Long rant ahead. consider yourselves warned.
I was going to post this over in Advocacy and safety, but I don't think the 20-somethings really have a point of reference.
Here is a Link to a thread in A & S regarding a female cyclist being assaulted by an motorist.
In the 70's, I rode to school in Boston almost every day. I rode all over the place, in fact. I never got honked at, yelled at, or assaulted. Not once did I have bottles, fast food remains, or cigarette butts tossed at me. The bike racks at Boston area colleges, BU, MIT, etc., were packed with the ten-speeds of the day. (unlike today, where only MIT has lots of bikes on its racks) All those students riding around, and it was very rare to hear of someone having a problem. The greatest concerns for cyclists in those days were theft (It was very bad in the 70's) and vandalism.
I'm not sure when I noticed things changing. Late 80's, I guess. That's when I started to hear the occasional horror story from other cyclists, about actual assaults. People leaning on their horns started to become more common, as did the occasional toss of a bottle, or fast food. (And what a great country we have!! People can actually afford to buy food, a precious commodity in some nations, and throw it at people they just don't like.) These tales of actual assaults are what get me though. I am hearing more and more tales like the one linked above. (in that case, a police officer witnessed part of the assault. That was lucky)
My question simply is this: What the heck is going on here? I know, there is probably no real answer to this, I'm just curious as to what people who have been cycling for a long time think. Are Americans simply de-evolving, or what?
I have known four people in as many years who have given up riding on the roads, and gone to off-road riding only, (bike path, trail, stationary gym bikes) because of this problem. These were not newbies, these were cyclists in their late 40's to early 60's.
As for me, I'm wondering if I should just learn to speak Dutch and head to Holland.
Okay, rant over.