OUR SAY: Cycling dangerous enough without missiles

IT takes a little bit of bravery to ride a bicycle on the road.

When you’re a child and learning to ride, you’re protected by legislation and able to ride on footpaths, but come your 12th birthday, it’s time to take on cars.

This comes with a number of challenges – road cyclists have to ensure they’re visible and can stop at a moment’s notice if a motorist still doesn’t see them.

After all, a motorist’s mistake may not hurt them because, unlike the cyclist, they have a cage of metal around them.

As a result, the cyclist is often in a position where they need to ensure they don’t put themselves in a position to become a victim to a frustrated or aggressive driver.

This is the one per cent of drivers who literally don’t care whether they hit a cyclist.

Two men on their bikes experienced this on the weekend in Moulder Street when a motorist almost hit them with their car and when challenged, threw a bottle of water at the pair. 

There is a fair amount of road rage in Orange, in particular around roundabouts, and there is no excuse for it, but to physically target cyclists is something else.

It is true to say that cyclists are often not considered legitimate road users and many motorists are unaware of the road rules around cyclists. 

For instance, at a lefthand turn-only lane before a roundabout, cars must turn left, but bicycles can continue straight or even turn right. 

Although it might annoy drivers on narrow roads, cyclists can travel two abreast provided they are no more than 1.5 metres apart.

Motorists must allow at least a metre when passing a cyclist slower than 60km/h and 1.5 metres at higher speeds. 

But to help motorists do this without being stuck forever, they can cross double lines and painted medians to pass a cyclist where they weren’t allowed before. 

By the same token, many of the fines previously issued to cyclists were $71, but they are now anywhere from $330 to $439.

So a cyclist caught running a red light or a pedestrian crossing or riding dangerously also faces a serious hit to the hip pocket for not using the road correctly. 

Considering the dangers, it’s not surprising a petition is circulating to raise the age for riding on the footpath, but if all road users do so safely, there is no reason why the road can’t be safe for cyclists.