An opinion piece from CAN aired in Stuff last week:
The spectacle on our news-feeds of spats between two angry men- one holding a bicycle, one yelling from a car, is commonplace in this age of GoPro cameras, and media hungry for sensation. Despite resulting in no injury beyond insulted pride -not even a scratched bumper or buckled spoke- a recent row between a cyclist and SUV driver in Roehampton, England has had over 170,000 views on various media.
Makes you wonder how many road-rage incidents between van and car drivers, or truck and motorbike drivers, occurred in the same week without fanfare. Yes, there's a prevalent urban myth that cyclists and motorists are at odds, battling for space, and failing to understand each other. There are people on bikes who act like idiots, and people using cars as though they were on a racetrack. But in reality, on the streets of New Zealand, anecdotal evidence is that the majority of motorists are in fact treating cyclists with more consideration than ever before. Why?
Well, biking is booming in NZ. Since the phenomenal take-off in the popularity of mountain biking, which in turn inspired the network of cycle touring trails, cycling has moved into the mainstream. Now, with the Government pouring an extra $100 million into the Urban Cycling Programme, and a high-level Cycling Safety Panel established, cycling for everyday journeys, on-road, is rapidly increasing as well. Some districts of Christchurch and Wellington have up to 16% of commuters using a bike, and bike sales have never been stronger. Bikes are everywhere. When I'm driving, especially in the CBD, I'm now encountering far more people on bikes, and have to learn to share the road with them as peacably as possible. I'm hearing about 1.5 meter overtaking distances on the media, my friends and family are taking up cycling, and, though I've a driving license for decades now, I'm seeing road use from a slightly different perspective.
We only have to hear the offending filmed driver's statement, “I fully appreciate that cyclists have as much right to the road as any other road users” to see how much has changed.
Read the piece, interspersed with images from the latest road rage video, on Stuff's Motoring page here- Respect for cyclists grows