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Byron Shire
October 8, 2022

All road users need to show respect

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Recent letters identified the rights of bicycle riders on our roads and the safety issues faced, but there is a danger that the discussion may end up in a barrage of insults thrown across the divide separating riders and drivers.

I’ve been riding a bike in Byron for a good many years but I’ve also ridden in many countries around the world and, by comparison, Byron drivers come up to be relatively considerate of riders.

With some ugly exceptions to be sure, and I’ve had some very close calls.

There are dangerous fools on both sides of the debate, but it is the bicycle rider that too often ends up in the ambulance.

We all need to recognise that we share a common road and that riders have similar rights to every other vehicle.

We also have similar responsibilities. I may get well pissed off when a car or truck shoots by, failing to recognise that it’s my life they’re putting at serious risk.

I also accept that there are plenty of riders who create problems with just plain dumb riding.

The answer is achingly obvious. We’ll all be better off when every road user learns, and practises, a bit of respect and consideration for every other user. Simple, basic respect.

If that doesn’t work for you, how about: more bikes equals less drivers equals less potholes and less gridlock.

Joe Fay, Byron Bay

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  1. Yes, Byron local drivers in general are considerate. The issue most of the road cyclist have are mainly with “non locals” that seem to think that a country town has different road rules to the city. With that comment, the tourist road cyclist are just as guilty. They are not as disciplined when it comes to country road cycling and don’t know the local road conditions.

    Now throw in the mix of arguably the worst maintained roads and potholes in Australia. When road cyclist encounter potholes, loose gravel sides, large dips between the asphalt and uncompleted sections of cycle paths, they inevitably have to move away from the curb. A motorist travelling behind a cyclist does not realise they have to negotiate obsticles ahead.

    Another argument given by motorist about bad behaviour by cylist is they do not use the designated bicycle paths. If only I had a dollar for each time some ignorant person shouts out “use the f—–ing bike path”. All the bicycle paths created in Byron heading out west have 2 major flaws. Besides being mostly pedestrian shared, they have not been designed for road cyclist per Austroads design elements. They are adequate for children or riders who cycle slowly with bicyles that can negotiate the verge when encountering pedestrians. Road bike riders however can be riding in excess of 50km/h and have little manouverability at high speeds. The other major flaw is that the paths are incomplete and not linked such as at the roundabout near the Sports Centre. If you come in to Byron or travel to Ewingsdale, you take your life into your own hands to cross over up to 6 times across high traffic intersections and changing sides of the road.

    Numerous studies have found that as cycle numbers increase, so does road safety. NSW have more fatalities per km cycled despite the lowest levels of cycling compared to other states. The more cyclist on the road, the safer it becomes. Cyclist also live longer (up to 41% reduced mortality for pro road cyclist). So there is no reason for giving cyclist a hard time.

  2. Bike riders should learn not to ride in a pelaton on our public roads. Learn to ride in single file and hug the side of the road if you don’t want to anger the motoring public. Don’t forget that motorists pay large amounts to use our roads, cyclists don’t.

    • Jon, I note your comment that cyclist should not ride in a pelaton on public roads beause they don’t pay for road use. It would be a rarity that a road bike rider would not have a car and thereby pay taxes. Road funding is not limited to taxes on motor vehicles but comes from a variety of sources including Federal taxes and Council Rates. This gives them the endowned “right” to use the road as a pedestrian, motorist, motocyclist, bike rider, etc.

      Special rules apply to bike riders that most motorist are not aware of and these are available on the RMS website: http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au. They include the ability for road bike riders to ride two abreast but not more than 1.5 metres apart. Bike riders may also overtake two other bicycle riders who are riding side-by-side.

      Riding side-by-side in a bunch ride is the safest form of road usage and the Byron Bay Cycle Club as an affiliate of Cycling Australia strongly endorses safe and courteous riding according to road conditions for the benefit of all road users.

  3. I had 4 vehicles and a trailer,all registered and I ride a bike ,surely that allows me to ride safely on the road ?I now have 1 vehicle and ride a lot more to cut down on traffic movements,parking congestion,carbon output and to improve my health .Watching people riding on the wrong side of the road,not indicating at roundabouts or intersections,riding across pedestrian crossings or not giving way to pedestrians really gives me the shirts with bike riders.I also have not seen a bike rider kill a person driving a car,bus or truck .
    Slow down and smell the roses ,life is too short to worry about being 2 minutes late for work or play.Get a bike and see what a joy it is to get fit whilst looking at the splendid scenery our beautiful region offers.


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