News State NSW News Hit-and-runs prompt bike safety demands

Hit-and-runs prompt bike safety demands

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A shocking year for cyclist fatalities in NSW has prompted calls for urgent government action on bike safety.

The number of cyclists who died on NSW roads doubled in 2013, with 14 lives lost compared with seven in 2012.

Cyclist-related crashes have continued in the new year, with two hit-and-run crashes in one day.

A woman was in intensive care on Sunday night after a truck hit the back of her bike at Kemps Creek in Sydney’s west.

Police are still searching for the truck driver.

On the same day a cyclist was injured in a hit-and-run at Helensburgh, south of Sydney.

He suffered multiple fractures and was also placed in intensive care.

Police believe that they have found the car involved in the crash.

A 23-year-old woman is assisting police, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Greens NSW transport spokesman Mehreen Faruqi wants to see a road rule recommending a one-metre passing distance between drivers and cyclists enforced in legislation.

The Greens put forward a notice to introduce a bill regarding the one-metre rule in state parliament last July.

“It is clear that there is a problem in NSW regarding the safety of cyclists, with the number of cyclist deaths doubling in 2013,” Dr Faruqi said in a statement.

“This doesn’t even include the instances of regular harassment and near misses that cyclists deal with each day.

“These two last terrible instances of hit-and-runs on cyclists reveal the very real risks cyclists take every day.”

Advocacy group The Amy Gillett Foundation has led a campaign with Bicycle NSW also calling for a one-metre rule to be legislated.

Amy Gillett was an Australian competitive cyclist hit and killed by a motorist while cycling in Germany in 2005.

Bicycle NSW CEO Alex Unwin said anything ensuring a greater distance between vehicles and cyclists was clearly a good thing.

“And one thing we can do is to legislate to ensure that distance is left,” he told AAP.

Comment has been sought from Roads Minister Duncan Gay.

A Transport NSW spokeswoman said the department was working on a cycling safety strategy with the aim of reducing deaths and serious injuries by 30 per cent by 2021.

She said in a statement rules were being developed for drivers around sharing the road with bike riders “highlighting key safety tips such as passing cyclists safely”.

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