'They're scared': Debate erupts over cycling road rule

A road rules question about cyclists using the footpath has stirred people up and raised a question about how safe they feel on our roads.

Queensland Transport and Main Roads posed a question to readers on Monday.

“The person in red is riding an e-bike on the footpath even though there's a bike lane provided on the road. Is that allowed?” the department wrote.

A cyclist is seen riding on a footpath.
Can the cyclist ride on the footpath even though there's a cycling lane? Source: Queensland Transport and Main Roads

Most people answered the question correctly – it is perfectly fine for cyclists and e-bike riders in Queensland to use the footpath unless a sign prohibits them to do so.

“These devices are permitted on paths as not all bike riders have the confidence or ability to ride on a road, therefore forcing them into a road environment would present a greater safety risk,” the department wrote.

“However, bike riders must keep left and give way to all pedestrians on footpaths and shared paths. Bike riders also have to ride to the left of any approaching bike riders.”

Many readers used the rule to share their frustration over sharing the footpath with cyclists.

“Whatever they are riding, bike riders will do as they want and too bad for anyone else,” one man wrote.

One woman wrote cyclists “have their own rules” while some complained cyclists often ignore bike lanes.

Others, many cyclists, wrote the rule comes as a relief to ease anxiety about riding on the road.

“I like to ride my bike with my baby on the back and avoid riding on the road. I just don't feel it’s safe at all,” one woman wrote.

Cyclists 'scared of drivers'

A survey released by Ford Australia in 2018 found about one in five drivers have expressed road rage against cyclists.

The survey asked 2000 drivers about their attitudes towards cyclists on the road, The Guardian reported. It found road rage was highest in the 18-34 age group whom said they had sworn, honked their horn or made hand gestures to passing cyclists.

It also found 70 per cent of drivers believed that cyclists were to blame when being involved in accidents.

In an opinion piece published in The Courier-Mail in 2018, Anne Savage, the then-chief executive of Bicycle Queensland, said 20 per cent of Queensland cyclists found the “main barrier” to cyclists hitting the road “is fear of traffic”.

“They’re scared of drivers,” Ms Savage said.

“What we’re really calling for is for safe behaviours both on the part of cyclists and drivers … greater awareness and much greater vigilance.”

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