Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Paralysed cyclist calls for courtesy on roads

Tailgaters, verbal abuse and near misses are just some of the safety threats Rochester's Peter Hyden faces when he takes out his handcycle.

ELAINE COONEY May 1, 2014 2:00pm

Rochester handcyclist Peter Hyden is asking motorists to show courtesy on the road.

Mr Hyden cycles 50km a day to keep his body fit after losing the use of his legs in a road accident in 2011.

He said being so close to the ground meant he is face-high with the wheels of cars, trucks and buses.

Cars speed past at 100km an hour, travel close to him and sometimes splash in puddles.

Mr Hyden said 99 per cent of drivers did the right things by leaving plenty of space on the road and slowing down.

‘‘It’s the one or two that don’t will the ones to kill you,’’ he said.

He said truckies generally seemed to be the most courteous on the road but one near Lockington last month made his blood boil.

Mr Hyden was travelling along a narrow road when a truck came towards him and did not appear to see him.

‘‘I could have touched the wheel,’’ he said.

Mr Hyden said he worried about traffic coming behind him, especially when cars did not sound like they were slowing down.

‘‘I don’t know how I can be more visible,’’ he said.

He is highly safety conscious and always travels on quiet roads in a direction where drivers are not looking into the sun.

He wears a high visibility orange T-shirt; a 1.8m aluminium flagpole extends from his bicycle and he has lights on the front and back.

Mr Hyden said while some wellwishers tooted their horns as a sign of encouragement, some younger drivers tooted and shouted abuse from the car.

He said many drivers refused to leave the bitumen on the narrow roads and they were sometimes locals, both young and old.

Sometimes he would get splashed when drivers went through puddles.

‘‘They think it’s funny,’’ he said.

Mr Hyden tries not to let it get to him but is more concerned for his safety on the road.

‘‘I already don’t have use of my legs and if I break an arm or something I’m buggered,’’ he said.

He said tailgating cars were a big problem because they do not see him on the side of the road.

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