Cyclist’s safety concerns

A Northam cyclist has expressed his issues with personal safety on wheatbelt roads due to unsafe motorist behaviour.
A Northam cyclist has expressed his issues with personal safety on wheatbelt roads due to unsafe motorist behaviour.

A Northam cyclist has expressed concern with safety while riding due to “unnecessary aggression” and “unsafe overtaking maneuvers” displayed by motorists. 

Wayne Abel has been a recreational cyclist for three and a half years and regularly rides through York,  Southern Brook, Muluckine, Meckering, Clackline and Eadine.

We are not stupid and know we are the vulnerable ones, so we try to avoid traffic

Wayne Abel

“There is a group of cyclists in town, some younger and quite a few older,” he explained.

 “We try to stay off the main roads and during harvest we go the opposite direction.

“We are not stupid and know we are the vulnerable ones, so we try to avoid traffic.”

The shift worker said most of his friends ride in the early morning to avoid traffic but he does not always have that option due to his work hours.  

He said there has been incidents where drivers will overtake when it is not safe to do so or pull out in front of a bike and nearly cause serious crashes – so he now makes sure to film all rides with a video camera attached to his bike. 

“A guy passed us on double white lines and the poor guy in the four wheel drive coming the other way had to go into the dirt on the other side of the road to avoid a head-on (collision).” he said.

“We were all shocked and then he pulled into a road about one kilometre up.”

The 51-year-old said people underestimate how fast a racing bike can go, especially around the town site.

“Drivers will pull out when I am coming towards a roundabout or when they are at a stop sign – but they don’t realise we can get up to the speed limit and how dangerous it is to stop at that speed.

“People pull out in front of you and toodle off at 20 kilometres per hour.” Wayne said he has nearly “t-boned” a number of cars coming out of Woolworths and Coles this way.

“If they do pull out, they have to get up to the speed limit because we’ve got nowhere to go – it can be very dangerous,” he said.

He said he has a group of female friends who would like to go riding but are “cautious and scared” due to the behaviour of some road users.

Wayne said he wished the public would learn the legalities of the road including leaving one metre distance between the vehicle and cyclist and added: “Cyclists are just as entitled to use the road as drivers. “We have four cars in our family and I pay my taxes. “After my knee reconstruction I have to do something to stay fit.”