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Why cyclists enrage car drivers (mindhacks.com)
35 points by gnosis 1345 days ago | hide | past | web | 87 comments | favorite

This seems to be overthinking things. I'm both a driver and a cyclist, and I still find myself enraged at cyclists when I drive. There's a simple reason: cyclists slow you down.

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!"

I agree 100%. Well behaved, traffic law-abiding cyclists don't seem to get materially less grief from drivers than scofflaws. Moreover, the event that triggers a response (honking, yelling) from a motorist is almost always behavior that slows the motorist down rather than some perceived slight against the moral order.

There's a simple reason: cyclists slow you down.

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.

Well, as a cyclist, slowing down is much more taxing to you than it is for a motorist.

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.

Enraged? Really, maybe you could reexamine your life. Something about enjoying the journey?

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.

The most bicycle-aggressive drivers are usually middle-aged, in my experience. I've never, ever had a 20-something deliberately swerve to try and run me off the road.

Well, the problem for me is this: the cyclist is in my lane. I have to swerve dangerously into the other lane to avoid hitting them. I do not want to hit them.

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.

I think a lot of the car rage at bicyclists has to do with this unfounded sense of entitlement. I suggest you read up on bicycle laws.


(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.

Well, if it's a 50 mph zone and I'm a car going 15, that's illegal.

Don't see why that isn't true for bikes.

That's not actually true, unless you're on a controlled access highway. In which case there will usually be signs mentioning that non-motorized vehicles are not allowed on that road posted at all the entry points.

It's not illegal to do 15 specifically, but if you doing it just to be annoying, you're very likely to get cited for obstruction of traffic.

How about horses? Tractors? Get real. Bikes can't do much over 15, most cyclists anyway. That's why they can go slower: they have to.

My point isn't that I'm looking for an excuse. Obviously a bike can't do 50.

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.

Nobody has to be in such a hurry as to warrant legislating someone elses rights out of existance to save 30 seconds. 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.

I'm not advocating anything (I don't see a reasonable solution proposed to date), but I would like you to understand the problem.

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))

The difference is half an hour, just going 10 miles. So really think a bit: if you're stuck behind $slow_traveller for 10 miles (curvy roads, hilly roads, whatever. Google for Palouse in WA if you want an idea of my local road system), you've just lost 30 minutes of your time. Fiddle the math how you like; it adds up to a lot more than 30 seconds. 30 seconds of hassle is what I get in town: not much.

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.

I don't think posting a sign every five feet saying "bicycles are allowed to be in this lane too" would make anyone less mad about having a slow bike in front of them.

No one suggested this. I think people would be less mad about the situation if they thought about it from the bicyclist's perspective.

The problem for the cyclist is that s/he's often in an equal bind--ride in the bike lane next to a string of parked cars, and you never know which of those cars is going to open their door at the exact wrong time. I have friends who have ended up in the emergency room with broken collarbones after getting 'doored.' Avoid the bike lane and ride in traffic, and you never know which sociopath behind the wheel is going to clip you.

Dooring is a huge fear of mine as a cyclist, as is getting sideswiped by a right-turning vehicle while I'm crossing an intersection. Also, sometimes I need to turn left, and that means merging into the auto lanes.

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.

Montreal has nice bike lanes. They're usually physically separated from cars. No dooring, though you still have to watch for right turns.

Totally agreed:

- 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.

Completely agree with you on this one. Although I have to admit, after getting a racing-cycle I slightly changed my views. Its almost impossible to drive fluently more than a few meters either on the sidewalk or in a bike lane. Weird and changing pavement surface, bad pavement in general (the slim tires of a racing cycle make such a terrain much harder to navigate compared to using a normal bicycle), you have to switch sides frequently...

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.

Thankfully, city planners are increasingly disagreeing with your sentiment, and are encouraging bicyclists to use the full lane. This is proving in many cases to be safer than using the bike lane for both drivers and bicyclists. If you have ever been "doored" while riding a bicycle, or had one swerve in front of your car while escaping getting "doored", you might agree.

Either I slow down to 15 mph or I commit dangerous driving.

Tough call, considering the average speed on surface streets in most towns/cities is about 20mph or less.

Yeah, this drives me nuts. I can easily pace 20-23mph on a bicycle for quite some time in a 25mph speed zone. The problem is most of the vehicles on that road are traveling 40.

It's sillier than that. Note that I said the average speed is 20mph or less; that's not the speed limit, that's the real-world speed a car will see. So they pass you, just to have you catch up to them or pass them at the next light.

I don't think you really make the point you're trying to, given that half the time you're waiting at traffic lights, so the rest of the time you have to be doing considerably more than 20mph to achieve that as an average. Hence waiting behind a cyclist at 15mph is slowing you down quite a bit.

Well, the situation I am thinking of is a country road which the speed limit is either 35 or 50.

It's not really as much of an issue in town.

"If there is a bike lane and they aren't using it (instead being in my lane), I am pretty torqued."

Cars often stop/park in bike lanes.

Last time I was in a bike lane I ended up in an ambulance with several broken ribs, as a car decided to take a shortcut. Still looking forward to getting back in the saddle.

