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Old 02-22-02, 11:25 AM   #1
aturley
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what do motorists think?

Does anyone know of a place to find discussions of non-cycling motorists opinions toward cyclist, written by motorists? I think it would be helpful to understand what motorists are feeling when they see cyclists on the road. This could be very helpful in anticipating motorist behavior, and also in making the dialog between cyclists and non-cycling motorists more effective.

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Old 02-22-02, 12:18 PM   #2
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Most of the time, its pretty obvious what they are thinking. Usually a mixture of contempt and derision. Sometimes, courtisy, and most dangerous of all, is nothing. (It is the bullet marked to whom it may concern..)

The major problem with analysing drivers thoughts is that they are often totally illogical. They speed up towards stop signs, drive into other peoples braking distances. The biggest mistake they make is to confuse speed and quickness. Racing drivers are never fast, they are quick. Drivers fail to recognise that it is the slow bits which determine journey time.

One television motoring journalist took a course in advanced driving, and was able to improve his fuel consumption from 25mpg to 40mpg, yet arrive just as quickly. He was incapable of maintaining this style his own, prefering to convert fuel into noise and acceleration rather than transportation.
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Old 02-22-02, 01:33 PM   #3
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Originally posted by MichaelW
Most of the time, its pretty obvious what they are thinking. Usually a mixture of contempt and derision.
And sometimes with a dangerous dollop of jealousy. It's not just jealous lovers that commit murder (or, as the courts would most likely find in all but the most blatant cases, manslaughter, if anything at all).
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Old 02-22-02, 03:46 PM   #4
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Motorists think? Isn't that a revelation!

Being serious for a second, I don't think you can generalise the entire motoring population. There are some who are happy to share the roads and do so in a safe and courteous manner. There are others who will resent the simple fact that someone happens to be riding a bike on "their road" and will act accordingly.

Personally, I try not to worry about what they are thinking. It's impossible to tell in the real world, so I just concentrate on doing what will make my journey safer and more pleasant.
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Old 02-22-02, 07:58 PM   #5
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My opinion is this:
We shouldn't be worried about what motorists think. The ones that actually think are not the ones that cause the mayhem. it's the ones that merely react that cause the problems. You'd probably get farther asking the car what it was thinking after a cyclist gets run over.
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Old 02-22-02, 08:42 PM   #6
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In "My Fair Lady," Rex Harrison said something like, "As soon as I let a woman in my life, I become selfish and tyrannical..."

That's me behind the wheel. I can only wonder what other drivers become!

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Old 02-22-02, 08:50 PM   #7
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Good point Pete. I like to say "motorists" when referring to them, and "cyclist" when referring to me. If I really want to be honest, however, I'd have to say that I'm both.
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Old 02-22-02, 11:41 PM   #8
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What, do motorists think?
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Old 02-23-02, 06:38 AM   #9
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As someone who had never been on a bike on the road until last week (I'm 31), I might can offer a little bit of insight. PLEASE note that this is my opinion, so hold off on death threats and the like. I can tell you that most motorists don't think about the inherent dangers associated with this sport. In many cases, I don't think it's intentional, but they have never stopped to consider the possible consequences of their actions toward a cyclist. I didn't UNTIL I pulled my bike onto the road for the first time.

Now I know that, even if something happened and I never rode again, I still would never look at bike riders the same. What's my point? The root of the problem is ignorance (probably on both sides to some extent).

A nickle's worth of free advice: if you are truly concerned about the issue, do what you can to change it. As a preacher, I found out quickly that not everyone wanted to hear what I had to say. Did I quit? No. I move on to those that I can help. If you have non-biking friends, try to educate them on the issue. Most have never considered what is at stake. If you work it into the coversation with out preaching (no pun intended) you will have better results, and they in turn will eventually share the info with others. If you offend them immediately, you will never be able to talk to them and get results, so I advise against going in with six-guns blazing. Remember that for the most part these are probably going to be the same people you share the road with, so it can only help your situation, if handled correctly. At the very least, you've given them something to think about.

You can't change the world, so do what you can to help those who can be helped.

Just my opinion- 'goose
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Old 02-23-02, 08:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by D*Alex
......it's the ones that merely react that cause the problems. You'd probably get farther asking the car what it was thinking after a cyclist gets run over.
Chris's Primate term come to mind.
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Old 02-23-02, 11:03 AM   #11
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'goose wrote: "If you have non-biking friends, try to educate them on the issue. Most have never considered what is at stake. If you work it into the coversation with out preaching (no pun intended) you will have better results, and they in turn will eventually share the info with others. If you offend them immediately, you will never be able to talk to them and get results, so I advise against going in with six-guns blazing. Remember that for the most part these are probably going to be the same people you share the road with, so it can only help your situation, if handled correctly. At the very least, you've given them something to think about. "

I agree all the way. This is the approach I took with co-workers (all non-cyclists, all motorists, some very enthusiastic about their cars) when I was commuting. In almost all cases, they came to alter their perception of cycling for the better, and in the few remaining ones, at least they had food for thought.

