Canberra's Chloe Hosking says she feels more threatened on the capitals' roads than anywhere else in the world. Photo: Colleen Petch
OLYMPIC cyclist Chloe Hosking says she fears for her safety on Canberra's roads more than anywhere else in the world, pleading with home-town motorists to show respect for riders before someone gets hurt.
In Canberra to prepare for next month's Australian road cycling championships and then the European professional season, Hosking said she was shocked and scared by the intolerance of Canberra motorists and Australians in general.
During a training ride around Canberra and Queanbeyan on Saturday, Hosking said an oncoming car crossed the middle of the road to intimidate her, and drivers yelled and beeped at her. She tweeted after Saturday's ride, ''have never felt more uncomfortable or unsafe on any road, anywhere in the world as I did 2day''.
Canberra has a strong cycling community, the area producing several prominent professionals such as Michael Rogers, Matt Hayman and Michael Matthews.
But Hosking said there was no respect for riders on the roads.
''I was riding with a bunch of girls, I actually felt like they were going to ram us from behind,'' Hosking said. ''I just did not feel comfortable at all.
''There is such a strong cycling community in Canberra because there is such fantastic riding compared to the other major cities in Australia. We're fortunate that it's so quick to get out of the city. But we're unfortunate in that people go out hooning on those roads and they don't have any respect for cyclists. I think it's only a matter of time before someone else is hurt.
''I don't think it's isolated to Canberra, I think it's all over Australia. But obviously when I come home from Europe I ride in Canberra and that's where I'm exposed to it. I think the motorists don't understand that if they do hit us or sideswipe us, we're the ones who are going to come off second best. Just because it's going to take 10 seconds out of their day, they need to chill out and think about people other than themselves because we're not that much of an inconvenience.
''I show the motorists a lot of respect as well and I definitely don't get it back in Canberra. Every time I come home I feel uncomfortable on the roads here.''
Hosking, 22, will ride at January's national road cycling championships in Ballarat before linking with her new professional team, Hitec Products.
''I'm not doing any of the Australian summer racing [other than the nationals] just because I think it puts too much stress on me to try and continue on for the whole season in Europe.''