Why Do Drivers Hate Cyclists?

Cyclists are facing tougher penalties under New South Wales' new bike laws, revealing an ongoing war of the roads. Just what is it about riders that make car drivers see red? Overall, the cyclist versus driver debate is a classic example of in-groups versus out-groups.

Bike image from Shutterstock

While there are many changes, some of the more vague are increased fines for riding a bicycle "furiously, recklessly, or negligently" (from A$71 to A$425). To put this into perspective, many of these new fines carry the same weight as drivers doing 80 km per hour in a 60 km/h zone (A$446) or up to 59 km/h past children in a school zone.

Cycling has witnessed a mini-renaissance in Australian cities over the last few years. However, this has been accompanied by the perception of an increase in cyclist-related incidents. A brief look at the comments section of any news article about these new laws will reveal a polarised set of views about cyclists.

As a result, state governments have increased fines and penalties for cyclists who violate rules to bring them into line with motorists.

Much of the communication around the laws is linked to an abstract argument of safety. The implicit assumption has been that cyclist behaviour up to this point has been unsafe – a claim that is arguably false. So why do drivers hate cyclists?

Safety first

Studies have shown that the perception of pedestrians being in danger from cyclists is far greater than actual risks. In fact, the risk is so remote that cyclist-pedestrian regulations have not been included in policy.

In the vast majority of accidents involving cars and cyclists, the driver is at fault. While some cyclists misbehave, cyclists in general pose next to no threat.

But in the debate about the new policies it is clear that there is a very strong anti-cycling segment in the community.

To identify exactly the sources of frustration for motorists, we did a study in 2015 to examine a range of 26 behaviours that drivers face daily, ranking them from most to least frustrating.

The most frustrating behaviours were almost always those of other drivers (the most annoying were getting cut off, tailgated, blocked at an intersection, or overtaken by a vehicle that then slows down).

Cyclists did make the top five, however, with riding two abreast found to be the fifth-most-annoying road behaviour. Though legal, it is perhaps something cyclists should bear in mind if they wish to reduce the venom in the debate.

Generally speaking, other cyclist behaviour such as riding on main roads and freeways, filtering to the front of traffic at lights, and riding through a red light were never major sources of frustration.

Given that cyclists pose very little threat to pedestrians, are rarely the cause of accidents with vehicles and are not the main cause of frustration for drivers, are the perceived problems with cyclists all in the mind?

Bike rage

Much of the debate about the laws centres on the perception that cyclists are free-riders (people who benefit from a resource but do not pay for it).

Cyclists, however, are not free-riders. If bike riders also own motor vehicles they are subject to the same set of taxes and levies as motorists. The damage that cyclists do to costly road infrastructure is negligible.

In fact, if done right, cyclists can make things better for motorists by moving just as many people as cars using far less space.

The reality is that all road users are free-riders. In 2014, a total of A$28 billion was spent on roads, but only A$18 billion of road-related revenue was collected across all levels of government. This means that the remaining A$10 billion came from all taxpayers – cyclists and non-road users included.

Do cyclists make driving slower? There is a lack of research to prove or disprove this conclusively. But speaking anecdotally, while a driver may have to slow down (and is required by law to give cyclists adequate space while overtaking in Queensland and New South Wales), it is unlikely that such isolated incidents lead to significant delays for the motorist, considering that there is often a red light or other holdup waiting for them a few seconds down the road, at least in urban areas.

Motorists often have faulty perceptions of travel time, falsely thinking that other lanes of traffic are moving faster than them. More broadly, people are overly sensitive to time spent queuing or waiting and often incorrectly recall the extent of a delay.

As opposed to bicycles slowing down motorists, in congested cities it might very well be the other way around. Cycling can often be a faster way to get from A to B and if you take into account all of the time costs associated with each mode of transport, motor vehicles are often inferior to bicycles or other modes of transport.

Another psychological explanation for the apparent dislike of cyclists is that, for the majority of motorists, encounters with riders deviate from what they normally expect. Motorists are conditioned to worry about other vehicles and often do not see or react to cyclists. When negative incidents occur, this effect means the driver is likely to believe it is the fault of the cyclist for being where they "shouldn't" be, rather than being due to the driver's own actions.

