A cyclist’s message to drivers and other road users

cyclist’s message to drivers

cyclist’s message to driversI came across a great Facebook post last week that was a great cyclist’s message to drivers by fellow cyclist Brett Lambkin. So I contacted Brett and asked him if I could republish it here with some minor edits. I urge all the cyclists who read this to share it widely with all their non-cyclist network to help educate other road users, particularly car drivers. It sums up my own view perfectly….Over to Brett.

I am done arguing online with other road users so I’m just going to summarise my arguments and then let it go.

Cyclists are LEGALLY entitled to use an entire lane. If you don’t like it, lobby to change the law. Yelling at us about it will change nothing.

Cyclists may legally ride two abreast.

Cyclists may NOT legally ride on the footpath unless they’re under 12 years old or accompanying a child, so please stop saying ‘Get on the footpath’.

Cyclists may legally lane-share which means they can ride between or beside lanes of traffic when traffic speed is less than 30kph.

Other vehicles may not drive closer than 1 metre to a cyclist or 1.5 metres if speed exceeds 60kph. It’s the law.

Yeah, we wear lycra when we’re training and racing – even when we’re having a coffee afterwards. We don’t bag you for wearing footy shorts when you obviously don’t play footy, or gym-wear when you obviously either a) don’t go to the gym, b) aren’t going to the gym today, or c) are wasting your money going to the gym. If you don’t like it, don’t look.

The VAST majority of adult cyclists are also licensed, insured, registered car drivers, so we are already paying for road use – we’re just doing less damage to the road when we choose to commute on a bike instead of in our cars. Again, if you want the law changed, get on with it! I don’t make the laws.

Cars and trucks kill hundreds of other road users each year – bikes kill none.

The Government is tearing its hair out trying to get Aussies to exercise more, eat less, eat more healthily, quite smoking, drink less, stress less, maintain a healthy weight, combat Type II diabetes, reduce heart disease and mental health problems, reduce illicit drug use, asthma and arthritis. Cyclists are already doing all of these! Are you?

Cyclists place less strain on Medicare, which is struggling under the weight of overweight, diabetic, drug-using, alcoholic smokers.

Yeah, some cyclists break some road rules sometimes. So do other road users and pedestrians. Glass houses!!

Please tell me if waiting behind a cyclist has cost you more than 60 seconds this year. Nope? Me neither, so drop it. I have spent a lot of time waiting behind car drivers doing 10kph below the speed limit in the fast lane, but I don’t yell at them on the way past or bag them online.

I think that’s about it…

Share if you agree.

Please only argue if you have an actual argument – Shut up.  Fxxk off. Get off the road. I’ll run you over and you should pay rego – are NOT actual arguments.

Don’t get angry – get a bike! You get free health, fitness, stress relief and a bunch of new friends!

Thanks Brett, very well said.

Share your own cyclist’s message to drivers via comments or the Women Who Cycle Facebook page.

46 comments

    1. Like you said some cyclists make mistakes , but I will share a road with them anytime in comparison with some car drivers and worst of all truck drivers ..

  1. Yeah we know most of these rules what annoys us that where I live there are purpose built cycle paths parallel to fairly busy roads but you Lycra luvvies don’t want to use them as it feks up ur credibility and image yet you badger councils and communities all year long for more cycle facilities, so what is it you bozos want just to pose in ur prepretty colours, Naff off non entities.

    1. Hi Gerard, I think you’ll find that it’s more about the speed road cyclists do, than their credibility. Bike paths usually have a speed limit.