Bike lanes can be downright scary. Sometimes I feel alot safer riding in traffic where motorists don't have the option to ignore me.

Or, like my night last night, garbage cans. Pickup is in the morning, doesn't help me at 11pm.

Take it up with your legislature. In the states I've lived, bikes == cars with a few extra restrictions, so they're just following the law.

Out of curiosity, what state are you in where motorized vehicles get exclusive access to the lane?

Another angle is that the cyclist knows that he is slowing down a caravan of cars behind them and yet he's still OK with that. It's the egoism that is irksome.

(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.

If its a block's worth of traffic, it's because the rush hour drivers are driving vehicles that are unnecessarily large for getting individuals to and from work. If such drivers were in appropriately-sized vehicles, like bicycles, there would be problem. Believe me - when you're driving an auto during rush hour, you are inconveniencing others, but because you're doing so in a conventional manner, you are likely unaware.

Or rather, that assumption is irksome, rather than its truth.

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.

As an actual real world bicyclist the ONLY reason I'm in your lane is if a car is ILLEGALLY stopped in the bike lane.

That very much depends on the city. I'm all Yay for bike lanes, but if we are sharing the road, then let's do in fact share it.

Right! I'm all for sharing the road. In fact when people are illegally stopped in the bike lane I'm not enraged or infuriated at them, even if I have to slow down or come to a complete stop behind them to wait for traffic to pass so it's safe to go around. But unlike you apparently I also don't assume their behavior is motivated by egoism!

As a pedestrian, I distrust and often dislike drivers. As a driver, I feel the same way about pedestrians. However, I will not jump somebody's light when afoot, for I know how frustrating local driving is. And I will not endanger pedestrians.

I'm also both a driver and a cyclist, and I couldn't agree more.

When you get behind the wheel, everyone and everything becomes a potential source of rage because everyone and everything becomes just another obstacle.

When I'm driving, I'm more than fine with cyclists who stop at stop signs, use hand signals to show their intentions, don't swerve around wildly in and out of my lane, etc. The conscientious ones will, if they have to go into your lane (for instance if the bike lane is blocked), signal and merge, speed up as fast as they can so as not to slow down traffic more than needed, then get out of the lane as soon as they're done passing. I think this is more than fair if you're sharing the road with cars.

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.

When I'm cycling, I'm more than fine with drivers who stop at stop signs, use turn signals to show their intentions, don't slowly drift into the bike lane, etc. The conscientious ones will, if they have to go into your lane (for instance to unload passengers at the curb), signal and merge, slow down carefully, then get out of the lane as soon as they're done unloading passengers. I think this is more than fair if you're sharing the road with bicycles.

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.

Cyclists insist on their rights but do not accept their responsibilities. Once I was walking in a crosswalk with the light when the guy zooms through the crosswalk a foot in front of my face face. I swear at him and he stops says "What did you say?" "I said pedestrians have right of over bikes way in a crosswalk" He says "I knew that" I said "Then act like you f*ing know that!"

Would you be angry at a cyclist who rode in front of your car, taking the full lane, at a speed significantly below the speed limit, on a busy two lane road?

No, I wouldn't. I'd wait for a chance to pass then pass. The situation has happened to me many times, and you know what? I just don't care. I never have to be somewhere so ridiculously fucking fast that anyone who dares slowing me down needs to be screamed at. I think most people forget: your life is not so important that you need to rush everywhere. If someone's about to have a baby or something, a friendly honk to get someone slow out of the way can be useful. The problem is that too many people think what they are doing is soooo important that they need to honk and scream at anything that gets in their way.

Too many people are in a rush to get somewhere they don't want to be. What's the point?

I have been yelled at by a motorist in that situation before.

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.

As a cyclist who prides himself on being calm and restrained, I'm always upset whenever I read (literally) any article about cyclists and drivers on the internet. In Philadelphia there has been a lot of tension between the groups and several local news websites have a serious anti-bike bias both in their articles and in their comments.

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.

Over on the other side of the state, we actually had a situation where a motorist stabbed a cyclist repeatedly and slit their throat: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city...

Weak article. I expected a statement about cyclists being dangerous to themselves and others, but instead it's about how cyclists can do things cars can't and car drivers are upset about it. Boo hoo.

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.

Actually it's because so many cyclists break the rules that do apply to them: running red lights, cycling on the pavement (sidewalk), and so on. And this is why pedestrians often feel the same animosity towards cyclists that drivers do.

I disagree. It's much more complicated than that. Virtually every single car on the road breaks a giant number of laws every day. I walk/metro/bus to work, and I see an average of 20-50 law-breaking drivers every day.

Drivers aren't hating cyclists because one group breaks the rules, as if the other doesn't.

As a cyclist, I get pissed at every driver parking in the bike lane, speeding down the street, blowing through red lights, taking multiple lanes, etc. Bad drivers isn't exclusive to cyclists. I think you just notice the bad cyclists because there are more of a rarity than all the bad drivers on the road, who occur with regular frequency in comparison.

You do understand that most drivers also break those same rules. With any means of transportation people will take the shortcut to go faster. It's also significantly more difficult for a cyclist to come to a full stop than a driver.

