A video filmed by a motorist in Australia – illegally, using a handheld mobile phone – that shows him taking to a bike path to overtake two cyclists using the road has gone viral, attracting 2 million views on just one Facebook group since being posted there earlier today.
In the 10-plus years road.cc has been going, it’s fair to say that in the Anglophone world at least, the country has stood out above all others when it comes to hatred of cyclists by motorists.
And within Australia, New South Wales stands out as a state where the issue appears particularly acute – as one member of the road.cc team who used to live there often reminds us.
The video – which includes a lot of swearing – was apparently filmed on Swamp Road, between Dunmore and Jamberoo on the southern New South Wales coast.
As he passed the cyclists, the driver shouted: “'What's the point of us spending this money if you're not going to use it, you f*cking d*ckheads?”
One of the cyclists replied, “Pull over, so I can have a chat,” but was met with the response, “F*ck off, f*cking idiot... use the bike track!”
Credited to one Thomas Harris, the video seems to have been posted originally to a closed Facebook group called Australia’s Toughest Cars.
It’s since been posted to an open group, also from Australia, called Car Mafia, where within 12 hours it has been viewed around 2 million times and tens of thousands of comments – the vast majority of which are anti-cyclist.
Special rules applying to cyclists in New South Wales allow them to ride two abreast as long as there is no more than 1.5 metres between the riders.
The New South Wales government’s Road Users' Handbook stipulates: “When a bicycle lane is marked on the road, cyclists must use it.”
It adds: “These lanes may only be used by bicycles, but you may drive in these lanes for not more than 50 metres to enter or leave the road at a driveway or intersection.”
Of course, the bike path here is entirely separate from the main carriageway rather than being a bicycle lane. It’s unclear what the specific law is regarding whether cyclists are obliged to use it or not, but we’re sure that motorists shouldn’t - and he certainly travels a lot more than 50 metres.
Furthermore, the Road Users Handbook also says: “Unrestricted [ie comparable to a full UK] licence holders may use a mobile phone for voice calls and audio playing functions only.
“The phone must either be secured in a mounting or if it is not secured in a mounting, be used without touching any part of the phone, such as via Bluetooth. Touching a phone to use other functions such as text, video calling, internet or email is against the law.”
So that's handheld filming that's against the law, too.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.