A photo of a cycling scenario that often rubs drivers up the wrong way has once again exposed the "divide" between riders and motorists.
Picturing three Lycra-clad cyclists side by side in inner-city Melbourne, a designated cycle path running parallel to the road sits empty.
"Why do this?" the person who took the photo asked their online audience. And while it's unclear if the person's objective was to incite negative commentary about cyclists, it certainly did.
The group were labelled "entitled" alongside other derogatory remarks which fired up cyclists who vehemently defended their fellow riders.
The relationship between cyclists and motorists in Australia is undoubtedly challenging, with both sets of road users often feeling aggrieved by the others' behaviour on the road.
Cycling advocacy groups believe there is an unfair perception of those on two wheels, with little opportunity to reason with those fuelling a stigma that plagues riders.
Why cyclists don't use bike lanes
CEO of Bicycle NSW Peter McLean told Yahoo News Australia there are a range of simple reasons why cyclists might not use a designated cycle lane when available.
"Sometimes there's debris in the lanes and they're not always well cleaned. Often there's access issues as well as obstructions and problems with the surface," he said.
Mr McLean also noted that with the continuing increase in riders, lanes can become congested, and those who are faster than the average rider will have an easier journey on the road.
He stressed that those using the road wouldn't be doing it simply for the sake of it, and that riders always choose the route that is "safest" for them, reminding road users cyclists are entitled to use the road even if there is a designated bike lane.
"In many instances it's fair to say that bicycle riders are allowed to still access the road," he pointed out.
Edward Hore, President of the Australian Cycling Alliance, and a cyclist with experience of the stretch of road in question, told Yahoo the bike path is "too dangerous" for faster riders to navigate, and is often taken up by scooter riders and those pushing prams.
How Lycra shapes road users opinions
When discussing the behaviour of cyclists, a common theme often arises, centred around the attire of those on two wheels. Those sporting Lycra and similar tight-fitting cycling wear are often singled out as the cause of issues.
"There's a very distinct difference between how drivers might perceive different types of bicycle users," Mr McLean said, pointing to research from Flinders University and Queensland University of Technology where cyclists say they were treated worse on the roads for wearing Lycra, and seen as "less human".
Reflecting on his own experience, Mr McLean says he "rarely gets any issues" now he has swapped competitive cycling for casual commutes wearing his RM Williams.
"Some drivers might see me more as someone with a purpose, whereas a Lycra-clad person might not be seen as having a purpose, they're just taking up a piece of road space for their own personal pursuit and that is seen by some as selfish," he noted.
"There's no hiding from the fact there is divide and there are certainly some ingrained cultural and systemic issues that we've got to face in Australia, and that's the responsibility of all road users and that includes bicycle users to make sure they're doing the right thing.
"We've just got to understand bicycle riders are human, they probably have sons or daughters or they're a brother or sister and we need to treat everyone with respect whether they're in a ute, a truck, a big car, a small car or a bicycle.
"The main message is our roads are here to share."
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