RTA ban leaves cyclists stranded
THE Pacific Highway at Chinderah is not a cycling black spot, according to Tweed riders.
But following the death of cyclist Neville Salmon on June 14, the Road and Traffic Authority (RTA) have restricted riders from travelling on the stretch of highway from the Waugh Street exit at Chinderah to Banora Point, about 2.5km.
“Neville’s death was a tragic accident, but the road is not a black spot,” Tweed Heads cyclist and road bike racer Steve Chilcott said.
“I’ve been riding it for six months and I’ve never had a close call.
“It’s a popular road and a lot of people ride and train on it every week.
“The restriction was just a knee-jerk reaction to what happened.”
Mr Salmon, a well-known Kingscliff resident, succumbed to severe head injuries he sustained following a collision with a B-double truck while cycling on the Pacific Highway, just south of Barneys Point bridge on June 2.
“I ride that road every day of the week,” said Mr Chilcott, who will now be facing a daily commute through Tumbulgum if he chooses to continue riding to work.
“I live in Tweed Heads and work at the TAFE at Kingscliff. There’s no other alternative except Terranora Road through Tumbulgum.”
According to Mr Chilcott the footpath is not suitable for bikes. “There’s a footpath that runs across the bridge, but it has a really bad access ramp and it’s a bad footpath to ride on.
“It’s not a bike I would ride on it; it’s worth about $3000 and others are worth far more.”
Mr Chilcott noticed the new signage, which says “No bicycles beyond this point”, early last week.
“There’s plenty of road to ride on. There’s almost a full lane for cyclists on the bridge.
“I’ve spoken to members of the Murwillumbah Cycling Club and they aren’t happy about it either.”
Mr Salmon’s death was a reminder to riders of how dangerous cycling can be.
“Considering how many people use the road it’s been a wake-up call,” Mr Chilcott said.
He added the most important thing for cyclists was to ensure they were always kitted out with safety equipment such as reflectors and lights.
Mr Chilcott said he went to the office of Tweed MP Geoff Provest about the restriction, but they were not aware of the changes.
The RTA was yesterday unavailable for comment.