A POPULAR stretch of road for cyclists riding the district's Wangoom Training Circuit will be widened to include bike lanes.
Cyclists ride on a narrow 1.7-kilometre stretch of Wangoom Road, west of Horne Road, where vehicles have limited road space to overtake.
But Regional Roads Victoria chief roads officer Paul Northey said the shared Warrnambool City-Moyne Shire Council road would receive $455,000 to be widened and sealed at the shoulders to Aberline Road, creating bike lanes.
The Aberline Road-Wiggs Lane intersection, where the city council is aware of "a small number of instances" when motorists failed to give way, will also receive new turning lanes and street lighting.
Warrnambool Cycling Reference Group chair Richard Adams welcomed the planned bike lanes after lobbying to have the district's roads upgraded for cyclists.
"It's probably the most ridden on bit of road in the district. Even if someone goes out and does another loop," Mr Adams said.
The planned bike lanes will join with existing lanes from Wangoom to Horne Road.
Mr Adams said up to 100 cyclists used the training circuit on early mornings ahead of competitions, but he and fellow bike riders had experienced "close calls" while sharing the road's narrow section with motorists.
"I'm often riding straight into the sunrise. Sometimes it can almost be blinding," Mr Adams said.
"Once you get onto the bike lane you're okay, but for that part where you have no bike lane, you feel pretty vulnerable because you know the drivers coming up behind have the sun in their eyes."
The funding comes as an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report this week found the number of hospital admissions of cyclists over 45 years of age jumped more than 450 per cent in a 17-year period since 1999.
Mr Adams said the sport had seen a growth in "middle-aged men in Lycra".
"I think that's a good thing for people's health, but with growing traffic congestion the two conflict. It just shows the importance of better infrastructure," he said.
"I'm a driver as well, and you want to create an environment where drivers feel they are not putting cyclists at risk."
A Warrnambool City Council spokesperson said the upgrade would be included in the council's 2019-2020 capital works.
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