy to solve the problems on what they, and the Melways, call route 33. The plan would create a four-hour ban on parking along both sides of Beach Road, from 6am until 10am on Saturdays and Sundays.
DR JAMES TAYLOR: Removing the parked cars is mostly to improve cycle safety. It gives these training cyclists a clear run, they can ride in a pack quite safely and still leave the middle lane for cars to overtake them in a safe manner.
KATHY BOWLEN: The route 33 bicycling strategy has been widely circulated but not yet adopted. Stateline has been told it could be in place by the end of the year. This morning's ride ended with cycling's second great tradition. After the early morning training run, the leisurely coffee stop. The talk around the tables was all of the need for change to the parking rules, the rebel riders and public perceptions.
JEFF PROVAN: What we need is, we need a status quo. We need a consolidation and we need a commitment from - and also really to show to the press, the public, the police, that there is a group out there that are responsible.
MELINDA JACOBSEN: Today was also about calling them to be ambassadors for the sport that we love, to lead by example. I think you will probably find, going forward, that the cycling fraternity will start to self-regulate and that there will be more cyclists reprimanding other cyclists if they're seen to be doing the wrong thing.