Letter | Aggression towards cyclists is simply shocking

ON THE ROAD: The Vale Road is a popular route for district cyclists, but can also be a place of tension between those on bikes and those in cars.
ON THE ROAD: The Vale Road is a popular route for district cyclists, but can also be a place of tension between those on bikes and those in cars.

I HAVE great concerns about the response from some members of the Bathurst community to the April Fool’s article by the Western Advocate titled “Bold plan for cars to be banned from Vale Road on Sundays”. While the article was an attempt at being humorous by the Advocate, the article itself and the response, particularly in comments on Facebook, was not something I found to be very funny. 

As a 15-year-old cyclist who uses these roads most days for training, these comments were frightening. Seeing the number of people who do not approve of sharing roads with cyclists and the content of some of the aggressive comments was shocking.

Myself and fellow cyclists, many who are younger than me, are riding on these roads to stay fit and healthy, to do the thing we love and to achieve goals for perhaps a further career in cycling. Many of us have represented our town and our state on multiple occasions. We dream of one day representing our country on the world stage.

These dreams can only be achieved through hard work and training, some of which has to be done out on the road.  

I have enjoyed great support from the Bathurst community for the things I have achieved in my sport, but what we need more of in this situation is tolerance.

I know that not all cyclists do the right thing. I’ve seen some ride in the middle of the road. While this is not illegal, I personally don’t choose to do it out of consideration for motorists, and the cyclists who do so are not doing it because they are cyclists. They are doing it because they are inconsiderate people, and these types of people are in all walks of life and there isn’t much we can do about that.

But I know for a fact that the majority of bike riders out on the roads are not there to annoy drivers. They are there to simply ride their bikes. I am one of those.

So next time a driver decides to ride as close as they possibly can to cyclists or hurl abuse out the window, I urge them to think about who they are doing this to.

It might be a 10-year-old kid just doing some training. It might be a 15-year-old Australian champion cyclist. It might even be a future Olympian.

And if none of this makes you think twice about buzzing a cyclist, think if it was your child out on the road - would you still do it?

Eliza Bennett