Cyclists' plea for safer Great Western Highway at Faulconbridge

Twelve years after being hit by a car while riding her bike on the highway at Faulconbridge, Jenny McGowan still requires surgery.

Permanent injuries: Jenny McGowan is still having operations after being hit by a car on the highway at Faulconbridge 12 years ago.

Permanent injuries: Jenny McGowan is still having operations after being hit by a car on the highway at Faulconbridge 12 years ago.

The Warrimoo cyclist’s latest operation is on her toes, which were injured during a warm-up ride to Bullaburra when she was hit from behind. She broke her fibula, scapula, ribs, facial bones and suffered a brain injury, spending five days in an induced coma. After two months in hospital she was released, starting physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and time and place orientation.

She had hoped to return to work as a lawyer, but ongoing issues with short-term memory loss made it impossible.

As her balance has been affected, Mrs McGowan rides a trike now and won’t ride on the road.  

Campaigning for action: Andrew Fuge wants a 1.5m shoulder for cyclists to travel on at Faulconbridge.

Campaigning for action: Andrew Fuge wants a 1.5m shoulder for cyclists to travel on at Faulconbridge.

“Motorists are not considerate or alert,” she said, adding that educating people could help.

Mrs McGowan has thrown her support behind a push to widen the highway at Faulconbridge between Todarello’s fruit house and the Metro Petroleum service station.

“I’m really surprised there hasn’t been more serious injuries in that spot. There must have been so many near misses,” she said.

Newly formed Blue Mountains Cycling Safety Forum is campaigning for the shoulder on this section of the highway to be widened.

In 2016 Hazelbrook cyclist Andrew Fuge was forced off the road to avoid a collision created by traffic trying to get around an east-bound vehicle turning right into the servo.

He crashed, injuring his back, which required heavy duty painkillers for two months to deal with two bulging discs. Thanks to yoga and pilates exercises he has strengthened his back and was able to get on the bike eight months ago.

“I don’t ride on the road much now, more bush, about 70 per cent bush,” Mr Fuge said.

He said it was only a matter of time before there was a fatality on that section of highway.

“Something has to happen before it’s too late,” Mr Fuge said.

“They [RMS] have resurfaced the road but they still can’t do a dedicated shoulder for cyclists, let alone cars breaking down.”

Federal Macquarie MP Susan Templeman said it was “disappointing that an application for Black Spot road funding for this stretch of road, including the entrance to the petrol station, was rejected by the Federal Government earlier this year.”

“The minister advised me that the cost exceeded the Black Spot funding limit of $2 million,” she said.

“So I think, given the danger cyclists face, that an attempt to at least have a widening of the shoulder to allow for a legal distance between vehicles and cyclists should be supported.”

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