Kelly Murphy's report of the accident with a dog in the Midland Express of August 8 should be compulsory reading for cyclists and dog owners.
Dogs and cyclists are a very poor mix. The fact that this 'accident' happened at a dedicated cycle track raises all sorts of questions about the lack of responsibility of the dog owner involved in this incident.
Yes, the Wesley Hill complex is a multi-use facility. Yes, it is quite reasonably a popular place for dogs to be exercised off the lead. But surely not when cyclists are using it for the purpose it was primarily intended.
As Maurice Kennedy has found to his pain, riding bikes on the public roads in Castlemaine can be a hazardous experience. His retreat to the cycle track should have guaranteed his safety. Where can cyclists go for exercise or training, if not a velodrome?
It seems proper that cyclists should have priority at such a facility.
What could Maurice have done differently? Perhaps after the first few threatening moves on the dog's part, he might have dismounted and politely asked the dog's owner to restrain the animal. That would seem a very reasonable thing to do. And most reasonable dog owners would surely have accepted such an approach. For cyclists, we can all learn from this.
In the light of this event, I would hope that Mount Alexander Shire Councillors would consider directing the creation of a Users Code of Practice giving cyclists priority at the velodrome, and have appropriate signs prominently displayed at access points for the benefit of local dog-owners and future cyclists.
Thanks to Kelly Murphy for her report. Let us hope that it triggers a better velodrome usage policy for the future.