Truck driver charged after collision with 73-year-old cyclist on Oxley Highway in Westdale, Tamworth

Charges laid: The August 29 crash scene at Westdale. Photo: Gareth Gardner
Charges laid: The August 29 crash scene at Westdale. Photo: Gareth Gardner

A TRUCK driver has been charged after a cyclist was critically injured in a collision on a highway on the outskirts of Tamworth.

Police from the Oxley Crash Investigation Unit charged a 43-year-old Willow Tree man on Wednesday following a lengthy investigation into the August 29 collision on the Oxley Highway, near Westdale.

The truck driver was charged with negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm, and driver of motor vehicle not pass bicycle at safe distance.

Police will allege in court the truck driver was negligent and did not leave 1.5m when overtaking the female cyclist on Gunnedah Rd, at about 1.30pm, near the intersection of Flinders St and the Duck Inn Apartments.

The stretch of road has a 70km per hour posted speed limit, and under NSW law, drivers are required to leave 1.5m when passing or overtaking cyclists.

Crash scene: A police officer and witnesses at the site on the Oxley Highway at Westdale on August 29. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Crash scene: A police officer and witnesses at the site on the Oxley Highway at Westdale on August 29. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Following detailed investigations by specialist crash police, including mechanical examinations of the prime mover and the bike and statements from witnesses, officers issued the summons on Wednesday.

Crash investigators served the future court attendance notice to the 43-year-old on Wednesday, ordering him to front Tamworth Local Court in January.

His licence remains current.

Seventy-three-year-old cyclist, Judy Johnstone, was training for the triathlon world masters but fell from her bike during the collision.

 Keen triathlete: Judy Johnstone was training for the world championships before the accident where she suffered serious injuries. Photo: Supplied

Keen triathlete: Judy Johnstone was training for the world championships before the accident where she suffered serious injuries. Photo: Supplied

She suffered seven broken bones or fractures and a bleed on the brain and was rushed to Tamworth hospital in a critical condition. She has since undergone surgery in Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital for her injuries.

In 2016, new laws made it mandatory for drivers to give cyclists one metre of space when passing, if the speed limit is under 60km per hour. Drivers must leave 1.5m if the speed limit is above 60.