This is compounded by another fundamental human error called availability bias. Because a run-in with a bike is more unusual, it is more memorable. This in turn causes drivers to overestimate the probability of another, future incident.

'Us' and 'them'

Overall, the cyclist versus driver debate is a classic example of in-groups versus out-groups. Motorists are the dominant users of the road and thus form an "in-group". They are more accepting of those who are also part of that group and more willing to forgive fellow group members for transgressions.

On the other hand, cyclists represent the out-group and are perceived as a threat. They are prone to dehumanisation and error group attribution, where wrongdoing by one cyclist is deemed representative of the entire group ("that cyclist jumped a red light" becomes "cyclists jump red lights").

By seeing road users as rivals, we take mental shortcuts about how we treat them, even though our assumptions might well be wrong.

In the debate about NSW's new cycling laws, much of the negative perception of cyclists is not grounded in fact, but rather in the inherent biases that we all have as humans. As my survey showed, when pushed on the issue, most motorists admit to finding the behaviour of other drivers more frustrating than that of cyclists.

There is some merit in treating cyclists the same as drivers, as the new laws do with a call to "go together". However, this message has largely been lost as a result of the haphazard communication around these new laws. Comments by policymakers that cyclists must be held accountable only reinforce the difference. Matthew Beck, Senior Lecturer in Infrastructure Management, University of Sydney

This article was originally published on The Conversation.


Comments

    i assume Drivers hate Cyclists because we look like we are going faster then them, cause we arent waiting in tragic, at 2 or 3 light changes, or at-least I'm not, so while theirs is actually faster, they think its not, really though i wish cars would stop pulling out in-front of me and stopping across the bike lane

      It's because you veer all over the road and seem happy to out source the responsibility for your safety to those around you.

      That and making it impossible to pass you then filtering to the front at the next lights that I got stuck at cos of you, thereby making me play the same silly game all over again.

        Did you read the article above or just trolling?

      I hate cyclists because, at least where I live, they won't move out of the freaking way. Cyclists have actually made me late for work because they won't just move. If there is traffic coming the other way and you can move off road you should do so. Ride on the highway or something, not on small back roads where I gotta either be late to where I'm going or put mine and my children's lives at risks by going in the other lane to get around. When it comes down to it, my children are all that matter to me. Just pull off the road when people are behind instead of looking like your leading a funeral procession.

        Cyclists are not allowed on highways, so its you that should be there, not Cyclists

    Simple reasons people hate cyclists:
    Reason 1: They drive at 30km an hour in 60 zones in narrow roads, often making it impossible to legally pass them.

    Reason 2: A lot of them are assholes.

    Expanding on point two, some behaviour I have seen that makes me hate cyclists is when they ride 3 abreast, and take up whole lanes travelling at half the speed limit. It is also quite common that when waiting at a light to turn, a cyclist will pass me and then wait to turn as well. And now I'm stuck behind the fucking cyclist without enough room to safely pass because the dickhead jumped in front. At least if a motorcyclist does that he's not going to slow you down.

      What makes me hate drivers is they kill people everyday . Cars don't have to be as heavy as they are and cars should be restricted to not go over 80mph . - you aren't licensed to drive that fast so why should your vehicle be allowed to go that fast ?!!!

      Bottom line is that Australia is slowly becoming more ignorant towards cyclists and seing as more and more of us are taking to the roads and a lot of CEOs and entrepeneurs are cyclists Australia will isolate itself . Sounds far fetched ?!!! Give it another 10 years !!!

        Is your bike helmet a tin foil hat?

        Bring car mass into this argument is stupid, you could have a car that weighs under average and it can still kill a person just as easily.

        Cars will never be limited to that speed, not to mention most zones where cyclists can go are in suburban and cbd like areas which rarely exceed 60 anyways, making your 80 limitation stupid. Even if the limit miraculously happens, cyclists still barely make 30 km/h, hence the arguments continue,

        What laws are passed usually coincide with what voters want in this particular argument, Id question if your so called 'solution' would ever happen, think of the number of motorists compared to the number of cyclists. I would think that even more restrictions will be rightly imposed on cyclists.

