A 47-year-old man has died after being struck by a vehicle while riding his bike on Forest Way in Sydney’s northern suburbs. The 24-year-old driver of the car that caused the crash is on bail after being charged with “negligent driving (occasions grievous bodily harm) and cause bodily harm by misconduct in charge of motor vehicle”.

– Comment by Rob Arnold


Nick Sky, a 47-year-old who was riding his bike on Tuesday morning, has sadly passed away as a result of injuries sustained in a crash involving a car driven by a 24-year-old man.

Just after 6.10am on 4 June, NSW Police and ambulance paramedics were called to the scene of the crash involving two cyclists who appear to have been struck from behind while riding in a designated bike lane on the left-hand side of the north-bound two-lane road.

Sky and his riding companion, 56-year-old Michael Collings, sustained serious injuries as a result of the collision. Paramedics treated the men briefly at the scene before transporting them to Royal North Shore hospital.

Nick Sky was airlifted to the hospital with critical head injuries. He was in a coma after emergency surgery and died two days later.


Forest Way is a six-kilometre stretch of road linking Warringah Road and Mona Vale Road with at least two lanes for both north-bound and south-bound traffic. There is also a narrow shoulder of approximately one metre against the curb on the left which is marked as a bike lane. It is a route often taken by cyclists riding to or from Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park.

Police reported that the driver of the vehicle was subjected to mandatory testing at a hospital before later being taken to Manly Police Station where he was charged with “negligent driving (occasions grievous bodily harm) and cause bodily harm by misconduct in charge of motor vehicle”.

The 24-year-old car driver was granted conditional bail and will appear in Manly Local Court on 24 July.

Police have been reluctant to offer further comment as an investigation into the incident is ongoing.

It’s a terrible situation that reminds us of the fragility of life and the risks associated with using the road network in a city like Sydney. Sadly, the cycling community is all too familiar with these kinds of stories and my thoughts are with Nick Sky’s family and friends, some of whom attended the hospital before he passed away.

Shortly after the incident happened there were several camera crews from television networks on site, including Channel 7 and Channel 9, and reports of the crash were broadcast on local media in the hours after the collision. Some footage and details have also been shared on social media platforms, with the comments feature later disabled on the accounts of several major networks.

Upsetting ramifications 

Early on Tuesday morning I was driving to an appointment in Sydney’s north when I saw a sign on Warringah Road explaining disruptions on Forest Way. Shortly after turning north, traffic started to bank up. As I slowly drove closer to where – I would soon learn – the crash happened, there was a volley of emergency vehicles speeding south on the opposite side of the road.

Police directed vehicles travelling north into the far right-hand lane while the Crash Investigation Unit was assessing the scene. Witches hats were set up to prevent traffic from driving into the left-hand lane where debris from the crash, including two white bikes – a white Specialized, and a white Trek – littered the roadside.

Once past the scene traffic began to flow again. I made the decision to turn left into a side street, park my car and walk back to the site of the crash as I believed I recognised the bike as one owned by a mate. (It wasn’t the bike of the person I know.)

Concerned by what I witnessed, I tried to get a better understanding of what had happened only shortly beforehand.

It was 7.32am when I arrived at the junction of Forest Way and Linden Avenue. By this time the victims of the crash and the driver of the car were no longer on the scene. Police marshalled the area and several media outlets arrived shortly afterwards.

While speaking with Madison Scott, a reporter from Channel 9 News, we watched as a cyclist – who I later learned was Nick Sky’s son, Lachie – rode by and surveyed the scene.

With police unable to offer any information so soon after the crash, and as I hadn’t witnessed the incident, I wasn’t able to offer any relevant comment but Scott asked if I would mind doing an interview to explain my experiences of what it’s like to ride in the area. Reluctantly I agreed while being careful to highlight that I had not seen the crash and had only arrived on the scene shortly before her crew of two from Channel 9.

I explained how I’ve ridden along Forest Way numerous times and that it’s a popular spot for road cycling. With a designated bike lane and two lanes for traffic, the theory is that it’s a safe place to ride. Still, it is also a part of Sydney where I feel exposed to traffic and caution is necessary as drivers often tend to pass very close to cyclists.

Road rules exist for a reason, I told Madison Scott, but it’s not an easy task to police the myriad misdemeanours that I have personally witnessed, and experienced, while on the bike. Prudence is essential and respect for other road users should also be part of the deal. Still, there will always be rogues who fail to adhere to the rules.


