Perth cycling club president Russell Miller and cyclist trainer Graeme Brown have defended their presence on the roads in the wake of calls to ban them from riding side by side on the road, even in cycle lanes.
National lobbyist group Drivers for the Registration of Cyclists created a petition on Change.org in support of the move, which has gathered more than 103,000 signatures.
The association, which has around 42,000 followers on Facebook, argues that drivers are unable to keep their mandatory one-metre distance from cyclists when riders travel in pairs.
Russell Miller, president of the Melville-Fremantle Cycling Club, strongly disputes the claims.
“That’s total crap,” he says.
“The law, when it was changed, said that drivers can cross double white lines to give cyclists plenty of room and not have to squeeze between cyclists side-by-side.
“If there’s nothing coming towards you then you’re allowed to go over the double white line.”
Miller believes the debate surrounding cyclists will always occur.
“It doesn’t matter what it is in society today, there will be those for against it,” he says.
“Look at our political system; it runs 48 to 52 (per cent) or something around that.
“You never get total agreement.”
Can someone please explain to me how it is safer for cars to pass cyclists riding single file as opposed to riding abreast? Not only do you still need to change lanes to pass, you now also have to pass a longer line of cyclists.
— James (@waterbarleyhops) April 15, 2018
Owner of cycling training business GB Coaching, Graeme Brown, says there is merit to why cyclists prefer to ride two abreast.
“It is definitely safer,” he says.
“If you ride in the gutter the cars have more room and feel like they can squeeze past.
“If there are two people riding next to each other then cars are forced to slow down.”
Brown believes the criticism of cyclists is unwarranted.
“We’re always seen as the villains but we are also human,” he says.
“I understand that it can be a hindrance and annoying but I drive a car as well.
“I ride in bunches of forty or fifty people riding two abreast which are about 60-metres long.
“If we rode in single file it would be 120-metres long so what would the safer option be then?
“Would you rather have to pass a 60-metre group or 120-metre group?”
Westcycle CEO Matt Fulton has also quashed the lobby group’s argument.