        No matter who you are or what you think, you are cycling on roads with motor vehicles, you can whine about how unfair life is, but you need to wake up and realise that when it comes to an incident, you will always come off second best.

        I would think a more suitable solution to this ever lasting arguement would be what I am pretty sure it used to be, cyclists can only enter bike lanes, then get off on the SIDE of the road when they need to cross or turn.

        Nothing more annoying than a cyclist holding up a main road/street in peak hour cause the are too slow and stupid/negligent to veer over to the side.

          Cyclist are learning to be better riders all the time. This is why you see them 'taking the lane' and filtering up to the front. Gone are the gutter cyclist days - which was a cause of majority of incidents. Granted most car drivers are ignorant as to cycle safety - google it. It is everyone's responsibility to avoid an accident.

            The behaviors you just listed are why cyclists are such pains. Everyone has to go at your speed, and if you do overtake a cyclists he'll just shove to the front at the next set of lights and make you repeat it till you start hoping a pot hole ends his fat lycra clad ass.

    Personally, I think you're a brave idiot to ride on the road as a cyclist with todays traffic.
    My gripe is not with them on the road, but the pavement.
    Near where I work, some of them whiz by at 30kph+ on the footpath outside Royal Brisbane Hospital , weaving in and out of pedestrians as if it's an obstacle course.
    Some of them even have the arrogance to tell pedestrians to get out of their way, whilst on the footpath.
    If it were a shared footpath, I'd be more accommodating, but if you're going to behave badly and aggressively on the footpath, then fuck off back onto the road.

    Unfortunately, the ones who are well behaved and have manners are the ones we tend not to notice so much.

    Last edited 20/03/16 6:25 pm

      Hell no you keep them, a small car weighs 1200kg, a muppet on a bike between 40 and 100kg, way I figure if they're cycling and prepared to get hit, it should be at least be by someone in their same weight class, as cars can't brake fast enough to avoid them in peak traffic. Then you get fucking curiours that hold your car for speed without you knowing, those asshats should have no rights as you hit them suddenly your in the wrong.

      I'm very much in favour of increased cycling up-take, and abhor the spiteful, petulant behaviour of drivers who resent having to share 'their' road with what they consider to be nothing more than obstacles... but the ducking and weaving between pedestrians thing is offensive.

        The more cyclists on the road the more cycle lanes will be installed. The more cycle lanes and more cyclists means less sharing road lanes and less cars on the road. It is a bit win win.

    As a pedestrian I almost got wiped out by a cyclist who shot through a red light VERY late - so late that I already had the green man to start walking. He must have been doing 35-40kph and was close to the kerb. Only my quick reaction stopped us all from ending up in a heap.

    One of my biggest frustrations is one you mention - cyclists riding two abreast. Yes it is legal but some common sense needs to be applied. On some stretches of road, this just isn't feasible - and somewhat unsafe.

    The other one is cyclists riding on the road - often two abreast - when there is actually a cycle track. Really if there is a dedicated cycle track, then cyclists should be compelled to use it. You wouldn't expect pedestrians to be walking on the road when there is a perfectly good footpath would you?

      Finally a sensible comment .

      Cyclists seem happy to pretend their pedestrians when it suits them, and we're supposed to know when they'll switch over to acting like a motorists all of a sudden. It would be fine if they were required to behave within the rules but they do whatever they want and then wonder why being selfish and unpredictable gets them hurt.

      Then they whine about a lack of consideration, but they couldn't be bothered behaving safely and predictably.

    I did see some well deserved summary justice to a cyclist when I was London. Zipping along the path across Waterloo Bridge, this moron ran over a little girl. Father, not impressed, simply got the bike and threw it in Thames. Take that idiot.

      I also saw a driver run over a ped and take off only to be blocked off at the end of the road . The driver who blocked him off got out the car and punched him in the face . Totally deserved it .

    the problem isn't with cyclists, drivers or pedestrians in general. The problem is that we all remember that ONE shit driver, that ONE jerk of a cyclist and that ONE oblivious pedestrian.

    Then we centre our argument around those occurrences which are statistically insignificant compared to the amount of drivers, cyclists and pedestrians we encounter on a daily basis...

