THE growing tensions between motorists and cyclists come at the same time as governments, councils and environment groups are encouraging more people to take up cycling as an alternative to driving.
Most Lower Hunter councils have or are in the process of developing cycling strategies in their local government areas.
The NRMA supports the strategies as a way of providing travel options beyond the car.
Newcastle City Council is aiming to double the number of residents who ride to work in the decade from 2006 to 2016.
Video by Jonathan Carroll and Dean Osland
It has applied to the Independent, Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal for a special rate that would allow it to spend an extra $15.7 million building cycleways and paths.
It is hoped that state and federal governments would match the funding.
‘‘It’s not just about the infrastructure on the road, it’s about education, end of trip facilities and promoting our green travel plan that is part of our development control plan,’’ councillor Michael Osborne said.
John Hunter Hospital director of emergency and cyclist Dr Mark Lee said he believed infrastructure to support cycling was gradually improving.
‘‘In Newcastle there are more cycle lanes popping up, you can see the green lanes that are being put in and there are more and more cyclists on the road,’’ he said.
‘‘I think it’s changing, I think it’s getting better, certainly in the last five years I think it’s got better but there is still a long way to go.’’
Lake Macquarie Council is developing a $50 million 10-year cycling strategy.
The plan includes creating a cycleway around Lake Macquarie with on-road and off-road sections.