I have read so many threads about auto drivers that treat cyclists with so much discontent. I often wonder, what type of person does treat people like this? I have read in the past, it is SUV's that get ticked at the cyclists. I have read that it's rednecks. I have read it's the soccer Moms in minivans, or even the old fogies in their RV's.
What really made me figure out the type of people that treat us badly is not a specific stereotype, race, religion, make of automobile, or the sported bumper stickers of various political jargon. I have found however, one of the main contributions to the personailty of those who give us such a hard time, is a severe lack of maturity.
Case in point.
The other day on my way home from work, I was pedalling along one of the country roads outside of town. It is a quiet road with no shoulder, and nothing around but the odd house, and lots of trees (Washington). I find in my area, I recieve more curtousy from the small town local drivers, than just about anyone in the city. This I have come accept as the norm for the area in which I live.
Anyway, as I heard the distinctive bellowing sound of an old pickup truck approach, my immediate thought of course, was to pull to the side as much as possible and keep my line. I have found in our area, the old farmer type fellas in their pickups give me the most room, and drive the slowest of all behemoth pilots on four wheels. A trait I tend to have myself (a farm boy). They tend to have the idea that the world goes around, and the sky is blue, no matter how fast (or slow) they drive, as they have no reason to stress themselves into an early stroke. So, they tend to drive slow, and grant the rest of us plenty of room to roam.
This however, was not the case. As the vehicle passed, all I could hear at that point, was a young snot-nosed college punk yell out "F---ing ******!!!", as the driver gunned the gas, he tossed his cheap brand beer can at me, and the driver swerved close enough to darn near run me off the road.
As the vehicle went past, I couldn't help but break into complete and utter confusion as I said to myself "What the?"
It was not the late 70's Ford pickup with the sweet sound of an old chugging V-8 I thought had graced my presence. Instead, it was a GEO Metro, with the most abhorent smoldering exhaust system on the face of the planet. The sound was not a natural occurance in this universe. It was so bad, the trees and wildlife virtually collapsed in agony as the POS went down the road.
To seal up the package, the rusty dinged up Geo, had a "U of W" decal on the back window, and a bumper sticker that said....
"OIL IS OUR ENEMY"
Now let us rehash for a moment. Two 20-something college kids, screaming vulgar obsenities, throwing out cheap brand beer cans, killing every living thing is sight with the environmental catastrophe of a POS Geo Metro, which has a bumper sticker so proudly proclaiming, "OIL IS OUR ENEMY".
Ok, so they have a message. Not sure what it was. However, this leads me to finally realize, that the supposed drivers who hate cyclists, have one trait in common more than any.