Victoria’s cycling community is mourning the loss of talented cyclist and dedicated young doctor Damion Drapac, who was killed while riding to a race.
- Doctor and cyclist Damion Drapac died after he was struck by a car
- His father says he “would be alive today” if there were separated bike lanes
- He has also called for a “change of attitude” from motorists towards cyclists
Dr Drapac, 30, was headed to the Anzac Day Classic road race in south-east Melbourne last Thursday when he was struck by a car on Blackburn Road in Glen Waverley.
He died at the scene.
His father Michael Drapac, who is heavily involved in the cycling community and owns a racing team, said his son epitomised “service to community”.
“If anyone bothered to examine his life he would be an extraordinary role model and an extraordinary inspiration to anyone,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.
“He just epitomised passion, persistence, resilience, service to community … he’s touched so many people.”
Michael Drapac said his son was the most passionate person he knew and he “would be alive today” if there were dedicated bike lanes on the road for cyclists.
“Damion was an extraordinary son, he was an extraordinary brother, he was an extraordinary friend,” he said.
His tributes have been echoed by many in Victoria’s cycling community.
The Amy Gillett Foundation — set up in honour of a cyclist who was killed when a driver crashed into her training squad in Germany — said in a statement it was “devastated”.
“Dr Drapac was an active member of Cycling Australia and Brunswick Cycling Club. He raced in the National Road Series and was among the elite cyclists in Australia,” the foundation said.
“The Drapac family have greatly supported and contributed to the development of Australian cycling.
“Michael Drapac’s vision for cyclists to be supported to pursue excellence both within and beyond their cycling careers is truly embodied by Damion’s achievements.”
Cycling Victoria also released a statement, saying its team was “deeply saddened” by the news.
“Any death on our roads is one too many but we feel this more because he was one of us,” the statement said.
“He was a part of our community. Damion will be greatly missed by all.”
In a weekend Facebook post, the Brunswick Cycling Club said Dr Drapac was a “gifted and committed and deeply compassionate clinician” at the Austin Hospital where he worked.
The post also highlighted how he had only recently decided to return to racing, fitting in training around his busy life as a doctor to enter “elite A grade level” competitions.
Father calls for ‘change of attitude’ towards cyclists
Michael Drapac, who owns the National Road Series team Drapac Pro Cycling, said the crash that claimed his son’s life was a “freakish accident”.
He said in addition to building more bike lanes, governments should pass laws to make daytime lights mandatory for cyclists, which “would save lives in this country”.
He also called for a “change of attitude” from motorists towards cyclists.
“More people [cyclists] on the road means less carbon footprint, less traffic, more parking, [there are] so many benefits, so attitude’s a big one,” he said.
The male driver of the car which hit Damion Drapac stopped to render assistance and was assisting police with inquiries on the weekend.