As Pavel Brutt showed some serious strength in keep away rivals to take Stage 5 of the Giro, Mike reflects on the alleged road rage attack by a driver on a group of cyclists, which included 2005 German training crash survivor Kate Nichols.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

The road rage incident involving a group of 50 Sydney cyclists and an arrogant motorist shocked an entire city last week, had tongues wagging on talk-back radio and received blanket media coverage.

Podcast: video highlights of every stage of the 2008 Giro d'Italia

But for the more experienced users of Sydney's roads did it come as any surprise?

I dare say not!

This was another incident waiting to happen.

For those of us who rise in the early hours several days a week to experience the joy of the bunch ride - the confrontation between motorist and cyclists is nothing new.

It happens all the time, but who is to blame?

It's like oil and water - a car and and a bike on the same piece of road just doesn't mix!

As a recreational cyclist myself, who loves to get out on a regular basis, I get fed-up with the lack of tolerance, patience and respect from motorists who completely ignore our rights on the road.

But as a motorist also, there have been times when I've been left shaking my head when behind the wheel of my car at the antics of some of the two-wheeled warriors who also completely ignore the laws of the road.

So there are good and bad on both sides.
That said perhaps bikes and cars DO mix as is evident in other Australian capital cities and most other parts of the world - particularly northern Europe and Asia.

I'd say 99 per cent of bike riders in Australia obey the road rules and genuinely try to avoid upsetting motorists.
But it's not always the case.

When you ride a bike on Sydney roads, you take your life into your own hands.

The sheer size of Australia's biggest city, the geography and endless flow of heavy traffic simply makes it awkward for parties from both sides to share the busy roads.

I believe part of the problem for the "us and them" attitude between drivers and riders stems from the Critical Mass group.

Why these cyclists aim to disrupt Friday night peak-hour traffic in a bid to get their message across has me scratching my head.

This is a classic example to the reasons motorists have no affinity with bike riders.

Surely there must be other ways to protest!

If respect from motorists is a requirement then I'm all for paying an annual registration fee.

I understand this is a scenario that doesn't sit well with many cyclists.

With these taxes more road space could be spared and sharing the roads wouldn't be such an issue.

At a time when the sale of bicycles out-number that of motor cars and as governments from all levels continue to encourage us to ride our bikes on a regular basis, perhaps a better education programme is needed.

At the same time drivers should be encouraged to regularly refresh their knowledge of road rules.

If anything positive has come out of last week's incident it's the awareness from the publicity generated.

Cyclists ride the roads with next-to-no protection and therefore have much more to lose in a confrontation such as that.

It only takes one lunatic motorist from the millions of law abiding road users to have a brain explosion and create unnecessary carnage as was the case on Thursday last.

Let's lead by example - it's not worth losing your life over.

And let's not forget last highlights. Enjoy the racing, and respect each other on the roads.