Drivers loathe anything that slows them down. Cyclists, pedestrians, horse carriages, even other cars. It's nothing to do with the moral order, it's "Get the hell out of my way!"
As a driver/cyclist as well, I think you're absolutely right and not just from the perspective of a car driver - one of the most rage-inducing things I can experience while on my bike is when a car in front of me causes me to slow down in otherwise open driving conditions.
It seems the reasons for both group is different: motorists because obstacles just add up to their already rather unpredictable commute time. Cyclists, because the energy spent doesn't come from a gas tank.
But deep down, when it comes to "rage" it comes down from the same irrational, primitive brain. It's not right for either group.
I smile when I see cyclists, think about what a nice day for a ride. I slow down, look for an opportunity, and pass them. But hey I'm not a 20-something self-absorbed ego machine.
Either I slow down to 15 mph or I commit dangerous driving. Neither option is really good. If there is a bike lane and they are using it, yay. I am happy. If there is a bike lane and they aren't using it (instead being in my lane), I am pretty torqued.
(tl;dr: It ain't your lane)
There are a ton of reasons for not being in bike lanes including snow, pot holes, glass, other debris, and the very real potential of getting doored.
Don't see why that isn't true for bikes.
But it really disrupts traffic when someone is trotting along at 15. Be that a horse, dogcart, or tractor. In a car-centric infrastructure, it's a disruption. Obviously the USA infrastructure, particularly in rural areas, is car-centric and thus non-cars will be disruptive. That's my point.
It all looks car-centric when you're driving a car. In rural areas, if you've even been in one for even a short amount of time, you learn that the roads are almost exclusively there for the commercial traffic. Iowa has a grid on a 1-mile spacing of gravel roads - not so you can race to grandma's house in your car, but so all arable land can be serviced by tractor and truck.
Let's say you're traveling 10 miles in either bike (15 mph, very fast cyclist) or car (55 mph). It will take roughly this many minutes to travel:
(* 60 (/ 10 15.0))
(* 60 (/ 10 55.0))
Note that I live in a rural area and bike around as much as I can. So I swing both ways here, and I still say that bikes disrupt road infrastructure which isn't designed to handle them.
Personally, I prefer most auto lanes to the bike lanes. I'm easily seen, I can see others and I can make maneuvers without being wedged between parked cars and moving traffic.
That said, I plan routes that avoid as much traffic as possible. I hate getting stuck behind a cyclist when I'm driving, too.
- car lane? now you disrupt cars.
- bike lane? hope no one does something crazy.
- sidewalk? swerving all over to avoid people/poles & likely illegal.
Not a great set of choices.
I really tried to ignore all that as the cyclists not using the existing bicycle lanes are really annoying when in a car. But in the end I gave in. I know I am annoying, but it's sometimes the only option you have.
Tough call, considering the average speed on surface streets in most towns/cities is about 20mph or less.
It's not really as much of an issue in town.
Cars often stop/park in bike lanes.
Bike lanes can be downright scary. Sometimes I feel alot safer riding in traffic where motorists don't have the option to ignore me.
(edit) Why the hell am I downvoted?
If you are cycling at 10 mph in a rush hour and holding back a block worth of traffic, do you seriously not have a slightest concern that you might be valuing your own interests a bit too much? And then you wonder why-oh-why the cars drivers don't love you with all their hearts. Jeez. Do not do unto others what you don't want to have done to you.
My primary goal when biking is to stay safe. Everything else is secondary.
I want you to get where you're going quickly but I will not feel guilty about making you slow down if it's going to keep me alive.
When you get behind the wheel, everyone and everything becomes a potential source of rage because everyone and everything becomes just another obstacle.
However, a lot of cyclist do do infuriating, selfish things. From what I've generalized over time, they are either the inexperienced ones who don't really think about what's going on around them, are too fearful of the others on the road to make logical/informed decisions, or they are dipsticks on fixies who break all the rules because it's just too hard to stop or because they are just so hip the rules don't apply.
I don't think there's some deeper meaning behind it all, I think that some cyclists are courteous and skillful when sharing the road, but many of them don't really know what they're doing or think that the world owes them something because what kind of asshole drives a car anyway?!?! It's the latter ones that ruin it for everyone.
However, a lot of drivers do do infuriating, selfish things. From what I've generalized over time, they are either the inexperienced ones who don't really think about what's going on around them, are too impatient to make logical/informed decisions, or they are dipsticks on cell phones who break all the rules because it's just too inconvenient or because they are just so hip the rules don't apply.
