New project aiming to improve cycle safety in the Hunter

The Hunter’s hospitals are linking up with local councils in a bid to make cycling safer.

The Safer Cycle Ways project is looking at ways to prevent cycling injuries by working with councils. Currently, local governments are responsible for making roads, cycleways and footpaths and traditionally receive little feedback following an accident.

If a cyclist ends up in the emergency department after and accident on a cycleway, footpath or road they’ll be asked about any factors which could have impacted their crash, like fences, rails or surfaces.

The feedback will be made anonymous and passed onto Newcastle and Lake Macquarie councils to help them plan safer cycling infrastructure and cut back on the more than 12,000 Australian’s hospitalised each year from these types of accidents.

Hunter New England Health’s project lead Simon Davidson is all too familiar with cycling accident, having been hit himself by an opening car door.

“People are avoiding cycling to work because they don’t feel save and this is leading to increased traffic, parking issues and less physical activity,” Mr Davidson said.

It’s hoped the project goes towards changing attitudes and improving the safety and move-ability of cyclists in the region.

72-year-old John Lean was interviewed for the project after he slid on railway lines in wet weather, breaking his pelvis.

“Anything that leads to any sort of improved safety is worthwhile participating in.

“Some hazards can be easily fixed with small changes in infrastructure such as rubber grips,” Mr Leans said.