I had an odd run-in with a motorist today: the light turned green, and I pulled over a bit to let the SUV behind me pass; it was a fairly narrow road, and I figured, might as well be courteous, the lady's going to try to pass me soon anyway. However, she refused to pass, got irate and honked at me repeatedly, especially when I finally just stopped and tried to wave her past. We eventually got into a bit of a shouting match, and when I pointed out that I was only trying to let her pass, she became even more furious, and said something to the effect that "you people" had better make up your mind about whether or not you're going to insist on the right of way or not. I tried to tell her that I didn't expect special treatment, only equal rights compared to motorists, but at that point she was too angry to listen.
My interpretation of this exchange is that this person has been harboring angry feelings towards bicyclists for a while now, and I merely gave her an opportunity to vent. In fact, a few of my motoring friends have recently also expressed resentment towards bicyclists, claiming that bike riders have, due to their increased numbers, become "full of themselves."
My questions are these:
1. Has anything like this happened to anyone else (i.e., you try to yield your right of way as a courtesy, and the motorist just gets irritated)?
2. What, if anything, do bicyclists do to engender what I see as a pervasive attitude of hostility among a lot of motorists, even in relatively tolerant places like Seattle? Is it a case of a minority of scofflaws ruining it for everyone else, or is there really a widespread delusional culture of entitlement among cyclists that I've somehow refused to recognize? (Or is it a culture of entitlement among motorists?)
I'm not saying it's a crisis or anything; on the vast majority of days, I have no altercations with motorists at all. I do seem to get dirty looks almost daily though (especially in Ballard), even though I always follow traffic laws and try to be as predictable as possible. I'm basically just wondering why there's still some hostility out there, despite the best of intentions.