POLL: Call to make cycle buffer compulsory

A shocking year for cyclist fatalities has prompted the NSW Greens to call on the state government to introduce a new law requiring motorists to maintain a gap of at least one metre between themselves and bicycle riders.

The push comes after two cyclists were hurt in hit-and-run crashes on Sunday, including 58-year-old Brendan Braid who was struck while riding on the Old Princes Highway near Helensburgh.

Mr Braid is still recovering in intensive care at St George Hospital after suffering cracked lower vertebrae, internal bleeding, a broken ankle, broken leg, and extensive grazing and bruising.

Following an appeal to the public to locate the alleged driver, police yesterday confirmed a 23-year-old woman was assisting them with inquires.

However, police said the woman was not at a police station, and it could be weeks before anyone was charged.

Also on Sunday, a woman was placed in intensive care after a truck hit the back of her bike at Kemps Creek in Sydney's west. Police are still searching for the truck driver.

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Adding to the push for better laws and infrastructure was the revelation the number of cyclists who died on NSW roads doubled in 2013, with 14 lives lost compared with seven in 2012.

The state government recommends motorists be a metre away when passing cyclists, but no law exists requiring them to.

Wollongong Greens councillor George Takacs, who is also a cyclist, said much could be done in Illawarra to improve cyclists' safety.

He supported more cyclist safety signs, and said Lawrence Hargrave Drive, a popular route for bicycle riders, could be widened in parts.

"I go up Lawrence Hargrave Drive and once you get from Thirroul north it can be quite hairy at times," Cr Takacs said.

"There is actually scope to widen that road a bit ... there are a lot of places where the [Roads and Maritime Services] could make it wider with minimal effort."

A Transport for NSW spokeswoman said work was already under way to improve safety for cyclists throughout the state, including projects with advocacy group the Amy Gillett Foundation.

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

The spokeswoman said last year, the Centre for Road Safety committed $400,000 to promote bicycle safety between the cycling community and motorists, through the Amy Gillett Foundation's "Stop On Red" and "A Metre Matters" campaigns.


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