Abby Turner and Thomas George .
Abby Turner and Thomas George . Jay Cronan

A path for all to share

ABBY Turner loves to shop but she had to get the rules changed so she could get to Lismore Square.

Unfortunately for the 27-year-old Lismore woman, she has been unable to get to the shopping centre easily because of the lack of bike paths on Ballina Rd.

Abby has a hearing-impairment and rides a tricycle to get around town. NSW road rules require any rider of a cycle who is 12 years or older not to ride on a footpath.

"We drove around town and worked out where all the bike paths were and that's where she would ride," her mum Wendy said, interpreting for Abby.

"But she can't get to the square because it means she has to go along Ballina Rd."

So Abby started a writing campaign to Lismore council and the mayor, Jenny Dowell who encouraged her to get in contact with State MP Thomas George.

"I am unable to balance on a bicycle so I have an adult tricycle," she wrote to Mr George.

"I am deaf, my trike is wide and I don't feel safe riding on the road."

Abby asked if the law could be changed so that people with mobility issues could use the footpath on slow vehicles with wheels.

"I contacted the Minister for Roads and Ports, Duncan Gay," Mr George said.

"And he has used his ministerial power to grant this exemption to the relevant road rule."

The exemption comes into effect in February and means Abby and other cyclists with a disability will be able to ride a cycle safely on a footpath. They will need a letter from a qualified medical practitioner .

Mr Gay confirmed that while riding on the footpath all cyclists must still ride at a safe speed and be aware of pedestrians.

And the first place Abby will be travelling to in February?

"Oh she'll be going up to the square," Wendy laughed.



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