Saturday, 7 August 2010

Pedal peril: Newcastle cyclists feel unsafe

From The Herald...


A SURVEY of Newcastle cyclists has found that almost half feel unsafe on city roads, with abusive and careless motorists and lack of dedicated bike lanes mostly to blame.

Off-road routes such as The Foreshore and Fernleigh Track are proving popular.

Newcastle City Council asked 784 people about their habits for the Cycling in Newcastle survey.

Councillor Michael Osborne said the feedback would help the council prepare a city cycling strategy.

Improving popular routes and creating more cycle lanes should be priorities, he said.

More than 42 per cent of survey respondents said they felt unsafe riding their bike, especially on major roads.

In the past year, 47 per cent were abused by motorists, 52 per cent were hit by opening car doors and 55 per cent had a near miss with a vehicle.

"There is currently a degree of resentment between cyclists, pedestrians and motorists," the survey report said.

Throsby Creek and the harbour foreshore, Fernleigh Track and trips between the suburbs and inner-city were popular routes.

Reasons for cycling included health and leisure, reducing one's carbon footprint, convenience and commuting.

Respondents said more dedicated lanes and off-road routes, better safety and road conditions, and increased driver awareness would encourage activity.

Daniel Chalhoub and Glenn Stojanow, of CFN cycling store, ride daily and said extra cycle lanes would not go astray, nor would education for drivers and cyclists to be aware of one another.

Projects such as Fernleigh Track were welcome, they said.

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