      The problem is the amount of entitlement in the world. So many people think the world revolves around themself

    If your vehicle can't travel at the posted speed limit, then it shouldn't be on the road... simple, so when a bicycle is riding under the speed limit, causing all the traffic to jam up behind then, then it becomes dangerous for both the bicycle rider and other car's, as the traffic tries to over take and on a single lane road, with traffic coming the other direction in the other lane, puts other cars in a potential head on collision...

    I guess this is why they don't allow horses on city streets on normal occasions....

      So where should they be riding then?

        on a motorbike

          Not everyone can get a drivers licence. That's the only reason some ride in the first place.

            they can walk, or take public transport, or at the very least not ride in main drags in the middle of peak hour.

              from that response i'm going to assume you have a licence and drive where you need to. Yeah sure let's walk 15km to work everyday, healthy but not feasible. Public transport doesn't cut it in a lot of cases. Go without your car for a year and let's see how you like walking/public transport ,etc

                He doesn't need to, he has a license.

                Don't have a license? Tough. You don't get to create safety issues and expect others to work around you because you're incapable of operating a vehicle.

                  "He doesn't need to, he has a license"
                  that's pretty much my point. It's something you are never going to understand. All i was trying to say was just stop for a sec... think what it would be like to not be able to drive.

        On the footpath or a dedicated bike lane. I know, I know, it's not legal to ride on the footpath in NSW. That law is misguided and needs to be changed.

          Unfortunately the law does need to change. There aren't bicycle lanes everywhere especially in the suburbs.

      So what about heavy vehicles like trucks. A lot of them struggle to maintain speed up steep hills?

      The speed limit is the 'maximum' allowed LIMIT for that section of road not a minimum . What about the learner driver rolling along at 40km/h or the old lady heading up to the shops at 40km/h? They not allowed to be on your road either?

        In answer to your question, no, if they will not go the posted speed when it is safe and possible to do so then they should not be on the road. I always did the posted speed when i was a learner, if you can't then your not ready to be on the road, that simple.

        Infact in NSW they are in my book quite lenient, doing 60 in an 80 you can be fined for causing an obstruction, that should apply to bikes not in a bike lane too if you ask me.

        http://www.mynrma.com.au/blog/2013/05/16/driving-beneath-the-speed-limit/

    Mate I don't think you really understand how fast 30km/h is. It would be almost impossible for any bike rider to travel that fast on a footpath. Also, how many times have you been hit by a bike rider? Being startled is not the same thing as danger. One person can't be held accountable for another person's startled reaction to them doing something.

      agreed. 30km/h feels quite fast on a bike. The footpath is too inconsistent, full of pumps/holes and is too narrow to ride at that speed. Not to mention illegal (here in vic) Also I bet some riders couldn't even ride at that speed due to fitness levels ,etc

      So, if a pedestrian is hit by a cyclist at 20kmph, that's OK then ?
      I'm failing to see your point, and it absolutely is the cyclists responsibility to drive their vehicle in a safe manner around pedestrians.
      If you want an existing example, consider the safe driving zones around schools.
      Try explaining to the police that's it's not your responsibility to drive safely because you're not accountable for the actions of the schoolchildren.

      You've based your argument on incident rather than prevention, which is a case of too little, too late.
      It's quite foreseeable that after several incidents of cyclist vs pedestrian, perhaps an over hyped segment on 60 Minutes, and before we know it, cyclists are forced back on the road again.

      Which would be a shame, because a modicum of manners and common decency on the footpath would go far in keeping both pedestrians and cyclists safe.

      Last edited 21/03/16 1:56 am

      LMFAO !!! 30kmh is under 20mph . I do more than that on my MTB !!!

      Besides it not being a shared footpath, and a cyclist shouldn't be there on their bike. Get off the bike and walk, it's a question of being considerate.

    I can only ride at 11-15kph.

    I remember a few years ago, the streets of Melbourne were full of bicycle couriers who zapped everywhere and when authorities were debating registration and such, they all dissappeared. Probably due to email.

