The cycling community is in mourning after yet another senseless death on our roads – talented rider Hans Battaerd tragically killed while riding in Northern New South Wales.
Returning home from a training ride with friends on Wednesday morning, 59yo Mr Battaerd was hit from behind by an elderly motorist driving a Mitsubishi 4×4. The tragedy occurred on the Pacific Highway near Ballina.
A committed and passionate cyclist, Hans Battaerd was well-loved and widely-respected in both his former region of Wollongong and the NSW North Coast, the area he and his wife had recently made home.
Moving Tribute To A Mate
A part-time staff member of local bike shop ‘The Bicycle Emporium’, staff and riding mates posted tributes to their fallen mate online.
“It is with great sadness that we report the loss of one of our own; Hans Battaerd – passionate cyclist and triathlete, fellow rider, member of the Ballina Masters Cycling Club, customer and part-time employee of The Bicycle Emporium. Hans was killed by a motorist on his way home from a group ride yesterday morning 23/11/2016. He died doing what he loved, but he shouldn’t have died. Ride in Peace, Hans.”
A Strong But Humble Man
Much loved and well respected after many years competing in cycling and triathlon events, friends of Mr Battaerd took to social media to express their shock and despair at the loss of the “powerhouse of a human”.
Grant Giles wrote “I have so many fond memories of living in Wollongong as a young bloke and training for triathlon with Hans. He was a powerhouse of a human and I spent many hours grovelling on his back wheel aspiring to be as strong as Hans. He taught me many things are about strength and being a humble human. I also learnt so much about not being afraid to have a good go.
Hans and Cheryl his wife had bought a property at Tintenbar recently and had moved up here to live the dream. I never got to catch up with him and I guess its a case of we never really fully understand how others affect us until they are no longer with us.
Deeply saddened, heavy hearted and affected much more profoundly by his presence than I had realised. My whole hearted condolences to his family.”
Fellow cylists have also posted to social media their fears and concerns about the dangers faced daily on our roads. Helen Konz wrote “A very sad unnecessary accident RIP Hans. Thoughts and prayers to you Duncan and the fellow riders,” and Dee Haber writing “I love cycling but this isn’t how I want to go. RIP.”
Police reported the driver of the white four-wheel drive, an 81-year-old man, was taken to Ballina Hospital for blood and urine testing. According to police investigations are continuing with local officers urging anyone with information in relation to the incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.