A Wollongong City Council worker who hit and seriously injured a mountain biker while riding his trail bike illegally in bushland has been criticised by a magistrate for his irresponsible behaviour.
Wollongong Local Court heard Tim Crinnion was riding illegally in the Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area on December 22, 2012, when he hit a cyclist travelling south on the Lower Escarpment Trail at Bulli.
The collision, on a blind corner, threw both men from their bikes and knocked them unconscious.
The impact was so severe it snapped the carbon fibre mountain bike frame and witnesses reported hearing a "loud cracking noise".
Both men suffered significant injuries and were airlifted from Bulli Showground to hospital.
The court heard that Crinnion was riding illegally on the trail, despite clear signage banning trail bikes from the environmentally sensitive area.
Magistrate Geraldine Beattie, who accepted Crinnion had no criminal history and was otherwise of good character, said the signs were there to prevent such accidents.
"That is the very thing we are trying to stop by keeping motorbikes out of there.
"It is of concern that someone of good character and in a responsible position thought it was OK to ride a [trail] bike in that area in contravention of those signs," she said.
The cyclist, who spent five days in hospital as a result of the accident, suffered fractures to his right leg, hand, elbow, ribs, and a suspected skull fracture.
He was unable to return to work until late February 2013.
The court heard Crinnion suffered a badly broken jaw and multiple fractures to the skull.
He has also suffered from depression and anxiety following the accident and sold his bike.
The magistrate accepted Crinnion was remorseful for the crime and had attempted to contact his victim personally.
The court heard he had already paid the victim $5000 as compensation for damages to his mountain bike. She fined him $2250 and ordered him to pay an additional $1000 for professional costs.
There is still some serious disconnect between motorized trail bikes and the pedal-powered kind. Both bikes can do serious damage to sensitive environmental areas. Both kinds of riders will ignore signage telling them to "keep out". It is the nature of the off-road mountain/dirt biking sports enthusiasts. People of good character just don't do things like that. "What goes around comes around." Call it Poetic Justice.
More NSMBA Trail digging coming to a forest near you...
It is officially mountain biking "open season" on the environment, again, revving up on March 9th. The North Shore legacy of carnage continues, as DWV is now in dialogue with "underground"* mountain bikers with regards to the future of its Upper Lands. DWV is determined to follow in DNV's "wheel ruts" on this Cypress mountain bike plan...appeasing the wily scofflaw bikers and trail and abusement structure builders. Go figure?