February 6th, 2010
CYCLISTS on Geelong and Surf Coast roads are being targeted by hateful, impatient motorists, police and riders say.
Marshall cyclist Danny Connor, 55, told of his shock after being assaulted while riding on the Great Ocean Road near Moggs Creek on Australia Day.
“I was riding about 38km/h on the left-hand side of the road, when I was suddenly aware of a car coming in very close to me, and at the same moment, I was punched quite forcefully on the right side of my abdomen,” Mr Connor said.
Mr Conner regained control of his bike, then looked up to see a man hanging out the passenger side of a car yelling abuse at him as the vehicle drove away.
“It was just an absolute shock … I was really shaken up afterwards,” he said. Bellarine policeman Leading Senior-Constable Laurie Taylor said officers were investigating several other incidents of road rage aimed at cyclists.
In one case, on January 19, a man repeatedly swerved his car aggressively towards a group of 10 cyclists on Breamlea Road, Connewarre, before confronting and abusing them.
“Then he’s pulled over further up the road, got out of his vehicle and confronted them, saying ’you f–ing idiots, roads are for cars, not f–ing bikes’,” Sen-Constable Taylor said.
In another incident last month, a man leaning out the passenger window of a passing car shoved several cyclists as they rode along on Torquay’s Esplanade.
“A group of up to 15 cyclists was travelling on the Esplanade when a car’s pulled up beside them, a passenger’s leaned out the window, touched them, and tried to push some of them off their bikes,” Sen-Constable Taylor said.
He said the incidents indicated a growing attitude of intolerance by drivers.
“This is definitely getting worse,” he said. “It’s just ludicrous, you should be able to ride your bikes on the road without this happening.”
Drivers found to be threatening or endangering cyclists on the road can face a range of charges, including reckless driving and conduct endangering life.