Hating on bike riders isn't okay
ON BEHALF of Queensland cyclists, I'd like to call for an end to hostilities between bike riders and car drivers on Queensland roads.
Drivers, I have a message for you. Ordinary Queensland bike riders - our mums and dads and kids - are terrified of you. At least 1 in 5 Queenslanders say the main barrier to bike riding is fear of traffic.
Your average car weighs over 1,000 kilograms, our average bike weighs just 15. You travel on suburban streets at about 50 kilometres an hour, we ride at about 15 kilometres per hour.
When you honk, shout, and hurl profanities, we get hurt. We have a right to be on the road, and we ask you to respect that right.
When I talk to Queenslanders about riding to work or the shops, to get healthy and reduce our environmental footprint, many of them say they would, but for fear of cars and the attitude of some drivers.
Between January and December last year, there were 240 fatalities caused by road crashes in Queensland - eight of these were cyclists and all 240 deaths were tragedies.
In relation to cycling, serious injury crashes have been increasing by eight per cent every year, costing the economy about $150 million annually and leaving hundreds of cyclists severely traumatised by the experience.
Speed is almost always a factor, although most people underestimate its significance.
Cyclists also have responsibility for their behaviour on the road - obeying the law and riding safely. There is little doubt that many beginners would benefit from basic safety training.
Indeed, Queensland roads would be much safer to drive on if all of us felt more compelled to demonstrate mutual courtesy.
Just consider, for a moment, the possibility that a shift in paradigm could help to save the lives of our loved ones and end the tragic death toll of road crashes.
Just consider, for a moment, that if we slow down, share the road, and show each other some respect, Queensland families would not have to endure the heartbreaking agony of a phone call from the police informing them their loved one is lying in an Intensive Care Unit on life support, following an accident.
All road users were created equal - all of us contribute to the cost of transport infrastructure, as tax payers. Your car rego mostly goes into paying for administration of the registration system, and what remains goes into general revenue, possibly to be used in repairing roads that are damaged by motor vehicle use.
Make no mistake - bike riding offers a solution to Queensland's current and future traffic gridlock, offering great hope for our collective health and wellbeing.
In fact, the 2017 National Cycling Participation Survey indicated a resounding majority of Queenslanders want to see stronger investment in bikeways (67%), and better connections between bike paths and schools, shops, pools, and parks.
59 per cent of Queenslanders also called for more on-road bike lanes.
The evidence is clear, Queenslanders want to get on their bikes - I beg you, please, to give us some space and show us some love. Hating on bike riders isn't okay.