The speed limit along Forest Way varies with school zones part of this stretch of road but, for the most part, it’s a 70km/h zone.

A moment of distraction while driving at 70km/h can obviously have fatal consequences. We are reminded of this with the terrible news that Nick Sky’s life was cut short because of a crash while he was on an early ride on a Tuesday morning.

Once the interview concluded we looked over the vehicle that had caused the collision, noting considerable damage to the front window and roof. The impact was clearly significant with the glass windshield shattered, left-hand mirror broken off, and dents in the bonnet and roof of the station wagon. (I had uploaded an image of the vehicle to X a short while afterwards but have since deleted this post. I have also chosen not to publish it with this story as it is quite graphic and investigations into the incident are ongoing.)

Scott and I didn’t know it at the time but, as we spoke, we had witnessed a young man ride by the scene where his father was conscious for the last time.


Commentary after the crash

Something like this rates a mention on the news, and it is sadly one of many incidents that happen on our roads on a far too regular basis. But a crash like this has devastating consequences: a life has been cut short, a family is in mourning, another man is facing a considerable recovery from his injuries, and the cycling community is grieving again.

I’m mindful about the words used to describe what I saw a little over an hour after the crash occured. Nick Sky was a 47-year-old doing what he loved in a public space where he was totally entitled to be. Yes, he rode a bike. He was a cyclist but he was also a father of two, a husband, and part of a family that is now preparing a funeral.

“Cyclist dies following crash”, reads the headline on the NSW Police Media site. This is not a throwaway line and while it summarises the tragic news that is part of the report, it also sadly dehumanises the situation. “Man dies” or “father dies” would be more apt, as categorising the victim of the crash as a “cyclist” sadly also evokes disgusting responses on social media.

Before comments were blocked on some social media platforms there were apparently a series of offensive posts by some who seem to believe that people are not allowed to ride bikes on the road.

When I followed up on the incident with NSW Police in the days after the crash, I asked if there was any course of action that could be taken against those who wrote derogatory comments on social media. My query was ignored.

The only response from the NSW Police related to reporting on the crash. “Once the Media Unit is notified of a death, and the NOK has been notified then a release will be issued accordingly.”


There are laws against hate crimes in Australia, and hate speech is part of that legislation but it remains a common theme when cycling is referenced in the media. Again, it’s not easy for police to deal with such matters.

“When there is no crime committed, but an action is still motivated by hate, prejudice or bias, it is known as a hate incident,” states the overview of Hate Crimes on the NSW Police website. “Both hate crimes and hate incidents are taken very seriously by the NSW Police.”

When a life has been lost because of a crash like the one that happened on Forest Way on Tuesday any commentary that follows and includes an action “motivated by hate, prejudice or bias” should also be thoroughly investigated and charges laid against the perpetrators.

Blocking comments retrospectively is one course of action that media outlets and social media platforms can take, but before these posts are taken down the trolls who chime in with vulgar statements are able to voice their opinion, often without consequence.

There is a long list of people and groups who are apparently protected by hate crime laws and “cyclist” is not included. It seems obvious, as a cyclist is a person who also happens to ride a bike. And yet there are some in the community who believe it their right to express a bias or prejudice against someone who rides a bike.

I’m not suggesting the 24-year-old driver had any malice or that the incident he was involved in was part of any hate crime. But some of the commentary that followed shortly afterwards can certainly be classified as such and there should be ramifications for those who make such statements.

It’s dangerous enough on our roads when there are thousands of interactions at any given moment. High speeds and distractions can have a devastating and lasting impact. Respect for fellow road users is part of the equation and when that kind of thinking is absent from some in society the risk is elevated.

Crashes happen all too often. Lives can change in an instant because of what happens on our roads. My heart sinks with every headline I read about incidents that can often be avoided.

When I happen to drive by a scene of devastation that ultimately leads to a loss of life, I find it difficult to articulate all the things that come to mind in a rush of emotions. My thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by the incident on Forest Way on Tuesday – and many others like it.

Vision from something like the Fly6 camera by Cycliq would certainly help police understand what led to the tragic crash. It is unclear if either rider had camera/light on their bike or if there is any footage of the incident to assist with the investigation.

We wait for the summary from the Crash Investigation Unit and hope some clarity will come from the work done by those who are tasked with trying to explain how this kind of tragedy happened. It won’t change the outcome but it’s important to understand what went wrong and why.



– By Rob Arnold