    2. Where I live the cycleways, where they exist, are so poorly designed and or poorly surfaced that you put your bike, yourself and others at risk by using them. You are often safer on the road unless off course by cycling you mean getting of your bike and pushing it.
      by bad design I mean there are telegraph poles in the middle or they narrow so you can’t pass someone going the other way or they just stop!! Usually the just stop is at a critical point where cars are also merging throwing you into the mire of already road raged lane competition. Our cycle paths are also footpaths which is the way our council sell themselves as being so terribly progressive as to have cycleways but not actually spending any money . This means of course you share the space with prams and kids walking to school, and oldies in scooters. You risk colliding and hurting someone as well as yourself. They are also short and broken, with lots of road crossings, designed to transport pedestrians to school buses or the shops. Again if you mean by cycling getting of and pushing your bike, then it’s a very efficient means of transport.
      There’s another lovely section that is loose ashphelt, holes and all the detritus that is thrown up by cars that shakes you to bits, while the road is lovely hotmix. I ride on the road or spend my time fixing flats.
      I ride on our cycleways when I use them as they are designed around here, on an upright bike with a basket to get bread and papers on a Sunday, but If I want to get some exercise or go anywhere then the only option is the road. And sometimes the only safe option is to put your bike in the car to get past the real unsafe bits and then get the bike out and ride. Which sort of defeats the purpose but at least you get out and get home again alive.
      And I wear Lycra! and Flouro. sorry if that distresses your taste or your morals It’s so comfortable I would like to wear it Everywhere!!

    3. Hi Gerard
      Yes, it’s about speed and utility. To explain… Cyclists are often commuting or training. Cycle paths are usually designated as shared paths and recreational which means circuitous routes, parents with strollers and walkers with dogs. Even if the path is following a road route, the path user has to give way at every intersection where, if they were on the road as a lawful road user, they could ride straight through like cars.

      1. This!
        Why would I use a shared path and take 2 hours to commute home due to having to stop at every intersection and stand around waiting for the green walk sign, where I could legally use the road, only stop at red lights and take only 1 hour to commute home?

    4. Are you honestly getting upset about someone wearing Lycra? You have way too much spare time! Haha

    5. Gerard.
      1st. Those are shared pathways, not cycling specific infrastructure. We, cyclists, share those paths with other people walking, jogging, waking their dogs, walking their kids, teaching their kids how to ride bikes. You see where this is going mate, those are not intended as cycling specific.
      2nd. Don’t like what you see when we wear our “sausage skins”?
      That’s fine, don’t look.
      I’m tipping that your mum’s about the only person expounding on your “good looks”.
      Cheers mate.

      1. Wow! Cyclists don’t want to share taxpayer funded cycle paths with pedestrians as it’s annoying…

        1. Wow! Drivers don’t want to share taxpayer funded roads with cyclists as its annoying

    6. Gerard, you’ve shown your colours and your level of intellect, when you use words like “luvvies”, “bozos” and statements like “Naff off non entities”. Clearly, words and arguments are too hard for you. This is an adults only area Gerard, so please come back when you’ve matured a little.

  2. I would cycle but haven’t since I was a teenager , roads quieter then, I wouldn’t feel safe with cars whizzing past a foot or two away.

    1. This is the canary in the coal mine. You shoukd not have to armour up and dress for battle to ride a bike. It is a healthy activity.

  3. Hi Gerard
    Yes, it’s about speed and utility. To explain… Cyclists are often commuting or training. Cycle paths are usually designated as shared paths and recreational which means circuitous routes, parents with stroller mis and walkers with dogs. Even if the path is following a road route, the path user has to give way at every intersection where, if they were on the road as a lawful road user, they could ride straight through like cars.

  4. Yep, write how right you are then get back on the road 2 abreast on a narrow country road with 100 mph speed limit and trucks and buses and cars whizzing by and stay right there on your high horse as you risk your life…. no skin of my nose… I have the patience to wait until clear…
    But…. those other guys have somewhere to go and often with not a lot of spare time. Trucks and buses work to timetables as do a lot of drivers…. and there you are all flesh and bone mixing with steel, fast steel.
    I won’t be your problem, but I reckon you are your own problem. The road is dangerous and risky enough without all that flesh and bone mixing it with grim reaper steel.

    1. So you think some f***ass drivers schedule is more important than my life, but I’m sitting on the high horse? If anyone thinks their schedule is more important than somebody’s life, they are the over entitled assholes!

  5. Ok I was a professional driver in light transport for over twenty five years and there are a couple of untruths in this rant.
    Cyclists have killed people, admittedly not many, but there was a case in Melbourne several years ago where a cyclist ran a red light and hit and killed an elderly pedestrian and got off with a small fine for running the red light because you can’t be charged with culpable driving on a push bike.
    In peak hour traffic the delay caused by one bike rider can be a lot more than sixty seconds and it affects two lanes of traffic as drivers have to move partially into the next lane to overtake.
    The argument that most bike riders also own cars and pay rego and therefor they are paying for their right to obstruct traffic is also invalid because they do not pay fuel excises and the GST on fuel which actually contributes way more to the upkeep of our roads, and also if you own more than one motor vehicle you pay rego on each one.
    Two abreast is just stupid.
    Cyclists should be identifiable like most other road users.
    Finally if pushbikes were invented today there is no way in this day and age of health and safety concerns they would be allowed on the road.