I don't think there's some deeper meaning behind it all, I think that some drivers are courteous and skillful when sharing the road, but many of them don't really know what they're doing or think that the world owes them something because what kind of asshole rides a bicycle anyway?!?! It's the latter ones that ruin it for everyone.
Too many people are in a rush to get somewhere they don't want to be. What's the point?
Of course, they only had time to roll down their window because they flew past, honking, and then hit the red light at the end of the block, so we both had to stop and wait.
Wishes to ram bicyclists off the road are commonly expressed, and every sweeping generalization is backed up by some anecdotal evidence. MOST of my friends have been hit-and-run by cars at this point (injuries up to a broken arm) and we're not bike punks or teenagers or activists just adults trying to get to work.
Look at the comments in this article too:
"a lot of cyclist do do infuriating, selfish things",
"I still find myself enraged at cyclists when I drive",
"Get the hell out of my way!",
"It becomes enraging when they break traffic laws"
It seems most people behind the wheel of a car, or even bike, become ENRAGED the second they have to tap the breaks a little. People need to relax and see the injurable PEOPLE operating the vehicles around them. Sadly I don't think this article gets to the deeper issue.
The reason bikes often take the lane (or at least should) is safety. Rear endings are very uncommon amongst bicycle accidents. Much more common are cars turning across a bicyclist's right-of-way, either a left turn from the opposite direction or a right hook. Taking the lane increases visibility and makes these accidents less likely. We're weighing inconvenience (or maybe, as the article points out, moral insult) against safety and it should be obvious which is more important.
Drivers aren't hating cyclists because one group breaks the rules, as if the other doesn't.
The actually problem isn't that cyclists break laws. It's that they break them doing incredibly stupid and dangerous things that I don't/can't expect. I know most of the stupid things other drivers are going to do. Cars are easily visible and I can usually see stupid maneuvers coming. I've had several close calls with cyclists. A common scary scenario is when they are driving against traffic on the sidewalk when there are serious visual obstructions. That's what makes me the angriest.
At speed. Don't forget how fast they buzz along now that they don't have cars to worry about, and how quietly they move.
I greatly prefer skateboarders. Even if they move at a good clip, they're clattering along and giving everyone plenty of advance warning. Bikes just barely make any sound at all until they're nearly on top of you.
Firstly, if I could ride to/from work without riding on roads, I would. I don't feel safe riding on the road. I don't like riding on the road, but I do it because where I live there is no other option. I have travelled to Canberra and I'm incredibly jealous of their cycling infrastructure.
Secondly, roads are paid for by fuel tax, so yes, I'm getting a free ride because my bike doesn't consume fossil fuels, only weetbix. I do own a car however, and do spend over $100aud per week on fuel (kids taxi service). So I do contribute to the infrastructure costs.
I guess I mostly agree with what the article suggests, hell, when I'm riding and another bloke on a bike rides through a red light, I think "you shouldn't be on the roads if you're unwilling to follow the road rules", it even makes me irritated. There are a vast number of cyclists who don't know the actual road rules when it comes to cycling. I thought I did until I sat down with the rule handbook and read the cycling section from start to finish, and realised I commonly broke a number of rules.
Riders who insist on cycling in the middle of the lane - irritating. I realise a cyclist needs to keep enough space for themselves, and riding right next to parked cars is scary as hell due to the fear of someone opening a car door on you (it's not pretty), but if I'm ever holding up traffic, I just pull over and wait for the cars to clear. The worst thing you could experience is having someone in a car sitting on your shoulder, so close you can feel the heat from the engine.
I've been attacked while on my bike a number of times. The most common reason that I seem to get attacked for is filtering. That is, moving up between lanes at a red light, to the front of the queue, so to the folks in cars I guess I'm a queue jumper. I've had people drive past me in their car and have a passenger open their door into me (yes while we were both moving) - the police planned to charge that guy with attempted murder, but he was driving a car with stolen license plate. However, the more I get attacked, the more I want to break the rules, how ironic!
The worst are pedestrians though, they just walk out in front of you.
The bloated sense of self-entitlement and inbred animosity towards car drivers, who are all assholes - if that's not a start of a beautiful friendship, what else is.
I find driving is the most revealing activity. It is a window into the driver's personality like no other. This article says much about the author. And that's all it says.
" . . . my theory is that motorists hate cyclists because they offend the moral order. Driving is a very moral activity – there are rules of the road, both legal and informal, and there are good and bad drivers."
