Last October in Greensboro, NC, a cyclist was killed in a particularly terrible manner by a driver who then left the scene. The driver was recently sentenced to 17 months in prison for felony hit and run. The local paper condemned the sentence as too lenient as did several talk radio shows. One talk show opened a blog to get responses to the incident. Most writers thought the sentence was too light.
However, several writers were venomous about cyclists in general – comments like – ‘They have no right being on the road, the roads were built for cars; let them build their own roads.’ Or – ‘Whenever I see a biker, I try to ride as close to him as possible to teach him a lesson’. (what lesson?) Or – ‘They don’t belong on the road.’ Some, using the anonymity of the internet actually threatened to run cyclists off the road or to hit them. Why this level of animosity?
In some cases the writers maybe unstable or mentally ill. Not much we can do about that, but keep our eyes on the mirror as well as the road ahead.
But how do we explain the rational drivers who hate cyclists? Do we at least partly bring it upon ourselves by our own actions? Are we arrogant or inconsiderate when we ride? What can we do to change attitudes?
I’ve read about a monthly group event in San Francisco, where cyclists intentionally tie up the city during the evening rush hour as an act of civil disobedience and to protest the attitude of drivers against cyclists. Unless I misunderstand this ride it seems like one of the stupidest things cyclists could do; anger a whole bunch of people driving two ton vehicles.
Does anyone have any info on this activity or any comments about the cyclist/driver standoff? It’s critically important to all of us who cycle.