Truckies and cyclists start talking
Don Brown wants to see change on our roads.
The truck driver approached cycle club Matamata Peddlers after he saw a clip on Campbell Live last year about truck and cycle safety.
Don wants to see change in how truck drivers and cyclists interact on Matamata- Piako roads. An educational project could now be on the cards to better educate road users as a whole.
Don encourages road users to put aside feelings over who should ‘‘own’’ the road. ‘‘We’ve all got the same concept, we all have the same idea. We want to get some education, some common ground between both parties so we can all use the roads together safely.’’
Don said it comes down to truck drivers and cyclists each knowing what the other is up to on the roads. ‘‘As a truckie, no matter what you think of cyclists, they have a right to use the road . . . for goodness sake, lets find out how we can work together.’’
Don said it’s about a change in mentality. ‘‘As much as I’ll get a ribbing from people who don’t agree with that, the fact of the matter is the law’s the law.’’
Don admits the education project might not be able to fix certain attitudes, but Matamata Peddlers Cycle Club president Dale Ertel believes if there was a chance they could save a life then they would have done something right.
‘‘I’m damn sure we’re not going to fix anything sitting on the couch at home wishing someone else would do something. So now I’m going, ‘stuff this’, someone’s got to stand up and do it.’’
But Don can’t do it all himself, he needs help from the community. ‘‘If we can get enough people behind it and if it becomes viral and everyone gets the concept, thinking will change,’’ he says.
Don has spoken with trucking companies throughout the district who all believe the two road users working together is a good idea.
He realises there will be things each road user can do to improve experiences of using the road. It comes down to communication and training, Don believes.
He has already attended meetings with the cycle club, with both parties admitting they have already learnt a lot from each other.
Don feels there could be education from a trucking company perspective about training their drivers and getting drivers to change their attitude towards cyclists. Dale said cyclists had a lot to learn from truck drivers too.
‘‘What are our choices here? You can’t eliminate the cyclists, if you’re a cyclist you’re not going to eliminate the trucks, they’re only going to get worse, we’re going to get more cyclists. Let’s find a way to make it work. It has to happen,’’ Don said.
When Don approached Dale about the idea for the education project, Dale said the club immediately knew they needed to get involved. ‘‘We’re going to learn something out of this.’’
Dale was sure cyclists have always wondered what the truckie can see out on the roads. ‘‘ We need to be asking ‘ what can we do to make sure we understand each others needs?’.’’
Dale said the club actively promotes cycle safety, while he admits that not everybody does it, the majority do. He would ultimately love to see the truckies and cyclists from the district come together to create an understanding and consideration for each other that will prevent injury or tragedy.
EDUCATION: Truckie Don Brown and cyclist Dale Ertel are spearheading conversations between truck drivers and cyclists in MatamataPiako.