    This article is a load of crap. There is only one core issue that leads to driver dislike of cyclists. As a driver, the only way we can survive on the road is in the sure knowledge that the vast majority of other drivers have a definitive set of rules that they must follow. It is the only way we know how to react in any given circumstance. There is a significant proportion of cyclists that have the attitude that they have no rules that must be followed and it is the onus of drivers to make way for them regardless of their own selfish or inconsiderate behaviours. The only way to solve this is for cyclists to be subject to the same stringent road rules and be held accountable for them. When both sides understand and comply with all rules, the angst will end.

    Wow, that escalated quickly. My favourite was Luffy with "A lot of them are assholes." As I don't see bell ends day in day out on pavements, driving cars, even jumping queues in shops.

    I wonder does someone being a bell end absolve me of my responsibility to treat them with mutual respect.

    We'll make great pets.

    I actually just want to comment on the most accidents are the drivers fault bit. Yes they are but that doesn't say the rider doesn't have a part to play. As a motorcyclist I am well aware of positioning myself on the road and other cars as to keep visibility for drivers to avoid them hitting me. Both parties have a role to play, its doesn't matter who has right of way if the driver can't see you he can't see you. It also goes for drivers, if you pass a cyclist then meters later have to turn or do some other maneuver if you can't see them don't believe they have disappeared into the ether. Have a good look, things just don't appear in your blind spots they travel through your field of view to get there.

    Last edited 20/03/16 11:35 pm

      My father, as a former motocyclist, always had a great saying - "yeah, and we'll write but I had right of way on your tombstone".

        My favourite variation is simply telling my friends who ride (motorcycles) with me: "There's no point in being right if you're dead."

      I agree with you there.

      There are a few cyclists that ruin it for everyone else.
      Some ride 2 abreast..over 2 lanes. not 1.
      Some don't wear appropriate clothing/signal lights for the weather/time of day conditions.
      Some are just inconsiderate people who 'feeling unsafe on the road' ride on the pedestrian path endangering others.
      Some use other people's cars as post to hold their balance at traffic lights.

      But some are not all. Many riders I know are very considerate cyclists.

    Most cyclists may well do the right thing, however I rarely see it - it pretty much tore it for me when my elderly mother got knocked over by a mamil screaming through a pedestrian crossing - can't say I've ever seen a car do that, and if they did, they'd likely end up in court

    I see them do it pretty much every week, think they can dodge people on the crossing because they are small, no consideration that they are mere feet away from pedestrians with right of way and no warning

    I try to be fair and not stereotype so I like to note when I see cyclists follow the rules, but it's incredibly rare where I see them even follow traffic signals (and I rarely drive, so this more of a city-centric pedestrian view)

    Nice article, Matt - maybe you can follow it up with "Why do drivers hate cyclists so much that they don't read the article and just skip straight to the comment section to vent"?

    The point you make, backed by research, that we vastly overestimate time that we're delayed is a really important one in these arguments. I remember, while I was at uni, I was driving an old bomb of a Mitsubishi Colt and it got the shakes at 90km/h and above so in the couple of 100km/h stretches I kept to 90; I remember doing the math and realising that it cost me less than a minute.
    As for motorists being held up by cyclists, if they're forced to do 30 instead of 60 for 30 seconds as part of a (normally) 10 minute trip, that drive would be 10km and would take 15 seconds longer. That's the reality with a vast majority of these delays, and the stress that people allow themselves to feel probably shorten their lives by more than that.

      Most people use any excuse to be angry and become negative. In fact, they are the ones that are taking the easy way out. It is much harder to be a positive, more patient person.

      It's bloody lazy and not at all deserving to be in the wider community.

        So true. Entitlement is ridiculous these days.

    That might just be because the article was a defense of bicyclists rights and is quite critical of drivers' criticisms. Irrespective of the correctness of any of the points raised by the author, he did not provide a comprehensive list of 'Why drivers hate cyclists?'. The article maybe should have been titled, 'Why drivers shouldn't hate cyclists.' Instead he posed a question which the readers determined that he did not adequately answer.

    Clearly drivers, pedestrians and cyclists make mistakes at times, often quite indefensible. The article quickly goes on the offensive by stating that in the vast majority of car/bike accidents the driver is at fault. As drivers and cyclists are both of the same species and one would reasonably assumed have similar set of skills it might be that there is something other than the grouping of these two sets of people causing a problem. I suggest that is may be something to do with the differences between bicycles and motorised transport. It is small wonder that the readers react by supplying the material for the article they were expecting to read.

