Australian Facilities

Sydney cycleway trap for cyclists

A CONFIDENTIAL safety report labels one of Sydney's cycleways a potential deathtrap.

The report identifies at least 10 hazards capable of killing cyclists.

The report, commissioned by Sydney City Council and obtained by The Australian, identified a further 55 hazards capable of injuring cyclists severely enough to require hospital treatment, and seven that could require first aid.

The potential liability assigned by the report, should all the accidents occur once, would be in excess of $440 million. The report relates to a site inspection in May, two months after the cycleway was opened with much fanfare.

However, when contacted by The Australian last week, the council could provide no assurance that the specific dangers identified in the report had been fixed. A visit to the bikeway by The Australian showed no sign of them being corrected.

The revelations come in the wake of widespread public concern over the safety and utility of Sydney Mayor Clover Moore's $76m plan to build 200km of bike paths across the CBD.

Cycling enthusiast Camille Day, 28, began biking around Sydney at age 12 and now rides more than 200km per week.

Ms Day said yesterday she avoided cycleways because they were slow and unsafe. "You can be rolling up to an intersection and all of a sudden a car will turn in front of you and you have to slam on your brakes," she said. "You're safer on the road for sure."

Her comments were echoed by coach and bike-store owner Frank Conceicao, who has twice travelled as a mechanic with the Australian Olympic team. "I think the council has done an appalling job of designing its cycle lanes," he said.

In a press release issued the day of the Bourke Road cycleway's opening, the Mayor and federal Transport and Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese lauded the project for increasing safety, creating jobs and promoting healthier lifestyles.

A City of Sydney spokesperson, asked to explain what council had done to address outstanding problems with the Bourke Road cycleway more than six months after it opened, said: "Works have been assessed and prioritised and will be completed as quickly as possible to finalise the project."

Hazards listed range from bus shelter advertising obscuring cyclists' view of pedestrian crossings, to uneven surfaces and problems at driveways and intersections.