This is absolutely the biggest issue for me. Another commentor pointed out this can't be the issue because drivers do the same thing.

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.

The sidewalk thing varies by municipality (at least in my state), but I get your point.

Yep, came here to say this. I live in DC, every day without fail people just whizz right through intersections as they please. That is exactly why some cyclists anger me, they demand equal use of the road while ignoring the rules. It's incredibly hard to enforce those rules without bike police of some sort though.

> cycling on the pavement (sidewalk)

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.

As an experienced cyclist, cars don't follow the rules of the road either. The last time I got hit by a car on my bicycle, it was because they didn't use a turn signal and made a quick right-hand turn without looking.

Australian Cyclist here.

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.

People allowed to themselves to be annoyed, and I often find that rage towards cyclist is based on impatience. People get enraged in the same way behind a slow driver. It's hard to both pass a cyclist safely and be 100% sure you will be safe as well. Its the same anxiety people get when passing on a broken yellow line, only with the cyclist you're usually forced into that zone of discomfort rather than choosing it.

Oh this is bullshit. Anybody who gets mad because they have to move their foot two inches off the pedal while sitting on a padded chair inside of 4000 pounds of metal is just an asshole.

If I just had to move my foot it wouldn't be a problem. But now I'm responsible for maneuvering a ton or more of metal down a road without killing anyone, and I'd appreciate it if you didn't make that more difficult than it already is.

Well, there you go.

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.

animosity toward drivers getting mad, maybe? @chrismealy never said all drivers were assholes. troll.

The author is generalizing about people in general without any basis to do so. As usual, the plural of anecdote isn't data.

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."

I'd say that no small part of the rage comes from fear. If I'm driving next to a cyclist that breaks the rules, I have to immediately become hypervigilant and pay a disproprortionate amount of attention to this cyclist and their behavior. It's my responsibility to pay that attention, though, because if I don't, I'm risking seriously injuring or even killing that person.

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 article mentions "free riders". As a motorist who's auto and gasoline taxes pay for the roads, has an annual auto inspection, it's mildly annoying to be trapped behind a slower cyclist who's not subject to those requirements. It becomes enraging when they break traffic laws and stage mass rides just to fuck with drivers.

Cyclists usually make use of less congested, slower moving roads, which are funded by local taxes, not federal and state taxes. As far as I know, most local transportation taxes are contributed as regular taxes, not as use taxes, so bicyclists pay their share. Also, not all state and federal transportation funding is paid by motorists, either. Bicycles put negligible wear and tear on the road, and a bicycle malfunction is unlikely to harm anyone but the cyclist, or to poison the air.

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.

As a cyclist, pedestrian, and occasional driver, it's mildly annoying how ignorant the typical driver such as yourself is about such things. Most of the roads on which you encounter cyclists are funded by taxes other than gasoline taxes. In cities, it's typically property taxes. Motorists are the biggest free riders on the roads in nearly all cases.

If you think that that auto registration and gas tax covers all of the costs of road ways, you're sadly mistaken.

I forgot that I had a toll tag too! :)

That cyclist means one more free parking spot for you, and one less source of pollution though.

Not in my area. In the large urban-surban-exurban spawl areas in the US, cycling is not a practical method of commuting for the majority of workers.

Correction: Telecommuting means, one more spot, less pollution and one less annoying cyclist/motorist on the road. :)

Nothing incites vitriol from opposing camps than a good 'Cyclists vs Cars' debate.

"The only winning move is not to play."

I don't understand why bicycles are allowed to drive on roads alongside cars. It is such an obvious hazard for the bikers. Fender benders happen all the time, but what happens when one person is behind the wheel of a mamoth SUV and the other is on a bicycle? It's horrific to think about. Joggers aren't allowed to run on roads, why are bikers?

First of all, because it's the law.

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.

Once I saw a cyclist with the NYC city cycling laws silk screened onto her backpack, I was surprised to find out some of the rights I had, but am not going to start riding like a full sized vehicle just to exercise them.

It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem for me. I'd love to bike, but I don't because there isn't enough adoption of biking, and therefore widespread respect of bikers(as difficult as they can make that sometimes). Even in DC where I live it's like this, which says a lot considering DC is one of the more bike-friendly cities in the country.

I'd argue that the author got the description right while getting the reason wrong.

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.

BTW, Ernst Fehr is a terrific researcher, so please nobody hold this dumb article against him.

when I'm a pedestrian, I get angry at cyclists because the zip past me on the sidewalk going 10-20 miles an hour. what happens when you run into someone at that speed? why don't you think about other people?

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?

I doubt that you're the one in danger when you're driving.

Interesting Twitter example. Let's put it in reverse: if 90% of the population was riding bicycles there'd be a lot of angry tweets about cars.

If 90% of the population was riding bicycles, several of my friends would still be alive.

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.

It's a silly/dumb way to try to calculate it at all; the people making those tweets had the ability to do so [potentially recklessly] while still behind the wheel and as soon as it happened as opposed to the cyclist that had to get to his destination first (and possibly rode the rage off).

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