      No, the article seemed to get to the very deep, dark heart of why motorists hate cyclists - those who do are irrational assholes, fabricating outright untrue objections to justify their bias.

    Amazing that many drivers didn't read the article before commenting. That says a lot, I think

    As someone who was side-swiped by a 4WD on a four lane road at 7:00am when the road was almost clear, I believe drivers hate cyclists for ideological reasons, and they are willing to kill a cyclist for delaying them 30 seconds. The driver who hit me had another completely clear lane to overtake me, but apparently decided not to on principle (or something). There is no way to know, as the driver did not stop.

    I find it fascinating that the drivers commenting on this post are focused on specific examples of bad cyclists, such as nearly hitting pedestrians and running red lights. As such, cyclists should not be allowed on roads (and apparently not on footpaths, so almost nowhere). By these standards, cars and trucks and motorcycles should also be banned from the road. Many motorists drive like angry lunatics racing to an emergency, so ban fucking everyone from the road.

    Many drivers claim that cyclists deserve what they get, but I'm sure their mothers and fathers, wives and children disagree.

    My wife rides a scooter. She is an extraordinarily safe and defensive rider. Driving defensively is standard for motorcyclists because drivers try to kill them every day too. Which is understandable. The driver might otherwise arrive late to work. A human life is a fair trade for 30 seconds of their time.

    As you might imagine - given that I have a wife and young son - I no longer cycle on the road, not even when the road is mostly clear. Not even on back streets with almost no traffic.

    I'm not willing to die because that woman is late for her hair appointment and I delayed her 15 seconds at an intersection.

    Drive safe everyone.

      Where is the evidence that drivers did not read the article?

      Last edited 21/03/16 9:50 am

        That might just be because the article was a defense of bicyclists rights and is quite critical of drivers' criticisms. Irrespective of the correctness of any of the points raised by the author, he did not provide a comprehensive list of 'Why drivers hate cyclists?'. The article maybe should have been titled, 'Why drivers shouldn't hate cyclists.' Instead he posed a question which the readers determined that he did not adequately answer.

        Pretty much here.

        Last edited 21/03/16 10:01 am

          So because 1 person didn't. No one did?

            Only sith deal in absolutes. (Yes, I'm aware of the irony inherent in that statement using the word 'only'.)

            But I'm sure I can find more examples of people criticizing their pet peeve cyclist behaviours, despite the article explicitly addressing how minimal an impact those behaviours have.

            Let's see...

            Reason 1: They drive at 30km an hour in 60 zones in narrow roads, often making it impossible to legally pass them.
            Reason 2: A lot of them are assholes.
            Expanding on point two, some behaviour I have seen that makes me hate cyclists is when they ride 3 abreast, and take up whole lanes travelling at half the speed limit. It is also quite common that when waiting at a light to turn, a cyclist will pass me and then wait to turn as well. And now I'm stuck behind the fucking cyclist without enough room to safely pass because the dickhead jumped in front. At least if a motorcyclist does that he's not going to slow you down.

            If your vehicle can't travel at the posted speed limit, then it shouldn't be on the road... simple, so when a bicycle is riding under the speed limit, causing all the traffic to jam up behind then, then it becomes dangerous for both the bicycle rider and other car's, as the traffic tries to over take and on a single lane road, with traffic coming the other direction in the other lane, puts other cars in a potential head on collision...
            I guess this is why they don't allow horses on city streets on normal occasions....

            This article is a load of crap. There is only one core issue that leads to driver dislike of cyclists. As a driver, the only way we can survive on the road is in the sure knowledge that the vast majority of other drivers have a definitive set of rules that they must follow. It is the only way we know how to react in any given circumstance. There is a significant proportion of cyclists that have the attitude that they have no rules that must be followed and it is the onus of drivers to make way for them regardless of their own selfish or inconsiderate behaviours. The only way to solve this is for cyclists to be subject to the same stringent road rules and be held accountable for them. When both sides understand and comply with all rules, the angst will end.