    1. So you found that one case, he? Do you wanna know how many drivers killed other people and were never fined cause they drove off and were never caught?

    2. Sandy. Appreciate that you’re trying to make an argument rather than be abusive. Let’s establish some facts:

      1. Roads are paid for by the government out of taxation. Rego and fuel taxes don’t directly fund anything.

      2. The government provides the highway for the purpose of all legal vehicles, not just motorised ones.

      3. Two abreast allows cyclists to safely occupy a lane rather than being squeezed into the gutter by passing cars. You need to approach overtaking them with the same mentality as any other slow moving vehicle. Anything else is simply road rage.

      4. Cyclists in NSW are obliged to carry photo ID to produce on demand. If the law changes we’ll pay the taxes etc. At the moment there is no legislation proposed or any pressure for a change beyond a vocal minority.

      5. Some cyclists behave badly as do many pedestrians and drivers. Cyclists kill approx 1 person a year. Tragic but it pales in comparison with the number of deaths caused by motor vehicles.

  6. Shame if it is – while much of this article makes sense, much doesn’t. Just because you are entitled to a lane doesn’t mean you should take it, just because you can ride between cars when they are going under 30 doesn’t mean you should. I love cycling, given my age and weight I probably should not be seen in Lycra but I wear it just the same. I only cycle with a couple of mates and only a couple of times a week so I guess I am not classed as a serious rider any more. But for what it is worth my mates and I get on with people, sure there are some jerks in cars but there are jerks on bikes too. We don’t ride to work, we cycle to keep fit. We cycle early around 5.30am to avoid traffic, we ride single file when there is traffic so people racing to work aren’t held up by us, if we pull out we signal and give a wave when let in by a vehicle, we never cycle between cars on multi lane roads – it irritates me to sit behind a cyclist who does that and holds up a whole lane of traffic so I don’t do it. Those of us who cycle will always irritate someone in a vehicle – you will be surprised how much courtesy from us helps. Yes I have come off my bike, broken bones but in the end I want to enjoy cycling – trying to enforce unenforceable rights against cars is just dumb. My advice is give way, it actually doesn’t hold you up too much – and maybe you can stay out of hospital – believe me, it’s not any fun.

    1. You make a lot of sense Stephen – But for many riders and motorists, they want full command of the road, and antagonize each other. Cyclists do NOT want to be a road statistic, they just want to stay fit. But there is another side, many of those cyclists are professional and champions, who need a road to train on. They need hills and flat stretches and train in all weathers. Most of them live overseas in Europe and train on the many roads with no problems. Why because they show respect and that respect is given back. We do not have respect in Australia for this minor sport, but look at the crowds for the major Road Races here. The Tour down under brings thousands, and not all are cyclists, The professional also trains every day and rides many many kilometres, and not only do they put their life on the line but also their career. They love the sport, but are restricted as to where and when they can rde . Yes they do take their cars to a remote spot to ride because they cannot ride around their own homes.

    2. I don’t believe anyone is actually suggesting that cyclists SHOULD take the whole lane etc. Most of us are just trying to point out that where it is appropriate it IS legal. In other words most of us do show courtesy just as you say you do Stephen. Just because a car can legally drive at 100 on a narrow winding road in the rain doesn’t mean they should do that either. There is room for people to make a judgement and some will get it wrong, cyclist, drivers, pedestrians- humans!

  7. The law may allow you to do these things but why would you take up a whole lane, is it just because you can, why do you travel two abreast, is it just because you can, how about being courteous to other road users and keeping as far left as possible, how about not riding two abreast for the same reason.

    The law says I don’t have to let people in when I have the right of way, but I do, I don’t have to give a driver a wave if they let me in, but I do. try showing a bit of concern for other drivers and they might show concern for you.

