Cyclist fatality fears over section of Great Western Highway at Faulconbridge

A cyclist fatality is likely on the highway at Faulconbridge unless the shoulder is widened, a cycling association has warned.

The newly formed Blue Mountains Cycling Safety Forum, supported by multiple cycling clubs, is calling for the Great Western Highway to be widened between Todarello’s fruit house and the Metro Petroleum servo.

Forum co-ordinator David Tritton said cyclists are forced to travel in busy, high-speed traffic lanes because the east and westbound road shoulders are non-existent or extremely narrow.

“Our concern is unless the problem is fixed a fatality or further serious injury is likely to occur,” Mr Tritton said.

Two cyclists have already suffered serious injuries following accidents on that stretch of highway.

“Warrimoo resident Jenny McGowan has serious and permanent injuries because in 2005 she was hit by a vehicle from behind whilst cycling in the high-speed lane on the GWH at Faulconbridge west of Bellevue Street because there is no shoulder,” said Mr Tritton.

“In 2015, [Hazelbrook resident ] Andrew Fuge, at the same location, was forced off the road to avoid a collision and crashed, permanently damaging his spine. Is RMS seriously waiting for cyclists to be killed before taking action?”

For cyclists wanting to travel between the Lower and Mid Mountains, there was no other option but to use the highway, he said.

“It has been consistently identified by cyclists as one of the most dangerous sections of shared highway in the Blue Mountains.”

“Widening the shoulder to provide a refuge for cyclists, and as a breakdown lane for motorists, will save lives and reduce injuries,” he said.

In 2015 Blue Mountains City Council asked the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to conduct a road safety audit on this section of the road after multiple motor vehicle accidents and near misses but they refused, saying an upgrade was not warranted.

In 2016 a spokesperson for then Roads Minister Duncan Gay’s office told the Gazette analysis of crash data from a recent safety audit near the Bellevue Road intersection showed no particular trends or crash patterns.

The council commissioned its own audit, the report warning that if no improvements were made to the road there would be "potential for serious crashes on this section of the highway". 

In February the RMS resurfaced the section of highway near the service station.

Members of the cycling forum will meet the Roads Minister later this month to discuss the issue.

For more details on their campaign visit: https://www.bmcsf.org/the-case-for-an-upgrade or the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/bmcsf.