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Watch out

Cyclists and motorists continue to be at loggerheads prompting the Shire of Kalamunda to remind all road users to follow the rules when riding for an event or recreationally.

Between 2010 and 2015, 28 cyclists died on West Australian roads. Of these, half of the cyclists in 2015 were not wearing helmets.

Kalamunda chief executive officer Rhonda Hardy said the shire had received a number of complaints from residents about cyclists in recent months.

“Most complaints are about riding abreast in large numbers, riding on the wrong side of the road and inappropriate behaviour,” she said.

“The shire is a cycling friendly community and appreciates that cyclists enjoy riding on our roads, particularly in the more scenic hill areas but we do expect riders to know their rights and responsibilities and for cyclists and drivers to mutually respect each other.”

The Kalamunda Cycle Shop has been operating for over 40 years with Jo and Tim Bennett at the helm for the past 12.

Mrs Bennett said there was an increase in the number of people cycling, particularly with huge numbers on weekends.

“Sharing the roads is a matter of common sense,” she said.

“Some motorists are impatient and while we educate our patrons as best as we can, some don’t allow for enough time to safely negotiate the roads.

“I always recommend having a light on the front and back of your bike, even in the daytime.”

Mrs Bennett agreed that narrow roads, poor road surfaces, broken road edges and impatient drivers passing too closely caused angst between road users.

One cyclist, who rides with a group through the Perth Hills, said cyclists also had to be more courteous.

The 53-year-old told Echo News he had many  close calls with motorists and said while poorly designed and narrow roads were not limited to the shires of Kalamunda and Mundaring, more needed to be done to keep all road users safe.

“My good quality helmet has definitely saved me on at least two occasions – once when I collided with a van at a roundabout and another time when I hit a large pot hole in the middle of a major intersection.”

Last year, a cyclist’s on-bike camera footage showed an angry driver trying to ram their four-wheel-drive backwards into a riding group in Glen Forrest.

The footage showed a Land Rover, driving in the opposite direction to the cyclists, stop, then reverse at speed.

The 4WD crossed to the wrong side of the road directly towards the rearmost rider in what was an attempt to force him off his bike or at least off the road.

Although the rider managed to keep his seat, the group was badly shaken.

“It was close,” wrote the owner of the camera.

“We were all okay. Just lucky as it could have been worse.”

The victim posted that he believed it had been a definite attempt to run him down.

A new television campaign, Might be a Mate aims to build empathy between motorists and cyclists giving practical advice on what safe road usage means.

On April 27, 2016, WA’s laws changed to allow cyclists of all ages to use footpaths, unless otherwise signed.

The amendment to the Road Traffic Code 2000 brought WA’s bicycle laws into line with the rest of Australia, making it legal for parents to ride alongside their children on footpaths, improving safety.

The Kalamunda Shire has also recently launched a public comment period for the development of a Bike Network Plan, which will help to build on the shire’s bicycle network and improve infrastructure for the cycling community. To have your say visit www.kalamunda.wa.gov.au/bikeplan.

A community information session will also be held this Tuesday, March 28, at the Zig Zag Cultural Centre. For information and to RSVP call 9257 9999.

About Michelle Beaven

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