Abuse from drivers

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.

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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