OPINION: Drivers need training and tolerance for cyclists
MOST people can't drive. It's a sad fact.
That's the elephant in the room when the debate surrounding cyclists and motorists habitually surfaces.
Focussing on the issue of speeding is an easy target for governments. The reality is that driver inability and inattention are the greatest problems on our roads.
How many who get behind the wheel each day have completed advanced driver training? Can you actually parallel park without using the latest in automated functions? Do you keep left when not overtaking?
Chances are that no one will admit it, but most drivers don't have the confidence or ability to be at the helm of a two-tonne lethal weapon.
Which makes cyclists extremely vulnerable.
- Most drivers giving cyclists room...but still a deadly game for some
- Nine ways to avoid being in a Sunshine Coast crash
That lack of ability translates to a failure to comprehend the platform of the vehicle. As an avid rider, I see the best and worst of both cyclists and drivers.
Compact hatches, often piloted by women, give you 5m clearance. Tradies on their way to work just about shave your legs for you.
On Sunday my wife pedalled 16km. She was abused twice and intimidated by young men for no reason...travelling in the cyclist lane.
Why? It's senseless.
Perhaps it's jealously which promotes this behaviour...they don't have the intestinal fortitude to challenge themselves like those pushing the pedals.
As APN's motoring editor, during the past five years nearly every week includes training in closed conditions under the guidance of Australia's best driver trainers. On each occasion I'm humbled by my inability behind the wheel by those who can truly steer - 99% could do with the same experiences if advanced driver training was enforced.
During recent months I have driven thousands of kilometres across three states and have lost about 40 seconds of my time waiting to overtake cyclists. Yet I've lost minutes waiting for trucks unable to scale hills at the speed limit, P-platers unable to go above 90kmh on highways and people with simply no awareness of anything around them on the road.
Cyclists aren't the enemy. We are mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, sons, daughters and business people.
We pay our taxes which fund the roads (not registrations, but we do own cars too), and we just want to get home safely too.