Macarthur cyclists renew calls for safer areas to ride

Candid camera: Cyclists like Peter Southby, Bill Thompson and Lorraine Werry have taken to installing cameras on their bikes to ensure their safety. Picture Simon Bennett
Candid camera: Cyclists like Peter Southby, Bill Thompson and Lorraine Werry have taken to installing cameras on their bikes to ensure their safety. Picture Simon Bennett

Many drivers have taken to installing dashcams on their cars to ensure accidents are caught on camera.

After two serious incidents on Macarthur roads, local cyclists are now doing the same thing.

Elderslie resident Peter Southby witnessed the incidents between cyclists and motorists in recent months.

“On both occasions the drivers failed to stop after hitting the cyclists,” he said.

Mr Southby said he installed the camera on his bike after the second incident.

“In the 30 or 40 years I’ve been riding out here, traffic has increased dramatically but there is no signage to make drivers aware of cyclists on some of the older roads,” he said.

“On newer roads or where upgrades have happened there are big bikes painted in the breakdown lanes or on bike lanes.

“We try and stick to the shoulders so that we don’t aggravate drivers – but we want people to know that a lot of us have cameras on our bikes now.”

Mr Southby said he had noticed more cyclists on the road since the closure of the mountain bike track at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan last year.

The track was closed after a large infestation of the African Olive weed had to be removed, resulting in damage to the track.

Wollondilly Macarthur Mountain Bike Club member Andrew Steele said the club was working with botanic garden management to reopen the track.

“With great support from Camden MP Chris Patterson the club also met with the Minister for Office of Environment and Heritage Gabrielle Upton and her staff in May to discuss the need to have the trail reopened,” he said.

“We have discussed potential solutions such as bypassing the affected sections of the trail or reopening unaffected sections.

“We also offered the assistance of club volunteers for the required works and future trail maintenance.

“[We] understand the Garden plans to restore and revegetate the hillside and that the trail is a part of this plan.

“There is a significant budget required to complete the restoration works although only a very small amount of this budget would be required for the trail itself.

“We are not looking for lots of money or resources to be allocated to the trail – we just wish to see the only sanctioned mountain bike trail in south-western Sydney returned to the community and the growing number of mountain bike riders across Sydney.”

Camden MP Chris Patterson urged concerned cyclists to get in touch with him about signage options or the mountain bike trail.

“If cyclists would like to let me know the specific areas of concern on local roads I will contact the RMS or the appropriate minister,” he said.

“I have already been working closely with the mountain bike club and the botanic gardens about the track.

“It is not a simple issue – the track needs to be safe and we are working toward a secure outcome for all.”

An Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan spokeswoman said a lack of funding was the reason the track remained closed.