    1. Kevin, cyclists will often ride abreast for a couple of good reasons.
      1) If cyclists are 2 abreast on a multi lane road, it is because they are more visable and they want you to use the other lane to pass, because that is safer.
      2) Often a cyclist is in the middle of the lane to avoid the possibility of car doors opening, or to make a right turn.
      Two abreast is to slow drivers when approaching cyclists and to use the other lane to pass safely, if it isn’t safe to pass then don’t pass. Cyclist won’t ride 2 abreast just to piss you off, it can be for your safety as well as theirs. Think going up a Mountian on a bend, if they are 2 abreast it is because they don’t want you to pass them in the bend, that is not safe for them, you or anyone coming towards you.
      Single file very often invites drivers to be impatient and pass without a safe sufficient space for the rider and often at speed without even slowing down, and that is definitely not safe for a cyclist.

  8. In your letter, well written by the way, I took particular note of the paragraph where you mentioned that trucks and cars kill hundreds every year and bikes kill none, whist that may be correct I and many people I know have witnessed or been involved in road accidents caused wholly by bikes.
    Now, you say that some bike riders break the law and yes you are correct but many of these instances occurred as a result of a silly mistake on the part of the bike rider, eg- the bike rider swerved to dodge a rock on the road just as a car was going to overtake, the car owner had no option but to slam on his brakes causing another vehicle to back-end him.
    Now I could go on all day with instances but no, I just want you to understand that the majority of time bike riders have no idea of what’s going on behind them are quite frankly I don’t think they care. So with that in mind just remember that bikes may not have caused any deaths on the road as yet, the amount of accidents that have occurred because of bikes it will only be a matter of time before someone is killed….think long and wisely on that.

    1. 1200-1300 annually killed by motorists, 0-1 pedestrians killed by cyclists. There is nothing new about cyclists being on the roads — cyclists have always been on the roads (well, longer than cars have). But for some reason, there is a tiny (vocal) minority of drivers who feel as though they own the roads, and don’t want to share.

    2. Ross that is why you should slow down and give cyclists plenty of space. Be patient and pass safely. It is called driving to the conditions.

  9. I hope you will figure out a way to coexist, because it is a great (and healthy) way to reduce traffic jams, if room is made for both cars and bikes.

    For inspiration here are a few numbers from the annual bicycle report on bikes in Copenhagen – the capital of Denmark and a very cold place in the wintertime.

    The 2017 Annual Bicycle Report confirms that cycling is still the preferred mode of transport for the inhabitants of Copenhagen. 41 % of all trips to work and study to/from Copenhagen is by bike and 62 % of Copenhageners choose to bike to work and study in Copenhagen. In total, 1.4 million km is cycled in the city on an average weekday which is an increase of 22% since 2006.

    In the same period, cyclists’ feeling of safety has increased by 43% while the relative risk of having a serious bicycle accident has been reduced by 23%. Read more in the hand-out.

  10. It time to change the laws for cyclists they have done for other road users and theyh need to adapt roads to the increase of traffic. The laws are out dated for today and future traffic needs.

  11. This is an outstanding post. I could not have said it better myself. Seems the challenges that cyclists face in Australia are EXACTLY the same ones we face here in the states.

    I don’t mind staying to the side of the lane when practical, but if circumstances and my safety require it, I will take the entire lane without apology.

    Dan Ricks, Portland, OR, USA.

  12. All motor vehicles are required to have rear vision mirrors. Why not bikes? With (silent) electric vehicles becoming more popular I would imaging that a mirror on the right hand side of the handlebars would be a necessary safety requirement. I had one on my push bike back in the 60s.

  13. Why is it that Australia has such a bad attitude towards cyclists? The bad attitude just does not exist around the world, not even in the USA. What is wrong with Australians then?

    Do cyclists seriously destroy your day if you happen to pass them on the road? Are you not in a freakin motor driven car and have the ability to make up those precious seconds you think they caused you to loose? Why are you in such a rush anyhow?

    I regularly hear similar levels of dumb arguments with energy, immigration, religion. It makes me cringe at the depth of our compassion, understanding, intelligence and care for our mates.

