How did cyclists become so offensive?
On the days I bike to work or take a leisurely ride around the streets I believe I am doing some good. I am not tearing up the asphalt. I don't take up any precious car parks. And it means there's another car off the road - helping alleviate our city's congestion issues.
Plus it's healthy.
So why all the haters?
The Bay of Plenty Times last month published a story about a well-used cycleway on Welcome Bay Rd.
The issue is the cycleway cuts across a free turn into Welcome Bay Lane, a popular slip road in a 60km/h area. Concerns over its safety have since prompted a temporary slower speed limit and an onslaught of orange markers to make things safer. This week, the New Zealand Transport Agency and Tauranga City Council confirmed an independent cycle safety expert would review the entire Maungatapu Underpass.
Great news, surely? No motorist wants to be responsible for running over a cyclist, and no cyclist wants to be injured or killed.
Yet, feedback suggests otherwise.
On social media and during conversations I've had, people question why anything should be done for cyclists "because they don't pay road user taxes".
Others, particularly on Facebook, suggest cyclists should just give way to motorists. Easy to say, harder to do. At the offending intersection of Welcome Rd and Welcome Bay Lane this week, our editorial staff counted only one out of three motorists actually indicated to turn into the slip road. The story was published on Wednesday.
This doesn't give me much faith there wouldn't be an accident should cyclists simply give way, as suggested on social media.
Other comments on Facebook include, "Why not ban cyclists?", "Yew, look at all those cyclists" and "What are they doing on the road anyway?"
Yes, I'm a cyclist. But I'm a motorist and taxpayer too and this animosity concerns me.
If we, as a city, are planning on reducing congestion, encouraging healthy ways of moving about and becoming cycle-friendly, we have a long, long road - and cycleway - to go.