‘Unsafe’: Group lodges human rights complaint over Sydney bike lane

A group of residents in one of Sydney’s wealthiest suburbs have lodged a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission over a busy bicycle lane they claim is “unsafe” to the public.

The complaint centres around island bus stops along the city’s distinctive Oxford St, which are positioned away from the footpath in the new separate cycleway being developed by the City of Sydney council.

The group, which includes former city councillor Kathryn Greiner, claim the bicycle lane is unsafe for the community and especially for older and disabled people.

Speaking on the Today show with Michael Waterhouse – who is understood to be leading the complaint – she said the Human Rights Commission was the right place to raise the complaint.

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Michael Waterhouse and Kathryn Greiner told the Today show the cycleway was unsafe for everyone in the community – especially the old and disabled. Supplied / Today Credit: Channel 9

“The basic principle of a transport program should be safety for all,” she told host Karl Stefanovic on Tuesday.

“But older people, disabled people, people with mobility, sight and even hearing issues are severely discriminated against in the traffic proposal.”

Mr Waterhouse, who revealed he had some deafness and used a hearing aid, said he was worried cyclists would not stop in time for blind or deaf people who needed to cross the cycleway to get to the new bus stop.

He referenced accidents and near-misses in the UK – something also detailed in the group’s human rights complaint.

“Blind people or deaf people … crossing the pedestrian crossing who don’t realise that cyclists could be coming at them from either direction at a given point in time,” Mr Waterhouse told the program.

“You simply don’t hear cyclists coming. You don’t hear the bell, so it’s a major problem.”

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Concept images for the Oxford St west cycleway under development. Supplied / City of Sydney Credit: Supplied

sport, news, australia, cycling, nsw news, politics, state politics, tas news, ‘unsafe’: group lodges human rights complaint over sydney bike lane

The council says the Oxford St west cycleway will have marked pedestrian crossings for its two bus stop platforms. Supplied / City of Sydney Credit: Supplied

Mr Waterhouse said a recent survey in the UK found 60 per cent of London cyclists don’t stop for pedestrians at crossings with the same bus stops.

Construction on the Oxford St west cycleway started earlier this year, with the City of Sydney council revealing the project involved work between Castlereagh St and Taylor Square from their end.

The NSW State Government’s Oxford St east project will be built between Taylor Square and Paddington Gates.

“This dedicated cycleway will give thousands of people confidence to safely get around on two wheels,” Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore said in March.

Ms Greiner said the area was becoming “highly-developed” and the project needed more light shone on it.

“Not only is it dangerous for older people … these kinds of bus lanes are really ferociously difficult for older people to abide by,” she said.

A City of Sydney spokesman said the cycleway was a “critical” investment in the safety of people walking and riding.

The council said the project underwent extensive community consultation prior to construction.

“The bus stop platforms along Oxford St have been designed to meet current safety and accessibility requirements. They include fencing between riders and those waiting for buses, which will increase safety,” the spokesman said.

“This platform fencing also guides people to use the marked cycleway crossings, making the movement of people walking and riding more predictable.

“Importantly, by moving bus stops to dedicated platforms, it reduces clutter and crowding on the footpaths.”

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