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Cyclists push for safety improvements

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Cycle enthusiasts from all over the Blue Mountains have started a campaign in the hope of improving safety on the Great Western Highway at Faulconbridge.

Coordinator of the Blue Mountains Cycling Safety Forum (BMCSF), David Tritton, said the forum launched the campaign recently because of particular road shoulders in Faulconbridge that don’t meet current road standards.

“We want the shoulders between the Fruit House and the Metro Petroleum on both sides of the road upgraded,” he said.

“On high-speed roads, Austroads recommends shoulders should be sealed and at least two metres wide.

“There’s been too many near misses and two instances where cyclists have actually been seriously hurt.”

Mr Tritton, who is part of Springwood Cycling Club, said he rides for both enjoyment and as a way of commuting to work.

Working as a solicitor in Sydney, he often travels from his home in Faulconbridge to Sydney, by bike.

“The ride takes me about three and a half hours,” he said.

“I find it relaxing and I do it for fitness and mental health.

“Living in the Mountains you find that there are a lot of people who have to combine exercise with commuting because there isn’t time to do both.”

Mr Tritton said that due to the unsafe highway shoulders in his local area, cyclists are forced to ride in the high-speed traffic lane.

“The area cannot be avoided by cyclists as there is no alternate road route,” he said.

“Motorists can’t comply with the law of giving cyclists 1.5 metre clearance when there is no shoulder, it’s impossible. The cars come up behind us and they have no escape, the car is then forced to slam on their brakes.

“Our concern is unless the problem is fixed a fatality is likely to occur.”

The forum’s campaign suggests immediate action is taken to rectify the lack of shoulder immediately west of Bellevue Street.

It also suggests that the blind corner in the westbound lane needs to be corrected.

Forum members are due to meet with the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, regarding the safety issues next week. To follow the BMCSF campaign, visit their Facebook page.