Humans on wheels are extremely vulnerable. Frankly, a lot of cyclist behavior I see when I'm driving involves a pretty low level of vigilance - it certainly doesn't scale with the amount of danger they're facing. I don't mean to sound overdramatic here, but if I break a driving rule like forgetting to signal, and I get rear-ended, that sucks balls for me, but there was virtually no chance of me being killed (or killing somebody), assuming a city environment. Regardless of legal implications, nobody wants that on their hands, and it's easy to see how worrying about it would get anybody heated.
The bigger issue with your comment is just how entitled the attitude behind it is. Car driving is an incredibly privileged activity on many levels in the US. Cars are subsidized on every level from manufacturing to international policy to transportation planning policy on every scale. Car right-of-ways take priority almost always, almost everywhere (with good reason much of the time, but explain that to a kid trying to get around town without a car and having to cross a 10-lane freeway on an 8-lane road with 45 mph traffic to get from home to school, a common occurrence where I live).
So the next time you become enraged by a cyclist messing with your right to go fast, why don't you go ask your city council to fund more bike overpasses and dedicated bike lanes in your community? They're an incredibly cheap, great investment that doubles as recreational park land. And if your city has no room for bike lanes, think again about the car-centric planning policy that got you where you are.
Correction: Telecommuting means, one more spot, less pollution and one less annoying cyclist/motorist on the road. :)
"The only winning move is not to play."
It's the law because, as dangerous as roads usually are, it's better for everyone if cyclists are on the road.
If cyclists are on the sidewalk, it's similar to the way that cars are to bikes: much faster, larger, and more dangerous. And pedestrians don't have anywhere else to go, so putting bikes there doesn't make a ton of sense.
If cyclists are on the road, there's already an entire set of rules for how vehicles are supposed to operate and interact. And cyclists aren't allowed on roads where it's _truly_ dangerous for them, like expressways.
First up a confession. I'm a cycling tragic who'd like nothing more to see the vast majority of urban transportation space allocated to walking, cycling and PT.
But cyclists do upset the 'moral order of the road'. The speed differential between car & bike is significant which causes cyclists to disrupt traffic flow. Many cyclists don't conform to road rules (I treat stop signs as give way/yields all the time). Cyclists can easily navigate through gridlock that leaves motorists fuming in rage, and they do so with a smile on their face because lets face it, its very hard to arrive anywhere bummed if you got there via a relaxing ride.
The moral order of the road, like most things in life, is reciprocity. If I'm stuck in traffic, then everyone should be. If I have to follow these rules, then everyone should. When people don't do these things, we get angry because it just isn't fair.
But what the author misses completely is why the order exists in the first place and why cyclists (often) think they can be excused from this order.
The moral order on the footpath/sidewalk/mall is completely different to the road. Watching people walk through a crowd is like looking at ants. Chaos. But ordered chaos. There are no formal rules (until one steps on the road that is) but people manage just fine thanks to common sense, social convention and lack of speed differential. Before the car, this is exactly what our roads used to be like.
Cyclists (mostly) realise that road rules were created with little regard for them. Hence they don't feel the same degree of reciprocity that motorists do (who typically don't realise road rules have little regard for the needs of cyclists). Hence animosity between two groups who have very different conceptions of fairness. If cyclists had dedicated space however, or if road rules gave equal concern to all users, then I think the animosity would be much less.
Just look at the animosity (or lack of) between motorists and PT users. Motorists can see a trade off (crowded buses, no door-to-door service) for any dedicated road space/transit lanes they may receive, hence exceptions to the 'moral order' of the road are deemed fair. Cyclist typically don't experience that trade off because cycling as a form of transport is, well, simply the efficient and awesome to get around urban environments.
The animosity then, stems from a faulty sense of reciprocity or fairness. Cyclists think they have exemptions to some motoring rules but don't seem to pay any extra costs. What motorists typically fail to realise however, is that those costs are a function of their transport choice - they get stuck in traffic simply because they are the traffic.
when I'm a motorist, I get angry at cyclists when they put me in danger. driving at night on country roads can be tricky, and sitting behind a cyclist who is going 8-10mph on a 45mph road puts me in danger to other cars who could rear-end me. why do I have to put myself in this danger for your hobby?
Also, poor kids would do better in school due to lower asthma rates.
Also, our municipalities would be far more solvent.
The real puzzle is why there aren't currently more angry tweets about cars.