Last night at the fitness club a kid told me "if you can't maintain the speed limit, you shouldn't be on the road." In the same conversation, he confessed to being enraged when a bike appears in front of him "next to a perfectly good sidewalk." His position is essentially that he has a right to drive at the speed limit, or faster, and anyone going slower is denying him his right. This was hardly a news flash. I know this is dominant attitude in our society, but this was the first time I've literally come face to face with it.
Odd thing is that this came from a pretty laid back, mellow kid. I like him. He doesn't at all fit the stereotype of the bug eyed, red faced, fat, stupid speed demon. I was in my cycling kit, literally standing next to my bike, but it never occurred to him he was being obnoxious. We were making small talk. Once I stopped gaping, I said something to the effect of "it's a free country" and pedalled away - frustrated at my lack of eloquence. I'd like to tell this kid I'm a legitimate road user. The thing is, I don't want to be preachy about it. Just telling him he has to "share the road", and that "I have the same rights and responsibilities on the road" he has, seems pretty shallow.
Has anyone stated the case for cycling to non-cyclists in a way that provokes thought instead of confrontation? Baldly stating the legal argument won't change anyone's culture. What kind of argument might gently lead an intelligent person to a different view of what a road is?