Frightened cyclists reported drivers ‘hurling abuse and objects’ at them, tooting horns and ‘hanging out of windows swearing at marshals and competitors.’
Frustrated motorists complained of traffic chaos, being ‘boxed’ into suburbs by road closures, cyclists ‘going in every direction,’ and delayed journeys.
More than 7000 cyclists covered various distances including the northern leg, which necessitated closure of parts of Burns Beach Road and some lanes of Connolly and Lukin drives and Marmion Avenue.
Northern Beaches Cycling Club president Chris Howard, who spent the event handing out water on Lukin Drive, appealed for calm after chaos.
‘While many of us would accept a minor inconvenience in the name of charity, the traffic jams in suburbs bordering Burns Beach Road, Marmion Avenue, Lukin Drive and Connolly Drive were simply unacceptable,’ he said.
‘As spectators and participants, we put our faith in organisers that there would not be undue disruption.
‘I am a resilient cyclist who refuses to be intimidated by hostile road users but I find myself avoiding riding this week to allow heads to cool.’
One cyclist said on Facebook that she ‘had never been as scared’ while another said she saw a driver get out of a car to abuse a traffic controller and a utility nearly run over a marshal before ‘hooning off’ in a burnout.
Motorists also expressed frustration.
Alkimos resident Tracy Morgan was late to an SES induction in Joondalup after delays on Marmion Avenue and Connolly Drive.
‘I left home at 7.40am and signed in at 8.55am,’ she said.
‘I got stuck at every single roundabout on Connolly Drive with Kinross Drive probably the worst.
‘I’ve got nothing against bicycles but what’s the point of having a bike ride in the middle of built-up suburbs?
A Clarkson woman said she sat at the Connolly Drive-Riverlinks Drive junction for 30 minutes before taking a detour to Wanneroo Road to get to Joondalup.
‘Driving on Connolly Drive southbound, cyclists who were supposed to be in the northbound lane were coming up behind us in the cycle lane,’ she said.
In a statement, organisers said Main Roads, the Department of Transport and WA Police approved a comprehensive road closure/public awareness campaign.
During a six-week lead-up, road closures were advertised in the media, on outdoor signage and resident notices.
‘Organisers recognise the importance of road closure communication and will continue to invest in the extensive public awareness campaign,’ the statement said.
Asthma Foundation chief executive David Johnson acknowledged the event caused significant disruption and thanked motorists for their tolerance.
– This year’s Bike Hike for Asthma has already raised more than $148,000. Donate to fundraise4asthma.org.au by April 16.