Friday, July 19, 2013

Why Do They Hate Us?


John Matney
Things car drivers have said to me while I was cycling.
1)           You people on bikes don’t belong on the street;
2)           Why aren’t you on the sidewalk?
3)           You’re in my way.
4)           If it wasn’t for you people on bikes there wouldn’t be so much traffic.
5)           Heres something for you (passenger in car threw a full soda can at me)
6)           Go back to your own country (note-I have blue eyes and blond hair-I guess you mean Ireland)
7)           “Go f**k yourself (in response for my asking him to close his car door which blocked the bike lane)
8)           You people should obey the traffic laws (this Einstein said this while he was blocking the crosswalk with his car)
9)           You need to pay taxes for the road you use.  (I’m not making this up)
10)      Stop blocking traffic (right-all 5 feet long, 18 inches wide of me)
Anybody who has ever ridden a bicycle has heard the
above nonsense.   Skateboarders hear this stuff too.  What is it about the U.S. that people who might be perfectly rational and nice people lose their minds when they see a cyclist? I have my theories:
Resentment-drivers have seen cyclists run stop signs or red lights and unlike the drivers, the cyclists didn’t get a ticket.

Hypocrisy-why yes, there are plenty of cyclists who run red lights or stop signs. Yes it's illegal. But, are drivers prevented from driving because they run stop signs and red lights? The answer is no. Ergo-it's just dumb to assume that all cyclists violate the vehicle codes and should be banned from the roads. 

Jealousy-drivers are jealous that cyclists can split lanes, ride on the sidewalks and on the side of the roads and bypass the traffic jam that the drivers are trapped in. Also, cyclists don’t need the government’s permission to ride their bikes. There is no Department of Two Wheeled Vehicles forcing them to take a test to prove they can ride a bike. No registration fees to be paid every year.

Envy-lets face it, most driving isn’t pleasurable.  Even the fun stuff like driving fast is dangerous and can result in a ticket and a big hike in insurance premiums. Cycling on the other hand is by its very nature, IS FUN! And in America, there is no end of people who would like to forbid people from having fun.

Freedom-there is a reason why motorcyclists and cyclists refer to cars as “cages.”  People driving cars are trapped in traffic, forced to obey traffic laws that often make no sense and when they get to their destination, they are trapped into finding a place to park where in most cases, they are forced to pay for that privilege. Cyclists on the other can park their vehicle almost anywhere-FOR FREE!   

So that pretty much explains why drivers hate cyclists. So when you encounter a driver that exhibits these traits, be patient, smile and maybe someday they will see the light or at least not throw heavy objects at our heads.