I had a conversation with my boyfriend the other day about all the idiocy I'm confronted with as I bike to work each day. The basics about me--I'm on my bike about 6 days a week, I ride responsibly and at a reasonable speed, I obey all traffic laws, I ring my bell to death, I'm lit up like a Christmas tree, and I wear a bright pink helmet. My boyfriend rips through the city on an old single speed, never wears a helmet and thinks stop signs are for suckers. I'm working on fixing this.
Anyway, my point is, I get a lot of flack from drivers--and nine times out of ten, it's those who see me that are the biggest problem. Drivers will speed up, swerve around me and cut me off to turn at green lights. They'll pass too close to me from behind and nearly clip me in the process. I get hollered at, and all in all treated like some poor schmuck taking up space. I'd say this happens about three or four times a week, at least. And I live and commute in Toronto, which has quite a few cyclists zipping about.
My boyfriend, however, rarely has any negative incidents with drivers at all. I don't get it. I follow the rules--he doesn't. He has the idea that I get taken advantage of because I'm a girl. I think it's because I'm not particularly aggressive when I ride. I did mull it over with a few girlfriends of mine who bike about, and they clearly have issues with drivers showing a lack of respect.
Is it just ridiculous sexism on our part, or is there some truth to it? Anyone have any similar experiences?