RISKY RIDE: Nathan Beard of Grafton City Cycles on the side of the Lawrence Rd, where cyclists share the narrow road with motorists. Photo: Adam Hourigan
RISKY RIDE: Nathan Beard of Grafton City Cycles on the side of the Lawrence Rd, where cyclists share the narrow road with motorists. Photo: Adam Hourigan

Lawrence Rd not big enough for cyclists and motorists

CYCLISTS and motorists have come to a consensus that the road to Lawrence isn't big enough for the two of them, but neither is speeding towards a resolution.

Lawrence resident Riley French took to social media this week with a suggestion that cyclists be banned from riding on Lawrence Rd, which has a speed limit of 100kmh, due to the associated dangers to both motorists and the cyclists themselves.

The main causes cited were the width of the road, absence of a shoulder and poor vision in times of fog.

As well as experiencing some close calls himself, Mr French said most people he talked with in the region had near-misses with

cyclists at least once a week.

"The road (is) barely wide enough for two cars, let alone up to 20 cyclists taking up a whole lane, doing no more than 30kmh," he said.

"If you come around a corner doing the speed limit and a car is coming the other way, there is nowhere to go. Do you hit the cyclists, or hit the other car?

"You've got to look out for them but it's hard to if you don't know they're there; that's when you get a close call.

"It is only a matter of time until someone is killed. No-one wants to kill someone or end up in an accident. "

Mr French said he thought something needed to be done to improve conditions on rural roads if cyclists were to continue riding on them, for the protection of both parties.

Another solution would be to put a sign next to the road notifying people that they are there for a ride.

It is only a matter of time until someone is killed. No-one wants to kill someone or end up in an accident.

"I've got no problem with them being on the road, I just think they need to be more responsible about it," he said.

Grafton City Cycles co-owner Nathan Beard agreed there was cause for concern and understood where motorists were coming from, but said trying to ban cyclists from the road wasn't the answer.

He said cyclists who used the road realised it was quite narrow and tried their best to avoid conflict by riding early in the morning.

"We've tried to change our habits because we realise the traffic isn't what it used to be," Mr Beard said.

"Over the past five years there has been more traffic - things have changed.

"There are some cyclists who will give the rest a bit of a bad name but normally bunches will head out along the road at (about) 6am."

The reason cyclists prefer Lawrence Rd over other regional roads is the fact that it is a flat, fairly straight route to Kelsall's Hill.

"This discussion is good and what we want as well; cars and us are not working together on this road, and we want something done," Mr Beard said.

"It's a road we can all use and we have to work out the best way to do it together.

"A cycle path put in would be an ideal situation, or actually put a bit of shoulder on the road."

Clarence Valley Council works and civil director Troy Anderson said he was not aware of any requests for a cycleway on the Lawrence Rd in the two years he had been at council.

He said people needed to make formal submissions to council for cycleways or other road improvements.

"We don't and can't monitor social media for everything council-related," he said.

"People need to put in formal submissions, and that hasn't happened."

Mr Anderson said there would be an enormous cost in providing a cycleway to Lawrence and even in the event it was approved, it might not be used.



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