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Cyclist spat on while riding on Northbourne Avenue

Date

Henry Belot

Spat at: "It hit me flush in the face and I could taste cigarette," Jesse Bulkeley says.

Spat at: "It hit me flush in the face and I could taste cigarette," Jesse Bulkeley says. Photo: Henry Belot

A Canberran cyclist who was spat on by a motorist on Northbourne Avenue has condemned the attack as a "total buzz kill” and a disgusting act that highlights some motorists' negative attitudes towards cyclists.

Jesse Bulkeley, who owns Cycle City in Fyshwick, said this kind of abuse was still common on Canberra roads, although he believed tolerance for cyclists had improved in recent years.

He said he was riding home from work along Northbourne Avenue on Sunday afternoon when a car passed him and “launched a big spit ball at me through their window”.

“It hit me flush in the face and I could taste cigarette," he said.

"It was a despicable act and a total buzz kill of the arvo. I had plans that afternoon and it was a bit of a downer because it’s one of the least savoury acts a person can do and it just ruins you. It’s just poor form."

He said motorists would be less likely to engage in this sort of abusive behaviour if they realised there were consequences for their actions.

“My brother once had an egg thrown at him while cycling and just by chance a bus driver witnessed the attack and recorded the vehicle’s number plates so that he was held accountable,” he said.

Mr Bulkeley said one of his friends had been driving home on a summer night on Macarthur Avenue in Braddon when someone leant out of a car and pulled him off his bike.

On April 1, a cyclist was hit by a Mercedes sedan in Red Hill and was suspended on the bonnet of the car for 200 metres as the driver failed to stop.

But Canberra Cycling Club president Stuart Jones said these instances of abuse were often isolated and cyclists had a responsibility to comply with all road rules.

"The onus is definitely on cyclists who have a huge responsibility to do the right thing on the road if we want to be treated with respect by motorists," he said. 

Mr Jones said the cycling club had not noticed an increase in abuse directed at cyclists, despite this being the public perception, mostly due to ongoing public debate about the newly introduced vulnerable road users legislation.

The new rules introduced by Attorney-General Simon Corbell last month classified cyclists as vulnerable road users and introduced tougher sentences for motorists who endanger them, including up to two years of prison time.  

Mr Bulkeley said cyclists often caused motorists' frustration and anger but said these incidents were not based on confusion surrounding road rules, but a general lack of respect on the roads.

"Yes, there are some instances where cyclists are in the wrong but all in all motorists need to be cautious and tolerant on the roads, just like we need to follow the road rules and not run red lights," he said. "It goes both ways."

78 comments so far

  • I have a work mate that tells the story about a cyclist the continually used his car to "rest" on at each set of lights, when the driver asked them not to do it any more, He spat on the windscreen then ducked down a side alley and off into the city... also on Northbourbe ave....

    Commenter
    Shogunmatty
    Location
    Reality
    Date and time
    June 12, 2014, 1:53PM
    • I don't condone that act, but can you not see some sort of moral distinction between spitting on a car and spitting in someone's face?

      Commenter
      sceptical and proud
      Location
      running with scissors
      Date and time
      June 12, 2014, 3:07PM
    • I was pro-cyclist until I was abused by a rider on a white bicycle in Civic for daring to want to turn left when being caught at a red light and not being able to straighten the car.

      Any sympathy for the cause I had evaporated at that point forever.

      Commenter
      Outraged
      Date and time
      June 12, 2014, 3:09PM
    • The fact that a human would despise another one to the point where they spit their possibly infected saliva in the direction of another person is not on... You may like to spit on things but I was taught never to do so... and I would expect others to do the same...

      Commenter
      Shogunmatty
      Location
      Reality
      Date and time
      June 12, 2014, 3:18PM
    • @outraged I used to be pro-car until one day a car (insert crime which caused me minor inconvenience)... Blah blah

      Commenter
      NotReally
      Date and time
      June 12, 2014, 7:22PM
    • Same here. I have had cyclist hold themselves up against my car and when I told him to stop, he got abusive.

      Luckily the light turned green or he'd 've needed a proctologist to get his bike out of his rear end.

      Cyclists want respect, earn it by doing the right thing.

      Commenter
      Hairy
      Date and time
      June 12, 2014, 9:23PM
    • I have a friend that tells the story about a guy wearing a hat who once looked at him funny, so ... um, actually, no, I don't have a point.

      Commenter
      kate
      Location
      everywhere
      Date and time
      June 13, 2014, 8:43AM
    • hairy - that guy was a rude tosser. Don't put us all in the same class. I have never leant on anyone's car.

      Commenter
      good'un
      Date and time
      June 13, 2014, 11:36AM
    • @Outraged
      I was pro-car until a driver shouted abuse at me for daring to ride through a roundabout in front of him, when he wasn't even close to it yet, causing him no inconvenience whatsoever.

      I now think all (other) drivers are idiots. :P

      Commenter
      Pantha
      Date and time
      June 13, 2014, 3:28PM
  • Cyclists are no angels either. They use raw filth and hurl abuse if someone even inadvertently crosses their path. They constantly disobey the road rules jumping red lights and annoyingly cross lanes much to the chagrin of licence paying road users. They are simply turning out to be a hated bunch of pests on the road.

    Commenter
    wsw
    Location
    ACT
    Date and time
    June 12, 2014, 2:13PM

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