A South Australian man has been charged with manslaughter over the death of a cyclist on a remote stretch of outback Western Australian highway.

Police will allege the 36-year-old was driving a road train on Eyre Highway on Thursday which struck a cyclist near Madura, about 190km west of the South Australian border. 

Chris Barker, 62, who was taking part in the Indian Pacific, an annual road cycling race from Fremantle to Sydney, died at the scene. 

The highway was closed for hours after the incident, with police launching an appeal for information on Thursday. 

The driver appeared before a magistrate via a video link on Saturday and was remanded in custody to appear again on April 3. He didn’t apply for bail. 

In a tribute posted online, Chris Barker’s son Aiden said his “heart is broken”.

“I can’t express how sad today is, had was doing something that he loved,” he wrote.

“I’ve never heard dad talk so much about this one event in my life.”

Other incidents

Another IPWR competitor in his 50s was hit by a vehicle east of Norseman in a separate incident on Thursday morning.

He was airlifted to Royal Perth Hospital, where he remains in a serious but stable condition.

Mr Barker, who was taking part in the Indian Pacific Wheel Race for the sixth time, is believed to be the second cyclist to die in that event.

In 2017, ultra-endurance racer Mike Hall was hit by a car and killed on the Monaro Highway in the ACT.

It is also not the first cyclist fatality on the Eyre Highway.

In April 2021, an environmental campaigner who was cycling across the country was killed by a truck driver in a drug-fuelled crash on the Nullarbor.

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