Cycling in Canberra
Before I moved to Canberra I was warned about being ‘buzzed’ which is the act of someone getting as close to you as they can and possibly shouting out of the car window/honking the horn. I had a few run-ins since we moved here including one where a motorist deliberately moved across me forcing me to take refuge in a receded bus-stop area. This was then topped when I was actually clipped by a motorist and knocked off my bike. Thankfully I emerged relatively unscathed with just some bruises, a swollen calf and some interesting scars; oh and a broken bike!
This may sound rather bad however for the most part cycling in Canberra is rather enjoyable. There’s plenty of off and on-road cycle lanes which allow you to get to pretty much anywhere in the city by bike. They’re generally well maintained and the local advocacy group for cyclists, Pedal Power, are very vocal and really do push for more things two-wheeled in Canberra. While there is a constant dispute between motorists and cyclists with many motorists of the opinion that all cyclists should pay rego (despite many, like myself, who pay for it anyway for their car) and more importantly just flat out shouldn’t be on the road most of the time the only thing you need worry about whilst cycling in Canberra are the magpies during September/October. I can see both sides of the argument, there are plenty of off-road cycle lanes so why should you be on road where there isn’t a lane but then on the flip-side as long as the cyclist is competent on the road there should be no reason they shouldn’t be allowed to use it. This is especially true when you venture outside the city where there aren’t any cycle lanes to be used so it’s on the road we go.
At the end of the day it’s all about respect. I constantly get annoyed when I see a fellow cyclist skip a set of red lights or fly in and out of traffic on the blind side of drivers. That just gives ammunition to those that believe cyclists are a menace on the road. At the same time motorists should give a little more room when overtaking and be just that little more patient when they’re wanting to use the off-ramp. The amount of times a motorist has gone to overtake me only to then brake and pull across as they miss the junction, having underestimated my speed, isn’t even funny.