Anti-cyclist Facebook group 'not a hate page'
Administrators of a Facebook page titled NZ Drivers against idiot cyclists deny their site is a "hate page" and say they are trying to control comments with death threats against cyclists.
The page has alarmed Dunedin cycling mum Lara Hearn-Rollo who thinks it should be shut down.
She said it was carrying posts that incited members to "mow" down cyclists, and did not just target irresponsible cyclists, as its title suggested, but was directed at the cycling community as a whole.
Administrators of the page said they were not anti-cyclist, had nothing to do with some comments and images posted on the page, and did not condone them.
This morning they issued a statement on the page, saying it was "not a hate page".
"We do not condone any ill will towards cyclists at all. And we don't want them all off the road. We are trying to keep on top of death threat comments as we see them which is hard to keep up at times as some of you get heated.
"We want safer riding on the road and cyclists to take more care in their surroundings."
The administrators said the page was started to highlight the percentage of idiot cyclists creating a hazard on New Zealand roads.
They were lobbying for a law change on cyclists being able to ride two abreast on roads, and for cyclists being allowed to take up a full lane during races.
"We are saying it is not safe and is putting them and other road users at unnecessary risk."
Hearn-Rollo said her children often went cycling through the city. For that reason some of the page's contents terrified her.
"It's directed at all cyclists, and at all ages as well. They don't care. They really just don't care.
"It's about attaching big bull bars to your vehicle so you can mow them all down."
Posts on the page included an image of riders in a road cycling group being thrown in all directions as a car ploughed through them, she said.
In another post a cyclist, knocked off their bike, was captured as they were falling under the wheels of a vehicle.
The image was reported but not removed.
Some users had posted comments offering suggestions on how to cause a cyclist injury, such as by throwing bottles of urine at them or sticking things through the spokes of their wheels, Hearn-Rollo said.
Comments on the page "just made me feel sick", she said.
"It really has just been absolutely horrific. It's crazy really. They just get on here and go mad. I think it's appalling, actually. I think it is absolutely disgusting [Facebook] have allowed this."
What also concerned her was the support the page was receiving. It had attracted 10,494 likes.
She said her 11 year-old daughter Mila, who was in training for road cycling events, had been abused by a motorist while out on a training ride in the city.
A woman driver, in a vehicle in a neighbouring lane had screamed at the girl, calling her "a bloody cyclist who shouldn't be on the road".
Mila, who had been riding in a designated cycle lane, had said the woman's yelling frightened her.
- The Southland Times