I save the expression of my harsher feelings towards motorists for the steamy pages of Bike Forums! (You don't think diplomats talk diplomatically at home, do you?)
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Old 02-23-02, 11:51 AM   #12
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Here's a little insight on what "motorists" think. Warning, it will make your cyclist blood boil at times.

http://forums.anandtech.com/messagev...hreadid=722042

For what it's worth, I post as purplehayes there and Fausto1 is a fellow Atlanta cyclist that I have yet to meet. If he posts here, he goes by a different user name.

Here's a little teaser from a "motorist":
Quote:
...but I don't really think bicyclists need to be on public roads. They are accidents waiting to happen.
PH
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Old 02-23-02, 04:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by aturley
Does anyone know of a place to find discussions of non-cycling motorists opinions toward cyclist, written by motorists? I think it would be helpful to understand what motorists are feeling when they see cyclists on the road. This could be very helpful in anticipating motorist behavior, and also in making the dialog between cyclists and non-cycling motorists more effective.

andy
Go to Google's Usenet archive and search for the semi regular aus.cars/aus.bicycles crossposted flame wars. Search on 'critical mass' and you'll get more than you ever want of what motorists think. Bear in mind that you won't see much reason from either side in these discussions, but if that's what you thought you'd find when you asked this question then you're dreaming. I also don't think the denizens of aus.cars are necessarily representative of the motoring population at large.

Also, trying to anticipate motorist behavious is a mug's game. You can only respond to what IS happening, not what you think might or should happen.
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Old 02-23-02, 07:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Allister
Go to Google's Usenet archive and search for the semi regular aus.cars/aus.bicycles crossposted flame wars. Search on 'critical mass' and you'll get more than you ever want of what motorists think. Bear in mind that you won't see much reason from either side in these discussions, but if that's what you thought you'd find when you asked this question then you're dreaming.
I honestly don't think you'll get any realistic info on people's real perceptions from Internet discussion boards anyway. Let's face it, most people are far more obnoxious on-line than in real life (except for me, of course ). It probably has a lot to do with the whole anonymity thing ("who cares what I say about this guy, even if I do meet him, he'll never recognise me). And then of course, there are the trolls...

In all honesty, I think there is a whole spectrum of opinions of motorists here. However, for what it's worth, I'm with Allister on this one, deal with the situation that presents itself. Don't worry about what may or may not happen.
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Old 02-23-02, 08:54 PM   #15
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Originally posted by Chris L
Let's face it, most people are far more obnoxious on-line than in real life (except for me, of course
Come on, Chris! I refuse to believe you could be more obnoxious in real life than you are here!
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Old 02-23-02, 10:24 PM   #16
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As a commuter, back and forth to work each day, I find that motorist are more dangerous at certain times of the day. I've had to adjust my schedule to keep from being killed. In the city I live in there are two colleges as well as a number of business. I make a great effort to avoid being on the road from 6:45 to 7 am and from 7:45 to 8 am. Many students wake up 20 minutes before they have to be to class and the same goes for many employees and I won't even go into the amount of sleep or partying that went on the night before. Besides talking on the phone, I've seen them shaving, putting on make-up, curling their eyelashes and reading. I don't think a large number of motorist hate bicyclist any more than they hate other motorist, and we have all heard stories of road rage.They are late , they are tired, they are not paying attention and they are making a lot of mistakes that could cost peoples lives. I've had stuff thrown at me but not that often, not as often as I've had peolple almost drive into me from not paying attention to what they are doing.
You'd think someone sitting on their butt letting the car do all the work would be more relaxed than someone that has to pedal to get around but it's just the opposite. Things will change someday. More people will bike for economic reason or for their health. I have a dream.
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Old 02-23-02, 10:44 PM   #17
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This is an interesting anaysis, Ernie.

In addition, a friend who jogged 5 miles a day was cut in the forehead by an auto passenger who threw a pickle slice from his
hamburger at him.

Such immaturity!
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Old 02-24-02, 02:22 AM   #18
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I think a lot of these attacks on runners and cyclists arise out of enviousness. A psychologist I briefly discussed this with once thought the same. She was a cyclist. In fact the conversation took place on a ride.
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Old 02-24-02, 10:29 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by JonR
I think a lot of these attacks on runners and cyclists arise out of enviousness.
Imagine a motorist cruising down the boulevard, and suddenly a jogging shoe flies in through the window. Or, maybe a bike.

NOT!

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Old 02-24-02, 11:04 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by Pete Clark

Imagine a motorist cruising down the boulevard, and suddenly a jogging shoe flies in through the window. Or, maybe a bike.

