Roads and Maritime Service rebuffs safety push by Blue Mountains Cycling Safety Forum

Members of the Blue Mountains Cycling Safety Forum near the dangerous section near Faulconbridge, (from left), Oliver Clark, Daniel Zanardo, Lisa-Joy Brown, Brian Burgess, Andrew O’Brien, Paul Marlin, Richard Barclay, Jonathon Sheed and Geoff Jay.
Members of the Blue Mountains Cycling Safety Forum near the dangerous section near Faulconbridge, (from left), Oliver Clark, Daniel Zanardo, Lisa-Joy Brown, Brian Burgess, Andrew O’Brien, Paul Marlin, Richard Barclay, Jonathon Sheed and Geoff Jay.

The Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) failed to commit to providing breakdown lanes on an 800 metre stretch of the highway at Faulconbridge after meeting with local cyclists last week.

This was despite the RMS conceding that section of the Great Western Highway does not meet its own safety design standards, said Blue Mountains Cycling Safety Forum (BMCSF) spokesman David Tritton.

“The representatives of RMS and Transport for NSW agreed that the section of highway between the Metro Petroleum and the Fruit House at Faulconbridge is hazardous and has been responsible for at least seven people – that includes motorists - being seriously injured,” he said.

“Despite this they claimed that building an emergency breakdown lane is not a priority.”

BMCSF has been lobbying for highway safety improvements at Faulconbridge and was hopeful its meeting with the RMS, as well as a representative from the NSW roads minister, could provide a breakthrough.

They left the meeting disappointed.

“In our view prioritising an emergency breakdown lane at Faulconbridge should not be dependent on the number of people who are seriously injured or killed,” said Mr Tritton.

“It needs to be based on the risk to road users including members of our community who use the highway as their local road. The next person who is seriously injured could be someone you love and care for.”

After being approached by the Gazette, a spokeswoman for the RMS said they were “working closely with Blue Mountains City Council to investigate options for a safe and accessible cycle network parallel to the Great Western Highway, west of Bellevue Road”.

“Roads and Maritime will continue to monitor safety on the road network in the area,” she said.

The RMS had carried out several road safety projects in the Blue Mountains in recent years, which included “road surface upgrades, improved signposting, installing safety barriers on central medians, banning turning movements and installing new traffic lights”, she said.

“New ‘no right turn’ and ‘left turn only’ restrictions were implemented in late 2015 as a part of the redevelopment of The Fruit Shop for traffic accessing the business from the Great Western Highway.”

But Mr Tritton said the “safety problems at Faulconbridge are not going to be fixed with a few more road signs”.

“The current road design does not meet Austroad specifications which RMS is required to do.”

He said the group looked forward to a commitment from the NSW Government for a fully separate, Austroads compliant cycle path between Woodford and Faulconbridge.

“Until that happens we will continue to campaign for the 800-metre section between the Metro Petroleum and the Todarello’s Fruit House to comply with RMS’ own safety design standards and provide for emergency breakdown lanes to help achieve zero fatalities and serious injuries.”