            It's a pretty impressive percentage of comments demonstrating complete lack of self-awareness, exhibiting exactly the faulty thinking described in the article.

            And that's without even going into the numerous and utterly baffling examples of idiots deciding that driver mistreatment of cyclists is justified because of their own experiences of cyclists misbehaving toward pedestrians, which wasn't covered but probably should have, going by the responses.

            Last edited 21/03/16 10:47 am

              Stop backing up your points of view with actual evidence :p
              One day I do hope though to see some rational discussion with out all the us vs them mentality.

            This guy too

            It's because you veer all over the road and seem happy to out source the responsibility for your safety to those around you.
            That and making it impossible to pass you then filtering to the front at the next lights that I got stuck at cos of you, thereby making me play the same silly game all over again.

            Last edited 21/03/16 1:53 pm

    It would go a long way to have separated cycling, pedestrian and motor vehicle tracks as they all travel at different speeds. Check out this video of a dutch perspective on cycling in Sydney and Brisbane:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibNNdMgHmHs
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ixxpetgAq0

    Hi, I'm a cyclist.

    Wait, don't hate me yet. I drive a car also. Actually, most of use also drive cars so perhaps people should stop and consider that for a bit. Cyclists, actually have eyes from both sides of the fence. Let me give you my opinion then, drivers shouldn't hate cyclists. They should hate any infrastructure or lack thereof which does not allow for a safe coexistence of both modes of transport.

    On my last ride, I was on most empty a 4 lane road, around 08:00 am when a woman in an SUV started honking behind me because I was going slow on a lane. I hate to give precisely the same example as already stated by bdelphan above but why couldn't she have just overtaken me? Every single other driver did.

    The simple fact is that there are some drivers who feel entitled to the road. These drivers will often even go out of the way to create tension between themselves and cyclists (and probably other road users as well), all in the name of some principle they seem to hold. I know these types because once in every so often, I receive a near miss which never needed to happen.

    My best deduction so far, they think that by passing me at over 80kph with approximately only 10 cm of clearance, that I'll somehow get scared and stop cycling. Seriously, I have had people actually change lanes to do this. Some even came into the bike lane just for the fun of it.

    As a driver, I can understand this constant need to go as fast as you're legally allowed to. However, guess what? It's all in your head. When a pedestrian, cyclist or even another car slows you down, yes, they slow you down. However, they do not lengthen your journey at all.

    How so? Well, whether you lost 30 seconds or 2 minutes, you were going to spend that time at the next red light anyway. Or the next traffic jam. Or the next give way/stop sign. Or the next pedestrian crossing. Or simply when looking for a parking spot. Thus, that time you lost is so negligible that it is only 'lost' in your head. You simply never had it thanks only to the intrisic nature of your mode of transport.

    What if you were only 100 meters away from home? Well, guess what, you're right. You did lose 30 seconds of your life. And yes, you could hate every cyclist in that case then. But boy, I know you must be pissed at every red light.

    How do we reduce the anger towards cyclists? As a cyclist, I take note of the things that frustrate motorists and I do my best to reduce them. Like most cyclists, I will actually pull over on a steep single lane hill to let you pass. My motto is that if you've waited behind me for 30 seconds, I can pull over for 30 seconds and let you (and whatever traffic is behind you) pass me by.

    Like most cyclists I've observed (and if you're a motorist only, trust me, I observe more cyclists than you do), I will only ride 2 abreast when it in no way inconveniences any other road users.

    As a cyclist I will not endanger pedestrians. I always give way to them. Not because I'm a saint, simply because that's a problem I don't need and can easily avoid.

    As a cyclist, I will never apologise for what I do.

    As a motorist, let me tell you that the simplest think you can do is a quick beep. One thing that is easily overlooked is that when cyclist ride, they probably can't hear the cars behind them. This has nothing to do with headphones, but the wind. Even when travelling at 15kph, wind noise drowns out most other sounds behind the cyclist. That's just how sound works.

    So if ever you're coming up behind a cyclist and wish to pass but can't do so safely by overtaking, just give them a quick beep when you're about 10 - 20 seconds away. That is ample time for them to acknowledge you and reposition themselves on the road if need be.

