Cycling On Danger

Cycling, News, Sport — By on May 10, 2012 11:52 PM

By THEO PANAGOPOULOS

Adelaide cyclists are pushing for greater education of other road users as their ongoing dispute with motorists is putting road safety on the red.

According to Adelaide Cyclists, a leading cyclists group, it is motorists who are breaking the rules most of the time and putting cyclists in danger.

Heather, a member of this leading cyclists group and advocate for cyclists says it’s important to educate drivers on cyclists’ rights so that everyone can share the road safely.

One of the main problems according to Heather is that many motorists are unaware that they should allow enough space between themselves and cyclists.

“Too many drivers do not leave a minimum of one metre when overtaking cyclists,” Heather says.

According to the South Australian Road Traffic Act, two cyclists are allowed to ride side by side but must not have more than 1.5 metres between them.

Heather says cyclists have many concerns about the behaviour of motorists including “dooring”, which is the opening of car doors.

The list of other offences reported by cyclists is extensive and the number of accidents or incidents is rising.

Modbury cyclist, Mr Clive Balfrey, says drivers are putting cyclists in serious risks with their inconsiderate driving.

“They tend to break in front of you or they attempt to turn in front of you and once I broke my arm because of that,” Mr Balfrey says.

The speed at which motorists overtake cyclists is also a major concern.

Redwood Park cyclist, Ms Kylie Smith says that sometimes drivers are too keen to overtake cyclists without realising how fast they are actually going.

“By the time a driver starts turning in front us it’s too late to react if we ride 40 to 50kms per hour which gives us no chance to stop in time,” Kylie says.

As cyclists struggle with drivers’ offences, they also deal with many forms of harassment such as water bottles or verbal abuse.

“I was riding uphill and a vehicle swerved towards me and next thing I know, someone grabbed my buttocks,” Heather says.

However not everyone is as sympathetic about cyclists on our roads.

Many motorists complain about dangerous practices from cyclists who put road users at risk.

A major issue motorists have is that most cyclists don’t stick to their bike lane even when it is safe to do so.

Most major roads around Adelaide provide bike lanes which operate at either certain times or at all times.

On weekends, major routes such as Military Road or Henley Beach Road become very busy with groups of cyclists who according to drivers are not following the rules.

Keswick resident Lula Raftopoulos who drives her son to soccer training at West Lakes every weekend believes cyclists are extremely inconsiderate.

“Every Saturday I drive along Military Road.”

“And although there is a bike lane I struggle because cyclists occupy a whole car lane which makes me do dangerous manoeuvres to avoid them,” she says.

Glen Smith from Linden Park says he is fed up with inconsiderate cyclists.

“During the Tour Down Under they ride five abreast on the road and they occupy the whole lane, something which is illegal.”

“But what really gets me is that if you say something to them you either cop the finger or verbal abuse,” he says.

The Adelaide Cyclists Traffic Watch page is operating in conjunction with SAPOL Traffic Watch Reporting Scheme.

Although Adelaide Cyclists want to promote drivers’ education, the Traffic Watch page on their website condemns bad driving at the moment and only provides information on how to report dangerous motorists. 8

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