AN altercation between cyclist Shannon Narracott and a man who allegedly knocked her off her bike when he spotted her riding on a footpath in Byng Street has highlighted the need for better cycleways and understanding for bike riders in Orange.
The Charles Sturt University student rides around town everywhere as she is unable to hold a driver’s licence due to her epilepsy.
While she attempts to ride on the road as much as possible, the inadequate bike lanes in Orange often force her onto the footpath - a decision which saw her targeted by the pedestrian at about 11:30am on Thursday.
“If I see pedestrians I move on to the grass,” she said.
“As I was riding along a guy told me to ‘f...king get off the footpath’ I made an effort to get off and I ignored him but he put his foot in front of me.
“I was lucky to land on my helmet.”
After being knocked from her bike near Beaurepaires the man continued to act aggressively so Ms Narracott reported the incident to the police.
“I was pretty upset and crying,” she said.
“People who have conditions like mine aren’t legally allowed to drive and you’ve got vigilantes who do that sort of thing when council doesn’t provide us with a place to ride.”
Canobolas Local Area Command duty officer Dave Harvey said police were investigating the incident and were keen to speak to the man involved - described as a 55-year-old Caucasian with balding grey hair and about 172cm in height.
Inspector Harvey confirmed an exchange of words took place between two parties with the rider arriving at the police station a short time later in a distressed state.
“Police made inquiries at the location in an effort to find witnesses and after finding none have launched an investigation.”
While potholes in the middle of the road are given attention by Orange City Council, Ms Narracott said areas along the side of the road are often neglected with the loose gravel a danger for cyclists.
“There’s only a few streets with bike paths,” Ms Narracott said.
“You get beeped and abused by drivers so I don’t usually go into town.”
She said the rules about who can ride where were unclear for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers.
“If they don’t want us to ride on footpaths, provide us with good cycleways,” she said.
Keen cyclists Maree and Laurie Maggs, visiting from Western Australian, agreed and said they were surprised at the lack of infrastructure for bike riders in Orange.
“In Western Australia all the footpaths are cycle paths,” Mrs Maggs said.
“Cars and bikes are not a good mix.”