    Sometimes you'll have to be more patient but at least they'll know you're behind them and if they're like the vast majority of cyclists, they'll at either pull over or at worst, adhere to my 30 second policy.

    As a motorist, that's all that's required. One quick beep and some patience.

      You almost hit it then strayed away from it. Those drivers that are assholes just aren't assholes to cyclists. They are that way to everyone. You said you drive as well so you would see the constantly changing lanes, honking at people. Rather then more protections for cyclists from these people. Those people in general need to be taken off the road. Cyclists shouldn't need specific protections we should be removing the threats instead. But I understand how impossible a task that would be.

      just commented and then read this. thanks for being part of the solution and not the problem.

    Seriously though, great piece @matthewbeck. I have read too many intelligent and articulate articles supporting the irrationality of hating cyclists, with the inevitable counter argument being, "but they hold me up" and "I'm so important so FUCK YOU!"
    So you got held up for a few seconds. Get over yourself. So a cyclist rides to the line at a traffic light. Guess what dickhead, the bicycle lane probably goes all the way to said line at the intersection. Your irrational perceived feeling of somebody having some sort of entitlement over you is just that. Perceived.
    You know why you're sitting in a line of traffic? Because of all of the cars you idiot. Not all the bicycles that are filling the roads holding you up.
    I am fed up the the constant stream of hate and utter stupidity that flows from "motorists" mouths and keyboards.
    I am a person. Not a cyclist or motorist or pedestrian. Where the hell has the decency and respect for anyone but yourself gone?
    If you have such rage that you can't find the patience to get to the next red light 10 seconds later, then get off the road and cut up your licence. All people are imperfect and prone to making mistakes. Exercise a little empathy and calm the hell down.

    Last edited 21/03/16 11:47 am

    there is too much US and THEM mentality on the road. and also too many self entitled drivers thinking that cyclists shouldnt be on the road.

    i feel like the only reason cyclists get arrogant and assholish is because of the amount of shit they have to put up with from non-sharing drivers and drivers that dont pay attention.

    like the government campaign - we need to share the road. its a two way street (pun not intended) there needs to be a mutual effort from both riders and drivers to work together in obeying the laws, and common courtesy.

    ive been a driver much longer than i have been a cyclist, and cycling scares me a bit on main roads because i see how other drivers treat cyclists when im driving.
    as a driver, im always mindful of cyclists, trying to give them wide birth, not speeding ahead of them to turn a corner in front of them, slowing down when i see that they have to over take a parked car and come in to the road way to do so.
    none of these actions make me slower in my travels by a significant amount. if anything the karma is good for me, or at least i like to think.

    when i ride my bike, i try to thank drivers as often as possible who do speed past when im trying to overtake parked cars and have to enter the road way, or when people dont pull out in front of me or turn in front of me, i thank them for that too.

    being selfish doesnt work, but unfortunately it seems to be getting worse.

    understanding for each others troubles on the road is whats needed. so that we can act accordingly when around each other.

    for once the government seems to have got something right with their share the road campaign, its just sad they had to implement laws to enforce what once would have been common sense.

    Do drivers really hate cyclists, or is it just in the news a lot more than it was 5 years ago?

    I've noticed an increase in the number of cycling articles written in the Fairfax publications (SMH, The Age, Lifehacker) and wonder how much of this is front of mind for the writers as a result of Fairfax's 'Ride to Work' scheme.

    The scheme allowed Fairfax employees to salary sacrifice a bicycle/s up to the value of $4,000. The scheme was so successful at ODI that the cycle parking/storage area had to be expanded and a waiting list for lockers was still present months after I had left.

    Not sure if the same was happening at News Corp, but who reads News Corp anyway?

    Has anyone seen Dash cam owners of Australia? HAHA!

    The issue is the infrastructure.
    There is Pedestrian and Car Infrastructure but Bike is very Inconstant.

    I ride to the station most days (Point cook-Williams Landing) takes like 5min of easy riding (rather than 35min walk)

    But the bike lanes stop- then start then disappear on one stretch then appear in another.

    There is no consideration on how a rider is meant to use the bike lanes or paths.

    This is why I ride on the footpath... I know I'm not meant to but I will until they fix the dam bike lanes.

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