NOT!

Not quite not... I confess to a pecadillo (and no, that's not a cross between a peccary and an armadillo). It was one of my not-too-frequent incidents of Bike Rage.

A motoring couple in a white car gave me a lot of grief--I don't remember the details now--and forced me off the road, in short. I threw my bike down in exasperation, then picked it up again and brandished it at the car as it drove past me, shouting, "I wish I could throw this throw your window!"

I don't know that it even made me feel any better, but the two primates in the car looked genuinely alarmed.

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Old 02-25-02, 03:02 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by Pete Clark

Imagine a motorist cruising down the boulevard, and suddenly a jogging shoe flies in through the window. Or, maybe a bike.
Allister and I have, on other boards, discussed a couple of interesting options in this area. I'm not sure Joe would appreciate that here tho.
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Old 02-25-02, 05:47 AM   #22
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If verbal articulation is any sign of human intelligence, those motorist who yell at cyclists and think we can understand even half of what the hell they're trying to say can't be all that quick in the melon.
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Old 02-25-02, 06:25 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by 'goose
As someone who had never been on a bike on the road until last week (I'm 31), I might can offer a little bit of insight. PLEASE note that this is my opinion, so hold off on death threats and the like. I can tell you that most motorists don't think about the inherent dangers associated with this sport. In many cases, I don't think it's intentional, but they have never stopped to consider the possible consequences of their actions toward a cyclist. I didn't UNTIL I pulled my bike onto the road for the first time.

Now I know that, even if something happened and I never rode again, I still would never look at bike riders the same. What's my point? The root of the problem is ignorance (probably on both sides to some extent).

A nickle's worth of free advice: if you are truly concerned about the issue, do what you can to change it. As a preacher, I found out quickly that not everyone wanted to hear what I had to say. Did I quit? No. I move on to those that I can help. If you have non-biking friends, try to educate them on the issue. Most have never considered what is at stake. If you work it into the coversation with out preaching (no pun intended) you will have better results, and they in turn will eventually share the info with others. If you offend them immediately, you will never be able to talk to them and get results, so I advise against going in with six-guns blazing. Remember that for the most part these are probably going to be the same people you share the road with, so it can only help your situation, if handled correctly. At the very least, you've given them something to think about.

You can't change the world, so do what you can to help those who can be helped.

Just my opinion- 'goose

Point well made goose, and I'm sure motorists don't appreciate the problems because so few ride bikes now.

Even with sales of "sexy" MTB's bike sales in UK are down. I presume it will be the same elsewhere. A nation of Playstation playing, internet surfing, pie eating couch potato teens and younger never get off their behinds to ride a bike, then go straight on to get a car when they can, and , hormone fuelled, drive like dipsticks.

As a bicycle and motorbike rider, I hope I am a better motorist.

Unfortunately, some motorists don't understand bike riding and what you can't understand some people hate and distrust.
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Old 02-25-02, 10:49 AM   #24
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I think a lot of these attacks on runners and cyclists arise out of enviousness. A psychologist I briefly discussed this with once thought the same. She was a cyclist. In fact the conversation took place on a ride.
I'm just not sure I buy the jealous arguement. Then again, I'm also not a psychologist. It just sounds too much like what my parents would tell me when other kids made fun of in grade school. I think they would have to know what they were missing to be jealous. I would be very interested to hear the reasoning behind the jealousy idea.

I guess one of the reasons I asked the question to begin with was because I wanted some ideas on where to start for encouraging some people in the building I work in to participate in Bike to Work Week. I think most non-cycling motorists (I emphasize non-cycling because I am both a motorist and a cyclist) have prejudices against cyclists that need to be overcome before they are willing to embrace the idea of becoming cyclists themselves. As with many other things, they avoid it because they don't want to become "one of those people".

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Old 02-25-02, 12:34 PM   #25
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I would be very interested to hear the reasoning behind the jealousy idea.
I don't know what a psychologist's reasoning might be, but my own is like this:

1. Non-cycling motorist sees happy cyclist.
2. NCM is rational enough and has enough experience and education to know that aerobic exercise is very good for most people.
3. NCM realizes with both guilt and anger that he/she is depriving him/herself of something beneficial--and also not having as much fun (at least at the moment!) as the happy cyclist, or HC.
4. Reacting along the lines of "Dammit, if I can't have fun, you shouldn't, either!" (like some kids on playgrounds, etc.), NCM hurls verbal or physical abuse at HC.

Some people take offense at the mere suggestion that anybody else might be superior in any way: including choice of activity. "You think you're better than me! I'll show you!"

Others have just the opposite reaction and are inspired by those they perceive as superior, and strive to emulate them, or at least to change their own lives for the better in some way.

That's how I see it.

I'm grateful to belong to the second group. I get inspired, not mad or vengeful.
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