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Police seeking driver of heavily damaged car believed to be involved

Police in Australia are searching for a hit and run driver who appears to have deliberately swerved in order to mow down a father of two - just for being on a bike.

Christian Ashby, 36, was hit in a head-on crash during his usual early-morning ride in Ballarat, Victoria, on Friday at 6.30am.

The keen rider’s life was threatened by the collision, and he remains in hospital in a stable condition.

Police have released pictures of the silver Mitsubishi Lancer believed to be behind the collision, in which the car veered onto the wrong side of the road.

The car, which police believe they have seen on CCTV taken by a refuse lorry, had a broken windscreen and dangling body parts.

Andrew Robertson, a friend of Mr Ashby’s at the Ballarat Triathlon Club, told the Herald Sun: “He is always out early in the morning because he wants to get home for when his kids wake up.

“Christian is an elite runner. He has had a bad achilles so he has been doing the bike recently. He is a great guy. The kind of person who doesn’t have a bad word to say about anybody.

“Exercise is important to him but he gets it done early so he can be with his family.

“How a human being can do that to another human being is beyond me. Christian is held in the highest regard by all of us and our thoughts are with his family.”

Detective Sgt Mark Amos, of the Major Collision Investigation Unit, said: “Somebody out there knows this car and the sooner someone talks to us the better. When we consider all of the circumstances there are a lot of things to be concerned about.

“There is every possibility this was a deliberate action.

“The driver will have known he was involved in a collision. To leave someone on the side of the road is callous,” said Sgt Amos.

Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Back in the UK, we recently reported how a Gloucestershire motorist who deliberately swerved towards cyclists was jailed for two and a half years after being found guilty of two counts of dangerous driving. He was acquitted in relation to a third charge of the same offence.

Dean Goble, aged 40, had been filmed by cyclist David Jones as he drove his Peugeot 206 across the road towards the rider in Ashton Keynes, Wiltshire in April 2014.

A jury at Swindon Crown Court convicted him of dangerous driving in connection with that incident, and another that occurred a week later between Ewen and Cirencester in Gloucestershire, with Jeremy Maiden the cyclist involved.

However, he was cleared of dangerous driving in relation to a third incident in May 2014 when cyclist Amanda Adams said she had been similarly targeted in Ashton Stoke.

Goble had claimed that he was trying to avoid potholes in the incident involving Mr Jones and also told the court during his trial this week that it had been his brother driving the car during the subsequent ones.

Passing sentence on Goble, who was also banned from driving for two years, judge Tim Mousley told Goble his said his behaviour was "typical of an aggressive and bullying nature," and that the speed he was driving was an "aggravating feature."

He also said that it was "a matter of luck rather than any judgment on your part" that the cyclists escaped unharmed.

Sergeant Barrie Card of Wiltshire Police commented: "Dean Goble had no respect for the safety of these cyclists; his dangerous and irresponsible actions could have killed one of these innocent people or, at the very least, seriously injured one of them.

"Today's verdict is a welcome one and sends out the message that Wiltshire Police will catch you if you endanger the lives of other road users and drive like this."

 

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.