TWO long distance bicycle riders claim that country drivers are more courteous and patient than city drivers.
With an increasing amount of bikes competing for the same road space as cars, tensions between drivers and cyclists can escalate to dangerous proportions.
Mel Behrens-Macaulay and Andrew Macaulay recently rode 1300km from Hervey Bay to Sydney for an initiative called The Bloody Long Ride.
They claim city drivers are less patient and more dangerous than country drivers.
“On the long haul rides country motorists do not give us any issues,” Mel Behrens-Macaulay said.
“Some city motorists could learn from truck drivers.
“Truck drivers are the best, they move right over, they slow down, and they never give us any trouble.”
Ms Behrens-Macaulay said it is up to riders to be courteous also by riding single file and sticking close together so they are easy to pass.
“We always make sure we do that and it does help to make things easier for both us and motorists,” she said.
Andrew Macaulay said city drivers are definitely more impatient and could learn a thing or two from country drivers about road safety.
“City drivers do not pass wide enough sometimes, they often hurl abuse at us, whereas country drivers often wind their windows down and ask us how we are going and things like that,” he said.
Another pair of seasoned cyclists, Sally Curtis and Deb O’Reilly from southern NSW, believe it’s up to the riders to take relevant safety precautions so that the road can be shared safely.
“My feeling is that if the cyclists do all they can to make themselves visible with the fluro on and the flashing lights on the back … it’s more likely that the drivers of trucks and cars will show you the same amount of courtesy,” Ms Curtis said.
“We’ve found there is a body of people out there that look after cyclists if you do the right thing.”
However, safety precautions are not always enough, said Flynn Transport truck driver Richard Fleming.
Mr Fleming said that, due to the nature of his job, he would frequently contend with bike riders in dangerous situations, particularly on the New England Highway.
“They shouldn’t be on the road unless there is a designated section for them to ride,” Mr Fleming said.
“I have no drama with organised rides where they are monitored and everything is legit.
“The ones I don’t like is when they ride on the road when there’s a bitumen strip … the other thing is we’re actually supposed to be over a metre away from a push bike.
“Fair enough if they’re riding right on that fog line you can still get past quite easily but when they ride out in the lane … I see it all the time.
“Push bikes, I don’t believe they should be on the road.
“If I was riding a push bike I wouldn’t go on those roads [New England Highway] … but it comes down to the local government to provide adequate areas for push bikes to ride on.
“Sometimes there are push bike designated roads and footpaths and they will still ride on the road.”
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