An Auckland cyclist says he was threatened with a hammer yesterday) after he tracked down a motorist who nearly hit him while driving at speed up a steep, narrow suburban street.
The cyclist, who commutes by bike from St Heliers to the city, has reported the incident to police but does not want to be named because he is afraid of the motorist.
"At about 7.30am I was just coming down the Yattendon Rd hill, it's quite a steep hill and there were cars parked on both sides so it was quite narrow," he said.
"There was this car travelling up the hill at 80km/hour, absolutely flying. I had no way to get out of the road. This guy missed hitting me by millimetres basically.
"I started yelling in fright: 'What are you doing?' This guy stopped and was yelling at me, swearing at me, giving me the fingers."
The motorist then carried on up the hill. The cyclist followed him and found the car parked outside a building site.
"He stepped out of his car waving a hammer in his hand saying, 'I'm going to hit you.'
"I went up the hill and called the police. It was completely unprovoked."
The incident is one of dozens reported by Herald readers in response to news that 18 cyclists have already been killed on our roads this year, up from five last year.
A 61-year-old Havelock North woman who bikes about 150km a week said trucks and trade vehicles were the biggest dangers.
"I have been run off the road twice by trucks, one a truck and trailer logging truck and the second a truck and trailer stock truck," she said.
Christchurch cyclist Jeremy Ross said he also found it a terrifying experience when big trucks passed close to him.
"I believe most truck drivers have no concept of the dangers involved when passing a cyclist closely and yet these guys are supposed to be professional drivers," he said.
Auckland cyclist Aarif Rajiwate said he almost died when a motorist came out of a side street on to Dominion Rd and did not see him.
"She only saw me after she came on the road and realised her mistake and wondered what will happen now because I was going fast since it was downhill for me. She realised it is too late and it may help if she speeds up which she did," he said.
"I pressed my brakes hard. My back wheels kind of skid and moved up in the air. This was the moment when I realised what it means when they say 'your entire life flashes in front of you'. It does.
"I missed her car but don't know how. Perhaps God wanted me to live that day and see my wife and daughter at home.
"My heart was in my mouth till the next lights where I stopped. I was still scared and a few tears came in my eyes. Went slow all the way to home."
Dutch-born cyclist Michel Tent suggested that cycling deaths may have increased as a side-effect of constructing more cycleways, which has encouraged more people on to bikes.
"I would not be surprised to discover that even though the death toll has tripled, the total number of cyclists on the road will have multiplied by at least that figure," he said.
He said about 200 cyclists died on Dutch roads every year, yet Dutch roads were "far safer" than in New Zealand.
Another cyclist, Les Hewson, said motorists in other countries "give cyclists plenty of room and don't overtake if they can't ensure the cyclist's safety".
"Try a cycling holiday in France down the Loire as I did a couple of years ago to see how other people behave and you will soon realise New Zealand drivers care for nothing but themselves," he said.
A Te Atatu cyclist said "being sworn at and abused is a normal part of a daily commute" in Te Atatu Rd.
"Having travelled to and lived in many other countries I think NZ is the worst and most dangerous country to ride a bicycle," he said.
A 47-year-old cyclist who commutes from Meadowbank into Auckland said poor road design was a factor.
"Cars, trucks, and buses are driven on roads designed as if cyclists don't exist," he said.
"You see road lanes that are too narrow for drivers to be able to pass a cyclist, but they still do and end up pushing cyclists into the kerb."
A Pukekohe cyclist appealed to motorists to slow down as they passed.
"There is a huge difference in wind effect between a vehicle passing at 90km/h and one doing 70 km/h. Even more so with heavy vehicles," he said.
He said motorists who squeezed between a cyclist and an oncoming vehicle "put three or more lives at risk - mine, theirs and the driver of the oncoming vehicle".