Following the death of a bike rider on Double Bay’s New South Head Road late last year, Bicycle Network has been pushing decision-makers for an urgent fix.
Within days of the incident and thanks to the support of our members in NSW, Bicycle Network completed a report outlining the safety issues created by construction site hoardings that had the effect of forcing people riding bikes further into traffic.
These hoardings were modified within three weeks of the report being shared with members of parliament and council.
Bicycle Network also wants to see funding for long overdue safety improvements to New South Road aimed at reducing the risk for people who ride bikes now and in to the future.
The treacherous stretch of road is the missing link in Sydney’s cycling network. It serves as the only direct connection to the city from Watsons Bay, Vaucluse, Rose Bay and Double Bay.
Currently, it does not have any protected on-road bike facilities or off-road alternatives for bike riders to be separate from traffic.
Following the crash, Bicycle Network was also extremely disappointed with the insufficient answers from the NSW Minister for Rods, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavy in response to questions posed in parliament by independent MP Alex Greenwich.
Alex Greenwich MP, Independent Member for Sydney, posed the following questions to the NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight on 22 November, 2017:
What plans does the Government have to improve safety on New South Head Road?
What funds has the Government allocated to safety measures for New South Head Road?
Does the Government support a separated cycle path on this route?
What consultation with Woollahra Council, pedestrian and cycling groups has the Government carried out?
What further action will the Government take to improve safety and prevent further deaths on New South Head Road?
On December 21, 2017, the following answer was provided by Melinda Pavy MP:
“I am advised: Roads and Maritime Services and the Government continuously look for opportunities to improve road safety. Roads and Maritime is regularly in contact with Woollahra Municipal Council and other stakeholders about several New South Head Road safety projects. The Government has also funded several projects to improve safety on this road.
Roads and Maritime is funding $176,000 for pedestrian improvements at the signalised intersection of New South Head and Victoria Roads, Bellevue Hill.
Roads and Maritime will continue to work with the Woollahra Municipal Council to investigate options to construct a bicycle path and improve safety on New South Head Road.”
It took two years for Woollahra Council to consult the public on a bike path following the death of Henri Sueke on New South Head Road in 2015.
Consultation resulted in community and local business objection to any change that may reduce on street parking or involve the shared use of footpaths. As a result, the project stalled.
While pedestrian upgrades are welcome, people who ride bikes cannot afford to wait on bureaucracy while their lives remain at risk.
Slower speeds and a fully funded, protected and connected cycle route along New South Head Road must be a high priority for the State Government and Woollahra Council.