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The comments, from Critical Mass Dunedin participants, came after a video was screened showing a group riding on Portobello Rd on the road, not the adjacent cycleway, spurring hundreds of comments on a local social media page, many castigating cyclists as a whole.
Critical Mass is an international movement started in San Francisco to "reclaim public space and increase the visibility of cyclists''.
Organiser Kitty Cresswell Riol said she was recently riding south on Cumberland St near the University of Otago when she was accosted by a "really threatening'' driver as she moved between the left- and right-hand sides of the separated cycleway.
The driver had apparently failed to understand cyclists had to cross the highway at this point to transfer between cycleway sections, she said.
"He was shouting at me, saying `we paid for the cycleways, why aren't you using the cycleways'?''
Ms Cresswell Riol said while many drivers were considerate, anti-cyclist sentiment could be vitriolic and threatening, especially on social media.
"We're slower than cars, but we're allowed to be on the road.''
The University of Otago PHD student said Dunedin's one-way cycleways were far from ideal, citing the small window afforded to cyclists by traffic-light phasing to cross intersections and their "disjointed'' nature.
"Good infrastructure should allow cyclists to get from A to B, and this isn't enabling cyclists to do that.''
Ms Cresswell Riol also suggested Dunedin should follow Auckland's lead, where the council's transport agency will soon begin consultation on lowering the speed limit from 50kmh to 30kmh in central city roads.
Another Critical Mass Dunedin participant, structural engineer Geoff Wigley, called for mutual respect on the roads.
"Have more patience ... even if you see a group of cyclists doing something wrong it doesn't mean they should be put in physical danger, or even subject to verbal abuse.''
NZ Transport Agency senior project manager Simon Underwood said the agency was completing "post-construction audits'' on the one-way system's separated cycle lanes to identify any issues.