Port Kembla man Ron Watt knows only too well how dangerous the region’s roads and bike paths can be for a cyclist.
The 65-year-old has been screamed at, spat on and even knocked onto the road by a bottle flung from a car window, all simply because he was riding a bike.
Mr Watt is appealing for a more harmonious relationship between motorists and cyclists and has urged car drivers to be patient when around cyclists on the road.
Although Mr Watt sticks to bike tracks whenever he can, he is often forced to ride on the road and says he is constantly on alert.
‘‘I’ve been screamed at, cars come up behind you and just when they think they can scare you most they’ll scream out the window at you, and I’ve been spat on,’’ he said.
But the most disturbing incident occurred while Mr Watt was riding on a bike track along Springhill Rd at the busy Masters Rd intersection.
Despite being on a dedicated bike path, a person in a passing car took umbrage and threw a half-full two-litre lemonade bottle at him, striking him in the head and causing him to fall on the road and into the line of traffic.
‘‘It was right out of the blue, it was such a shock,’’ he said.
‘‘Most drivers are very, very good with cyclists, but there seems to be an element who have a deep-seeded hatred of people on bikes.’’
Mr Watt said he understood the frustration some drivers felt when getting caught behind a slow bike rider.
‘‘But it doesn’t mean the cyclist [is] doing anything wrong,’’ he said.
‘‘Just please be patient and be careful because quite a few cyclists have been killed or injured in the past few years.’’
Mr Watt admitted road safety was a two-way street and he urged cyclists to also do their part by sticking to the road rules.
‘‘Act like a car would have to act. You can’t just do anything you like on the road just because you’re a bike,’’ he said.