Tributes flow for legend who died in freak bike crash
THE cyclist who died after falling from his bicycle when the front wheel slipped into Newcastle's new light rail track was 51-year-old father of three Danny Egan.
A keen cyclist, Mr Egan clocked up between 500km and 800km in the saddle every year for the past 12 years as part of a fundraising ride for Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service from Tamworth to the coast.
The Newcastle community has rallied around Mr Egan's wife, Jodie, and their three children Joss, 13, Ryhli 11, and Jedd, 9.
"Jodie's obviously struggling but she has people around her all the time," neighbour John Perceval said.
"The kids are doing well, I think. It will take a while for it all to sink in."
A small gate in the fence between the Egan and Perceval households, which the children call "the Hobbit hole", has stayed open since Wednesday's tragedy to allow the children from both families to freely play with one another.
Within hours of setting up an online roster for wellwishers to drop off cooked meals, there were enough volunteers to keep the Egan family fed until late August.
The family has also been inundated with well wishes from Tamworth, where both Danny and Jodie grew up and where Danny's father Noel Egan is a community stalwart.
Mr Egan had been watching the State of Origin on Wednesday night with old friends Mitch Hudson and Wayne Bennetts at a pub in Newcastle East, before he came off his bike on the ride home at the intersection of Pacific and Scott streets at 10.30pm.
"We know the accident occurred because of the tram tracks but Danny, me and Wayne had been drinking beer and people will say it was the beer, which we can't defend," Mr Hudson said.
"But we're blokes in our 50s who drink mid-strength beer."
According to Mr Hudson, Mr Egan was an extraordinarily generous, warm and caring man.
"He was a great family man, a great friend and a great giver to charity," he said.
"He took you under his wing and gave you everything he could."
A transport department spokeswoman said everything had been done to alert cyclists to the potential danger of riding across light rail tracks.
"A comprehensive safety messaging campaign, including cyclist safety, was carried out during Newcastle Light Rail construction and start of operations," the spokeswoman said.
"The cyclist safety campaign was designed in consultation with the Newcastle Cycleways Movement and included school visits, distributing brochures and using media and social media channels.
"Comprehensive signage alerting cyclists to their proximity to the Newcastle light rail corridor has been in place since late 2018. Road safety audits have been undertaken for the CBD South East Light Rail project at every stage of design, prior to testing and will continue in the lead up to operations later in the year."
With day tram testing in Sydney's CBD down to Circular Quay fast approaching, Transport for NSW has ramped up its safety messages for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
Cyclists are reminded to not ride along the tracks and to cross at an angle, or dismount and walk across the tracks.