Plan to unite cyclists and motorists

Wheels in motion: Paul Hillbrick says a simple solution would benefit both motorists and cyclists. Picture: Chris Lane

Wheels in motion: Paul Hillbrick says a simple solution would benefit both motorists and cyclists. Picture: Chris Lane

There’s often a lot of friction between cyclists and motorists.

But owner of Hillbrick Bicycles, Paul Hillbrick, believes a simple project would unite all road users in Macarthur.

The most common route used by cyclists in the region is the Narellan Road, Camden Bypass, Finns Road and Menangle Road loop.

There are cycleways along most of the route in Campbelltown and Camden, however Mr Hillbrick said the section of road between Bridgewater and south to the Nepean River/Menangle crossing created an issue when it came to coexistence.

“The roads in Wollondilly don’t have a decent shoulder,” he said.

“If they made the shoulder one metre wider, it would get bikes off the road and onto the shoulder itself.

“We really need about a one metre shoulder all the way along the loop.

“Maybe Wollondilly Council could ask the state member (Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell) if he could get some money (for the project).”

With virtually no road shoulder, riders are forced onto the road along Menangle Road, Menangle. Picture: Google Maps

With virtually no road shoulder, riders are forced onto the road along Menangle Road, Menangle. Picture: Google Maps

Mr Rowell said he was happy to support the calls and didn’t think the proposal would receive much opposition from his parliamentary colleagues.

“I’m happy to speak to Mr Hillbrick, come up with a plan then arrange a meeting with the (relevant) minister,” he said.

“I don’t imagine it would cost that much and it would also resolve those safety issues.”

Mr Hillbrick said he was “more than happy” to lend Mr Rowell a bicycle and go for a ride with him on the stretch of road to demonstrate the dangers.

However, Mr Rowell politely declined the invitation and the opportunity to don some lycra.

“I won’t be getting in lyrca – that’s not happening. That would be visual pollution,” he joked.

The relationship between motorists and cyclists has often been fractious.

In March last year the state government introduced a number of changes that aimed to provide greater protection for cyclists and crack down on riders who did the wrong thing.

There is little room for error along Finns Road, Menangle. Picture: Google Maps

There is little room for error along Finns Road, Menangle. Picture: Google Maps

One of those changes saw the fines for cyclists caught not wearing a helmet rise from $71 to $319.

Almost 1300 more fines for the offence were issued since the changes were introduced compared to the previous year – adding an additional $1.65 million to state government coffers.

Mr Hillbrick said the fine for not wearing a helmet would be a lot cheaper than the medical bills that would occur following an accident.

“What does a neurosurgeon charge? It would probably be a lot more than $320 to fix your head up after hitting the ground (without a helmet on),” he said.

“From a common sense point of view, wearing a helmet is a good idea.”

The road shoulder is narrow along Remembrance Drive, just south of Bridgewater, meaning cyclists are forced to ride close to motorists travelling 100km/h. Picture: Google Maps

The road shoulder is narrow along Remembrance Drive, just south of Bridgewater, meaning cyclists are forced to ride close to motorists travelling 100km/h. Picture: Google Maps

Mr Hillbrick also said he had noticed a difference since drivers were forced to leave a mandatory gap between riders while passing.

“I have seen this is action and it’s been working from my observations,” he said.

“People are more aware of the Metre Matters campaign.

“But there are still some people who want to go past with a cigarette paper-sized gap between them (and the rider).

“That 30 seconds of madness when someone wants to declare jihad against riders can change lives.”

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