A Rotorua cyclist subjected to a motorist's tirade of abuse before being pushed to the ground says he has a close call every time he's out on his bike.

And that's prompted a call from the Rotorua Cycle Action Group for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to respect public space.

Ian Guy and a friend were out for a ride about 2pm on New Year's Eve when a yet-to-be-identified driver took exception to sharing the road with the pair.

"Bizarrely we had just left the police station after finding some keys," Guy said.

Advertisement

"We had cycled single-file up Fenton St, and were making our way toward Whakaue St."

He said there was quite a lot of traffic around and both he and his friend were cycling conservatively.

"As we approached the Whakaue St intersection I could see a white car in the corner of my eye. I indicated left to turn into Whakaue St and, when I looked over my shoulder, I saw my friend practically being crushed by this white car."

Guy said the car forced his friend on to the kerb then made a beeline toward him.

"This was where the road is perhaps only 2.5-3m wide and where there's not really enough room for a car to pass a bike. However, this guy mounted the reservation in the middle of the road and went past me in an uncomfortably close manner."

Guy said he banged the roof of the car as it went past, to let the driver know how close he was.

"The driver stopped, got out of his car and hurled abuse at me, as did a young woman who was sitting in the back seat of the car. When he had finished he pushed me and my bike over before getting back in his car and driving off."

Security staff on the perimeter of the Glo Festival saw the incident unfold and called police.

A spokesperson from Police District Command Centre confirmed an investigation into the incident was ongoing.

This is not the first time Guy has had a near-miss with a car, it's actually the fourth.

"I can say three of the four were not my fault although I'll admit the fourth was possibly 50/50.

"Drivers need to realise we do not head out for a cycle and think to intentionally hold up traffic. Sometimes, and in certain places, we do tend to go a bit wide but it is when there isn't enough room for a car to pass a bike and it's for our own safety."

He said two of the biggest frustrations for cyclists were cars swinging into shoulders when taking a bend and left-hand turns.

"I honestly think every time I go out for a ride there is a close call of some kind involving a motorist."

Harm Zuidmeer of the Rotorua Cycle Action Group said motorists, cyclists and pedestrians all needed to respect public space.

"Public space means just that – space for the public. No one has preference over another.

"But unfortunately it is the norm for cyclists not to be seen at intersections just like it is the norm for cyclists being passed too closely by cars."

He said most cyclists dealt with road incidents on a fairly regular basis and most just shrugged them off and kept pedalling.

Zuidmeer said he had to "eject himself from his bike and jump up on to the kerb" only weeks ago after a bus passed him at an uncomfortably close distance.

"I stopped the bus and the bus driver admitted he had seen me."

He believes anyone who cycles has cyclists on their radar when driving but people who don't cycle are less aware of them on the road.

"At a guess I'd estimate the percentage of cyclists in Rotorua to be between 30 and 40 per cent so that's a decent awareness. It would just be great if the remaining people looked for bikes sharing public spaces as cycling is not only good for your health, it's good for the environment."