I want to like cyclists. By riding their bikes they reduce the number of cars on the road and get healthy in the process.

But some cyclists are irritating - acting like they own the road and flouting rules.

It was car mayhem dropping the kids off at school on a wet Monday last week. We were just about to cross the road when a man on a bike came whizzing around the corner at top speed. He nearly took off our toenails. As he sped along he shouted "Watch out for cyclists".

I hollered after him; "And you watch out for pedestrians - you are going more than 20km/h by a school!" He gave me a backward wave.


At the weekend along Marine Parade I passed cyclists riding abreast forcing cars almost into oncoming traffic.

There are always tensions between various road users, but the latest example of the arrogance of some cyclists is their protest at wearing helmets. In the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend our snap survey of local streets observed nearly half not wearing helmets.

Latest figures show that nationally more than 10,000 infringement notices are issued to non-helmeted cyclists each year, and 10 cyclists were killed and 713 injured on the country's roads last year.

Cycling Advocates Network spokesman Patrick Morgan said last month that wearing a helmet should not be a legal requirement. In response, Associate Minister of Transport Craig Foss said the Cycle Safety Panel supported mandatory use saying "wearing a helmet can be the difference between a nasty shock or headache, and long-term brain injury or death."

The anti-helmet Mr Morgan himself doesn't wear a helmet because he had a medical exemption that they caused him migraines.

Not as big a headache as he risks if he cracked his skull open on the road.

Are helmets just not cool? Cyclists have surely already abandoned cool status by donning the fluoro and the lycra.Running head-first into a car or slamming your head into concrete is not cool either.

As the pro-helmet-wearing cyclist points out in our story; "It's definitely not 'cool' to wear a helmet, but I don't think serious head injuries are very cool so I take the social blow to protect myself."

Cyclists, get over yourselves and wear a helmet.