Local cyclists joined Blue Mountains MP Roza Sage in Springwood last week to launch a new campaign urging cyclists and motorists to share the road safely.
The State Government and the Amy Gillett Foundation have joined forces for the campaign which encourages motorists to allow at least a one-metre gap when they overtake a cyclist, and for cyclists to help ensure their own safety by following road rules such as always stopping at red lights.
While welcoming the initiative as a “step in the right direction”, local campaigners urged the State Government to increase its profile in the Blue Mountains and back it up with a television campaign.
The State Government is rolling out an outdoor advertising campaign across the state that will feature 13 billboards — including one on the Great Western Highway at Lithgow — but cyclist advocate Keith Roberts said the Mountains needs a billboard too.
“As far as cyclists are concerned, anything that helps improve their safety with motorists is paramount,” said Mr Roberts, a close friend of Winmalee resident Marc Simone who was killed in a collision with a car while riding on the M4 in February.
“At least this campaign is a start. . . . But we need a billboard here in the Mountains too. There are so many cyclists up here.”
Mr Roberts said a television campaign was also needed to hammer home the message.
Mrs Sage couldn’t commit to a TV campaign and said council policies restricting billboards in the Mountains were a stumbling block to getting a local billboard.
The Centre for Road Safety chose the locations for most of the billboards based on crash data on cyclist injury and fatalities.
“While there are currently no billboards being installed in the Mountains, I feel strongly that our community should be aware of this important campaign and that’s why we are launching it locally today,” said Mrs Sage on Thursday.
Cyclist Phil Bardsley-Smith agreed the campaign was “a good step in the right direction” but much more needed to be done to change the attitude of all road users.
“It goes both ways. Cyclists have to stand up and be more respectful when it comes to obeying the road rules too. I don’t think anyone would complain about having to do that,” he said.
Ten cyclists have died on NSW roads so far in 2013 — triple the number at the same time last year and three more than in the whole of 2012.
The Amy Gillett Foundation was established in memory of Amy Gillett, an elite Australian cyclist killed in a collision with a vehicle driven by an out-of-control motorist while training with the Australian Women’s Cycling Team in Germany in 2005.