You have probably seen countless examples of drivers who just seem to have animosity toward cyclists. Maybe you’ve had drivers honk their horns at you, or you’ve had them tailgate you when there’s no room to pass. Maybe you simply heard about the recent story where a teen tried to blow exhaust fumes on a group of cyclists and ended up running over six of them.
Why does this happen? Anyone can simply choose not to ride a bike. Why would they actively dislike someone who chooses to ride?
Speed, rushing and inconvenience
Often, the root cause is just speed. Everyone is in a rush. When they get stuck behind a bike, waiting until they can pass, they’re frustrated and annoyed. It doesn’t matter that they’re only being delayed for a few seconds. It feels like everyone is always late and in a hurry, so they’re mad about anything that slows them down a bit more.
Another part of it, studies have found, is pressure. These drivers feel pressure from having traffic slow down behind them, so they’ll pass unsafely to get through faster. They would rather alleviate their own sense of pressure and eliminate a minor inconvenience for other drivers than drive in a way that really keeps cyclists safe.
Is there an end in sight?
It’s hard to know if the two groups will ever get along. People will always be rushing from one place to the next, and there will always be someone who can’t control their temper when inconvenience strikes. If one of these aggressive drivers hits you while you’re out for a ride, be sure you know how to seek compensation.