Journal of Speculations in Idiot Psychology, 1(2010):1
My town is generally pretty nice to ride around in. However, I've noticed that there're two locations where I fairly frequently get yelled at, and I think I've figured out what they have in common. I'm wondering if others have noticed this pattern, and whether there's any way of subtly shifting the interaction.
In both cases, it's a traffic light where the road comes into the intersection on one side as a two-lane and exits it on the other side as a four-lane. The light turns green, I roll toward the right lane at the far side of the intersection, some yahoo who was behind me then moves left into the passing lane and yells something unintelligible as he passes.
This doesn't happen at four-lane to four-lane intersections, nor two-lane to two-lane. It's something about the sudden appearance of a new passing lane that brings out the @$$hole in people. I think it's the opportunity for a quick getaway that does it.
At a four-lane to four-lane intersection, they actually have to stand still next to me in the left lane and look me in the eye, which they're apparently too chicken to do; if they're behind me in the right lane and want to pass they have to deal with the traffic that's already in the left lane and that keeps them busy. Similarly, at a two-lane to two-lane they have to move into the oncoming lane to pass and that keeps them occupied. But at a two-lane to four-lane they see an opportunity for a fast break and this apparently means they should get all antisocial. (I don't race bikes, so I don't know whether people on bikes do the same thing to other people on bikes in a fast-break situation. Do they?)
I'm kind of fascinated by the psychology of road interaction, and am wondering if anyone has figured out a good way to head off this behavior. No snark, please.