December 8, 2014

#Australia ‘world’s worst place for cyclists’, says Danish rider who’s circled the globe

Thomas Anderson said he was routinely abused by drivers in Sydney.
A DANISH adventurer who has cycled around the world for four years says Australia is the worst place on earth for bike riders.

Thomas Andersen, from Copenhagen, singled out Sydney for particular criticism, saying he was shocked at the regular abuse from drivers.

“Australia has wonderful people, but some just don’t like cyclists,” he told

“Sydney was the only place in the world that people would wind down the window and shout ‘F***ing cyclist!’ It happened about three times, it was quite strange.

“In Denmark, everyone cycles to work and school. Hating cyclists would be like hating walkers.”

His epic trip has seen him travel more than 30,000 kilometres through 25 countries, from Europe to Asia to Australia to South America, where he is now heading up through Ecuador.

But he claims that cycling was most unpopular Down Under.

“It’s strange because the weather’s so good,” he added.

He first revealed his surprise at Aussie drivers’ attitudes during an “Ask Me Anything” post on Reddit.

One user asked where he had faced the least respect from motorists.

The Dane said motorists would wind down their windows and swear at him.
The 31-year-old replied: “In most countries people drive fast but are usually happy enough to give some space to a cyclist on the road. I think the worst attitude I met towards cyclists was the day I cycled into Sydney in Australia.”

Sydney cyclists were quick to confirm that this sort of behaviour was not uncommon. “As someone who rides in Sydney, I feel your pain,” said one user.

Another added: “I’m sorry this happened to you :-/ but unfortunately, I’m not surprised. Motorists ran a group of cyclists down a couple of years ago! The attitude towards cyclists in the city is terrible.”

And one said: “As an Australian who moved to France, I couldn’t believe how respectful the French are to cyclists, and how much space they gave them when overtaking!

“It’s great, but so different to home, where people will play games like honking as they drive past, or getting so close that they can slap them.”

So why is there so much animosity towards bike riders? Mr Andersen thinks it could be the lack of infrastructure to help facilitate cycling.

“I didn’t see many other cyclists, whereas coming from Denmark, it’s part of the culture, the transport system.

“You need more infrastructure in place to start, and more cycle lanes — you have them for a bit, and then a gap.

“The lack of cycle lanes forces you to cycle in the middle of the street.”

He was also bemused to be allowed to ride his bicycle on major roads, such as the M5 motorway in south-west Sydney.

“I don’t think that would be the case in many countries,” he said. “I’m not sure allowing bicycles on the highway is the best idea.”

But Mr Andersen said he would still return to Australia, which was the country where he cycled the greatest distance, 5000km. He would just like to see us get behind bikes.

“It’s a good way to get around, get a bit of exercise and get to and from work,” he said. “I also like using my bike when I go on holiday in Europe, to see new cities.

“It’s cheaper too, so you save a lot of money.”

So why do Australians hate cyclists so much? And is Sydney the worst city of them all?

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