60yo Perth man hit by car, killed on cycling tour in US

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Michael Balfe, from Claremont, was about 12 kilometres east of the city of Eureka in Kansas on Monday night, when he was struck from behind by a driver in a Chevy Impala before falling into a ditch on the 54 highway.

Charges have not been laid against the 32-year-old driver who hit him.

Mr Balfe was remembered by friend Ross Dickinson on social media as “an all-round nice guy”.

Home Plate Cafe owner Cindy McWilliams met Mr Balfe about a week before the crash when he stopped in.

Ms McWilliams said he asked about an adaptor for his phone and his Australian accent caught her attention.

“We talked a lot about the trips and where he travelled and we were just living vicariously through him,” she told 6PR radio on Friday.

“He was so vibrant and so happy and so outgoing and kind. He really made an impact on us.

Ms McWilliams said she added Mr Balfe on Facebook and was “heartsick” when she found out this week that he had died.

“It was amazing to us how much he had touched us in the 60 minutes that he spent with us,” she said.

“You never know what impact someone will have on you until something like this happens, even someone who had only been in your life for an hour.”

The highway is a popular route for cyclists.

Kansas Highway Patrol trooper Rick Wingate said: “It looks like he was an avid rider and from what we can determine so far it looked like he liked to go to different parts of the world.”

Items in Mr Balfe’s backpack indicated his plan was to cycle south to Tulsa and he had a ticket to fly from there on October 13.

“We don’t believe from the items he had on him he was doing it for any fundraiser or anything like that,” Trooper Wingate said.

“We just believe he was out for a leisure ride.”

Mr Balfe’s death continues a tragic run for Australians on US roads in recent weeks, with Australian mother-of-four Susan Kilner, 36, killed by an alleged hit-and-run driver while cycling in Georgia.

In separate incidents in Las Vegas, Matthew Graves, 26, was killed attempting to run across a highway and Boban Karic, 27, died when his motorcycle hit a guard rail.

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