Toowoomba to Mooloolaba charity bike ride Event Director Rachael Witton and Race Founder Dave Fellows at Mooloolaba Beach.
Toowoomba to Mooloolaba charity bike ride Event Director Rachael Witton and Race Founder Dave Fellows at Mooloolaba Beach. John McCutcheon

Crash victim's mate strives to reduce road trauma

WHEN one of his best mates and fellow cycling enthusiasts was hit and killed by a car while working on the Bruce Highway, Dave Fellows struggled to come to terms with the tragedy.

Ken Altoft's life was stolen from him when he was working as a traffic controller at Tanawha in November 2017. His 48-year-old killer, Aron Duffy, was hurtling through roadworks at 154km/h in a 60km/h zone.

A pragmatic man, Mr Fellows turned the heartache into something positive.

He said the loss of his friend gave him the motivation to continue the conversation about staying safe on the roads, creating The Good Wheel foundation.

"I was pretty shattered and devastated as most people were with Ken's incident," Mr Fellows said.

"It really opened my eyes to the dangers on the roads."

The founder of TooMoo, a 220km bike ride from Toowoomba to Mooloolaba which took place again last weekend, dedicated the event to The Good Wheel in memory of Ken ever since the incident.

The cyclists charity that supports the community in "meaningful, measurable and tangible ways" advances the reputation of cyclists and ensures their safety.

Mr Fellows said road safety was "the highest priority" in his life and being Road Safety Week he said his focus was on remembering his mate and striving to reduce road crashes and trauma.

But he said learning of the number of people killed on the road every day had impacted him in a way that left him campaigning for increased safety for all road users.

"I felt compromised to the point it's led me to not want to ride my bike on the roads any more," he said. "It's too unpredictable and I find that I just can't be comfortable with my back to the traffic in any circumstance sitting on a bicycle."

Should more be done to improve safety on Sunshine Coast roads?

This poll ended on 09 June 2019.

Current Results

Yes.

33%

No, people just need to drive safer.

50%

I'm not sure.

16%

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He said it was disappointing that it had gotten to the point where others, and himself, were too scared to step foot, or wheel, on the road.

"Not riding on the road certainly makes me feel safe and smarter," he said.

"There are many others that have made similar choices to confine themselves to mountain biking or riding on fire trails and bike paths.

"It's a difficult place to be but you have to at some point take your own personal safety, regardless of what the road rules are, and make a risk versus reward decision."

Mr Fellows is currently deliberating the logistics of his own road safety initiative to be announced to the public at a later date.

While the initiative was still under wraps, he said that it focused on the road worker.

He had high hopes it would "revolutionise road safety in not only Queensland and Australia but globally".

He said having a loved one killed in a road crash was horrific enough without it being because of another's stupidity.

"It won't bring Ken back, but it may mean there are less people finding themselves in the position that Sharon (Ken's wife) has and Ken's family and friends," he said.



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