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.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.