NSW Cyclists' Anger Over Bad Drivers

Wheels of Justice reports that cyclists in Griffith (NSW) are having a very hard time dealing with a spate of senseless attacks from drivers and near-misses in recent weeks. Of course, Wheels of Justice writes from a cyclists point of view, and tends to ignore the plea from drivers that simply beg cyclist not to hold up traffic.
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Ninety per cent of the drivers out there are great but 9 per cent are completely ignorant and don’t give us enough room. And then there is 1 percent that are just mad and scare cyclists for fun by swerving and chucking bottles,” Grifith bike enthusiast Milt McFarlane said.

What Mr McFarlane tends to ignore is that those percentages tend to apply also to Cyclists. 90% of them stick to the left and ride as fast as they can on roads where laws of physics allow for a cyclist and a car to coexist. 9% of them are simply rude, they bypass traffic through cars and on the foot path when it suits them, and 1% don't care about their lives, they take up a whole lane, lean on your car, and run red lights and swear at you if you try to pass them.

Mr McFarlane also wants cars to move to an entirely separate lane before passing a cyclist (if possible). This is a great idea, but of course if this was possible in the first place, it wouldn't be an issue! The issues arise when Cyclists hold up traffic (most of the time unwillingly) and as cars try to pass them one by one it slows down an entire road. Over time these type of events build up driver irritation that tends to explode on one unfortunate cyclists time to time.

“Most of the drivers aren’t too bad but you do get some irate drivers that beep the horn, wave at you and yell out at you. People really need to realise that people can legally ride two abreast.” Mr McFarlane said.

Some cyclists even report that they've been hit by bottles thrown at them by passing cars. It hasn't taken long for the NRMA to get involved and Graham Blight (NRMA director) has commented on this issue:

“It is a major concern. There are a lot more bicycles on the road than a few years ago and cyclists need to make sure they are well lit up. That behaviour (throwing bottles) is just not acceptable behaviour. They must be louts and it must give them some sort of thrill. And unfortunately there will always be some people that don’t drive safely and we all have to cope with them.”

Whilst cyclists are here to stay, it shouldn't take away our right, as the drivers who are ultimately responsible for their safety on the road, to protest their lousy riding habits and behaviours. The rules are simple:

  • if a bike way exists, use it,
  • stay to the left at all costs
  • don't weave through traffic
  • don't break the road rules and then insist we follow them

Whilst the rules say cyclists should be given the same right as any other car - its obvious that this generally never happens in reality. I believe that as time goes, more and more cyclists will hit the road and its the responsibility of both the Cyclists and the State governments to insure that sufficient road space exists for cyclists to ride safely. Some roads are simply not cyclist friendly and its time some of these riders realise this and avoid these roads for their own safety