Wednesday 20 February – Legislative Council

The Hon. JOHN AJAKA: “My question is addressed to the Minister for Roads and Ports. Can the Minister for Roads and Ports update the House on cyclist safety on our roads?”

The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: “As members know, road safety is an area of great concern for me. I know The Greens will be interested in my answer, as they have asked similar questions. Members may have seen over the past few weeks reports in the media of cyclists involved in accidents on our roads. Most recently we heard the tragic story of Marc Simone who, on a training ride in Sydney’s west over the weekend, was knocked off his bike and died. I am sad to report that the latest statistics show four cyclist deaths in the first two months of 2013. This is a worrying number of accidents, given a total of seven fatalities occurred in 2012. I take this opportunity to urge both cyclists and motorists to stay alert and be safe on our roads, to be vigilant about their surroundings and to show respect and courtesy to other road users, whether they are motorists, cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians or drivers of heavy vehicles. As cyclists are difficult to see on the road, motorists should be on the lookout for cyclists and be prepared to slow down. Cyclists also need to play their part in reducing their vulnerability on the road by wearing the appropriate gear, following the road rules and taking particular care when travelling at high speeds.

The Government is addressing this spike in cyclist fatalities. We are working with roads authorities, local government and cycling bodies to improve cyclist safety and cycling infrastructure. The Long Term Transport Master Plan outlines the Government’s plan for a connected cycling network and a long-term cycling investment program. We are looking ahead to increase the amount of bicycle trips in the greater metropolitan region of Sydney, to create more opportunities to cycle around Sydney, and to encourage cycling as a safe and efficient alternative transport mode. The Government also is working with local government and the bicycle community to assess bicycle routes and address the maintenance and upgrade of cycling facilities. In particular, I note that the New South Wales Centre for Road Safety is partnering with the Amy Gillet Foundation to help raise awareness among cyclists about safety on the road.

Educational campaigns and presentations have been planned to promote and communicate bicycle safety to other road users. With the growing number of cyclists in our community, I ask all road users to ensure they take care, respect other road users and travel safely. As members know, pedestrians’ lack of hearing due to the wearing of listening devices is a problem. Although I have no details to support this, I wonder whether that is also a problem among cyclists. We know that mobile phones affect the attention of drivers. We do know there has been an increase in cyclist fatalities, and we are very concerned about it.”

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