Cyclists fight back against Mt Keira Rd ban 

Cyclists Dave Butler, Pat McPherson, Michael Wilson and Ted Booth. Picture: GREG TOTMAN
Cyclists Dave Butler, Pat McPherson, Michael Wilson and Ted Booth. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

Illawarra cyclists are uniting to oppose a ban against riding on the closed Mount Keira Road.

Wollongong City Council has blocked off the nine-kilometre stretch of narrow roadway indefinitely, after geotechnical specialists ruled it unstable and a risk to public safety.

But cyclists have been defying the ban and a group are agitating to be allowed back on the road, which is prized in the cycling community for its good climbing gradient, scenic qualities and protection from sun and wind.

North Wollongong cyclist Ted Booth has been riding up and down the mountain for 15 years and is unperturbed by council geotechnical officer Peter Tobin's suggestion that it is "slowly slipping away" and putting passers-by at risk of injury or death.

"It's not as though there's been a landslip," said Mr Booth, who is also president of South Coast Bushwalkers.

"I think there's two large stones - I wouldn't have called them rocks - on the edge of the road and that's about all that's come down over the last couple of years.

"Sure there's a small subsidence. That's not a danger to cyclists or probably cars - probably [only] to trucks and heavy vehicles.

"There's more risk [to cyclists] riding around Wollongong with trucks and cars than the risk of riding up Mount Keira."

On January 9, Mr Booth, Chris Allan and Werner Steyer of the Illawarra Cycle Club, and councillor George Takacs met council staff - including the director of infrastructure and works, manager of infrastructure strategy and planning, design engineer and Mr Tobin - to express their dissent.

The group are now waiting on a report in which the council experts will explain what needs fixing and how much it will cost.

The council has already spent $1.75 million over the past four years stabilising the roadway.

The road was closed indefinitely shortly before Christmas.

Mr Booth said the earlier investment showed that there was all the more reason to use the road.

"The road is not a risk to walkers and cyclists. And if a large amount of money has been spent upgrading the road, it would be a pity to see it completely blocked off."


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