Cyclists have hit back against an accusation they wrongly used the road when they could instead have travelled on shared paths, arguing drivers were not entirely innocent when it came to staying in their own lane.

In response to a negative post to social media site Reddit that took aim at three cyclists riding on Beach Road in Melbourne, cyclists offered a series of reasons they were in the right after the post questioned: “Why do this when there’s a dedicated path for bicycles?”

The author was referencing a shared path that ran parallel to the road and more than 1500 people responded.

A large volume of respondents commented to argue it was too dangerous for cyclists to navigate around walkers, joggers, prams and rollerbladers on the shared path, and that the road was the safer option.

“Have you ever been along that shared pathway? It’s a horror show! I am not even a cyclist but I used to roller blade up and down there and people just step out, push their prams into you, stop dead in front of you to text or take a call, let their dogs run all over the place, and let the kids go everywhere,” one person revealed.

“Road bikes are too fast for that path which is not dedicated to cyclists, it’s a shared path full of pedestrians doing things like pushing prams or walking dogs. They aren’t doing anything illegal. Staying to the left lane. Riding two abreast is better for visibility,” another argued.

Others agreed the negative discourse surrounding cyclists using the road was overdone.

“There is something somewhat mean-spirited about the frequent slagging off about cyclists using the roads in a reasonable manner. It doesn’t take much inspection of these paths to realise they clearly aren’t dedicated to cyclists,” one said.

Only a few among the people to respond felt cyclists had no place on the road at all, and should either use the shared paths or simply stay home.

“I think it’s an amazing reflection of humanity that cyclists want drivers to slow down for them and give them priority on the road but don’t want to extend the same courtesy to pedestrians on a shared path,” someone said in a comment.

The overall consensus however was that the shared path was “more for casual recreational bike riders” and was “too slow for serious road bikes”.

In a separate Reddit post that was inspired by the original, a cyclist proposed the question: “Why do this when there are dedicated lanes for cars?” and uploaded multiple photos showing cars in cycle lanes.

Hundreds responded with the same sentiment, with many revealing they had narrowly avoided serious injuries caused by cars darting into the bike lane.

“The amount of times I’ve nearly been hit by a car in the bike lane is insane,” one responded.

“If there’s a piece of tarmac wide enough for a car to occupy to get ahead of other cars, you can bet they’re going to use it,” another said.

Bike riding on the road is allowed unless there is a sign specifying that it’s prohibited, and cyclists must ride in a bike lane if there is one unless it’s not practical to do so.

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By Rahul

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