    Australia was once a nation of mates. She’ll be right. No worries. Good on ya mate. Etc. Where has the mateship gone? We are all Australians wether we sometimes ride a bike, drive a car or walk a dog. If you don’t like the idea that we should just be mates you are seriously up yourself and need to have a good look in the mirror. Life is not that bad. Actually here in Australia it is pretty bloody amazing.

  14. Well said. Cycling is a good activity, and the cyclist should also get respect to ensure their own rights and protect their safety.

  15. You can’t handle a few cyclists? You should come to see traffic in Holland!! And nobody complaints

  16. I really LOVE your argument that you already pay for your road use with your car and therefore should not pay for your bike. Maybe I should use the same argument on the renewal of my second vehicle, why should I pay as I have already paid with my first vehicle! Thank you for educating me! And as for bike riders causing no accidents, what a bullshit!!! You guys cause many minor accidents but you usually ride off and without rego no one can make you responsible!!

    1. Yeah Lenka I agree it’s a thin argument to say we pay car rego so shouldn’t pay bike rego. However, under your logic boats pay rego so surfers should pay rego too. I mean, they go into the flags all the time at the beach.

      How many times have you written down a car number and reported it to the police because you’ve seen them use their phone or break the speed limit, etc? What did the Police say? Can’t do anything? Maybe the police have other actually important things to do too?

      Do you think because cyclists don’t have a rego plate they can’t or don’t get fined? My mate has $900 to pay for not stopping at a stop sign, no helmet, no bell. Operation Pedro stings cyclists every year. Maybe we need a jaywalking sting day too? I mean, pedestrians are at risk next to metal boxes flying past them too.

      Should kids pay rego on a bike? What if they borrow a bike at a mates house to have a ride with friends? Who is registered to that bike? Who is insured? What if you borrow a bike at a holiday house? No rego. Oh gosh!

      Have you ridden a bike in the breakdown lane or in those bike zones? Do you know how much junk is laying there from cars dropping rubbish and pushing gravel etc into these dedicated spaces? Do you think cyclist don’t prefer to use these when they are safe to do so? Are we not intelligent to make the decision then use the second best option which is taking part of the lane? Which by the way the law says we can.

      You think that because you read this on social media that all cyclists are going rampant in society causing havoc. What rubbish. The vast majority are very sensible and try to use common sense when negotiating the grey zones between dedicated cycle paths, etc. much like car drivers actually. We are not dumb. We want to get home too. Cyclist are actually your work mates, family, friends and potential doctors, surgeons, teachers… um that makes them Aussies? We are not a nanny state so stop behaving like we are. The world is risky. Cyclists know that and calculate the risk/benefits. We will come off second best every time verse a car so how is that really is your problem? You worry about you and I’ll worry about me. Deal?

  17. Love the article, just to clarify, in Western Australia you are legally allowed to ride on the footpath at any age.

  18. Its just amazing how much bad feeling there is from drivers whenever a cycling post appears or a story involving a cyclist hits the news. Check out any road junction controlled by traffic lights and find one that has no debris from cars hitting into each other. One cyclist runs a red light and it hits the national news and governments start to debate how they control ALL cyclists and yet motorists are strictly controlled and they STILL break the road rules. How many times does National Media highlight a motorist running a red light or god forbid fails to come to a stop at a Stop sign? Mmmm we are on a hiding to nothing, it doesn’t matter how many cars we own, how much money we earn or taxes we pay, no the Aussie Motorist rules, the media gives them air time and all the Trolls jump on the bandwagon. We will never win if we call it a war, so like Brett says, do your thing, play with other drivers, abuse the crap out of them and just leave us alone to ride our bikes.

  19. I don’t have a problem with the law, or cyclists. I suppose it just concerns me that the cyclists themselves don’t want to protect their own lives by NOT riding side by side on a busy road, or on a blind bend, regardless of the law. If I were a cyclist I’d Value my life more than the law and stick to single file. As a driver if the speed says 100 and it’s raining heavily, I don’t do 100 because I value my life and respect that I can contribute to my own safety….. regardless of the limit or the law.

  20. It has been legal for all cyclists, any age, to ride on the footpath in South Australia for several years.

  21. Strange how motorcyclists are taught to be aware of other traffic to protect themselves and cyclists are taught we don’t even have to check for anything. Swerving because there is something in front of you puts you at fault no one else

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