The latest research from Australia will come as no surprise – more than three quarters of you will suffer abuse from drivers this year.

Figures show that 76 per cent of male riders and 72 per cent of women have suffered harassment in the past 12 months with competitive riders reporting most incidences, while older, overweight cyclists suffered less incidences. I don’t imagine Australian drivers to be shy, retiring types, but these statistics suggest that they may be better behaved behind the wheel than most Brits.

Bike riding is booming, but it’s not very popular with the nation’s hatchback owners and white van men, particularly in the overcrowded South East. As mentioned in the report, many drivers don’t recognise that cyclists are legitimate road users. It was more easily tolerated when there weren’t so many of us.

Less than a decade ago we could still be regarded as a minority, but now the number of cyclists has grown to the extent that we can no longer be ignored.

Unfortunately, it’s not to everybody’s liking. People don’t like change and the rise in the popularity of bike riding has been a huge shift. “There’s just too many of them,” is the popular anti-cyclist comment.

Too many drivers simply don’t understand why we ride bikes. If they can’t contemplate that cycling is a enjoyable pastime, then they’re not going to comprehend the motivation that keeps us in the saddle.

They’re a different breed, but ignorance is still no excuse for bad behaviour.

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly

  • Roger Simmonds

    Roger in Oz .December 6 . Get out of my way…I,m more important than you…I,m in a hurry …Actually I,m probably envious as you look so relaxed enjoying your ride…How dare you be happy when you are in my way….I,m proud to be a Clarkson clone……….Here in Oz city cycling is the same as UK but in the country it,s great …far less traffic but we do have 4 or 6 litre Ute man sometimes.Even most of them are fine.Roads are wider too. Last year 3 councils on the long Beach Road in Melbourne agreed to give the left lane (of 2) over to cyclists on Sundays but then another council refused and on the News feature the Victorian Transport Minister said cyclists must learn to share the roads!!…True

  • Axel

    I am a cyclist and a motorist… and if honest I am equally as shocked by the idiocy of both sides. Seems that as soon as you put a wheel on the tarmac everyone is out for you whatever vehicle you are controlling.

  • Karl

    Keep trying to remind myself it’s a minority.. just seems like so many more drivers want bikes out the way so they can join the back of the queue 2 seconds quicker. I’ve given up even attempting to talk to these people. They know what they are doing and are sad, unhappy people..

  • Trevor Holdsworth

    Firstly, we don’t need to justify why we ride bikes. Secondly, if we all took to our cars instead of bikes, then the traffic situation would actually be much worse. It’s a shame that a minority of motorists are intolerant or aggressive. Or both.

  • Angharad

    Too many cyclists or too many motorists? The roads are increasingly busy so it’s in everyone’s interest to be careful and patient. However, many drivers seem to think bikes belong on bike lanes and don’t seem to realise we have just as much right to use roads as they do.

    The old chestnut of cyclists pay nothing to ride isn’t true as you all know, roads are funded from general taxation not vehicle excise duty, so we all pay for them. However as numbers of both cyclists and motorists increase there will be negative interactions and more accidents, it’s inevitable.

    I try to cycle and drive with consideration and care towards other road users, if everyone else did the same some of us might just live a bit longer.

  • John Orbea

    The most hilarious thing I have ever seen…

    Heading north out of London through Epping Forest, four riders. Stopped at traffic lights, yobbo in car decides to throw an empty soft drink can at our intrepid little peloton’s leader, Dave.

    Dave calmly wheels his Cannondale over to the car containing the yobbo and leans in through the window. “Think it’s funny to throw cans at cyclists, do you?” he asks.

    Yobbo opens the door, steps out. He’s much bigger than Dave. “What you gonna do about it?” he growls.

    “Well sir, if you’re going to be like that, perhaps we should discuss it at the nearest station?” says Dave, having retrieved his Metropolitan Police ID card and waved it in the yobbo’s face.