Those who ride bicycles (or even motorcycles for that matter) are constantly reminded of their second-class status when sharing the roads with cars and trucks. Even when a bicyclist uses their assigned bike lanes, drivers seem to cut bicyclists off to take a turn or double park. This is to say nothing of such bullying behavior as tailgating or physically intimidate bicyclists out of their lanes.
Now there is research that suggests that drivers consider bicyclists as less than human – drivers of motorized vehicles confirm this with self-reported aggressive behavior. The premise is that drivers are prone to be more aggressive towards bikers because they are seen as less than human. The findings were disturbing, and included high profile examples were critics labeled bikers as “cockroaches on wheels” or as someone “who should be shot.”
According to the study:
- Drivers of motor vehicles see bicyclists as 45% human
- Drivers of motor vehicles who identified themselves as bike riders saw other bicyclists as 70% human
Other troubling trends
While numbers of bike riders are on the rise, the League of American Bicyclists points out that fatalities are also up. There are other troubling trends as well:
- There have been 783 bicycle fatalities involving motor vehicles in 2017, which is a 25% increase since 2010.
- There were 45,000 bike injuries from crashes.
- Fatalities in some states are higher for bike riders with California traditionally near the top.
- The most common reason for a fatality involving motorists was hitting a bicyclist from behind.
- Those who see bicyclists more often tend to be more aggressive towards them.
Change is here
Despite these disturbing trends, commuting by bike or riding for pleasure continue to rise, particularly in urban communities. In a move that seemingly exacerbates motorists, municipalities are making it more convenient to ride and less convenient to drive a car, SUV or truck. This is done by adding bike lanes, which hinder traffic flow and reduce parking, and providing other bike-friendly amenities.
Unfortunately, not everyone is on board. Victims on bikes may need to fight back to assert their rights to damages caused by negligent motorists. Those with questions can contact personal injury attorneys with experience representing bike victims and their families to get answers while also discussing potential damages.