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Spat at, abused and run off the road

Old 08-30-22, 12:12 PM
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Polaris OBark
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Spat at, abused and run off the road

Spat at, abused and run off the road: why do some people hate cyclists so much?

Link to article in Guardian (UK)
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Old 08-30-22, 12:20 PM
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Sounds like the driver read too many threads at BF .....
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Old 08-30-22, 12:27 PM
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Interesting article. Two passages stand out, for me:

​​​​​​Chamberlin points out that cyclists have an unfair reputation for being aggressive simply because they often shout back when they are threatened by drivers. Cars pose an existential threat to cyclists in a way that doesnít apply the other way around, he says: ďThe cyclist experiences something much more unpleasant, much more threatening and terrifying than an occupant of a vehicle. Thatís why when you threaten a cyclist, they may have a massive rush of adrenaline and swear back at you. Thatís why the interaction sticks in the brains of both sides in a way that other road rage doesnít."

Yup. Close calls from inattentive drivers almost always get a reaction from me. We recently moved to a small city in which my spouse has a very high-profile position -- people we've never met literally come up to introduce themselves because they know who we are. No anonymity. I'm trying my best to NOT curse or flip the finger at careless drivers, even then they richly deserve it.

ďIíve been cycling in Manchester for the last 15 years and Iíd say that in the last two years, Iíve noticed a definite decline not just in driving standards, but also an increase in aggression. Close passes. And not really giving a lot of consideration to cyclists,Ē she says.

I think the whole Western world has gotten ruder in the past couple years, for a couple reasons that only belong in P&R.


All in all, an interesting article; thanks for posting. Makes me glad, as always, to not live in a large city. For most of my riding years, I've been in semi-rural areas where cyclists are rare, which means that drivers have less reason to be angry at us -- after all, familiarity breeds contempt.
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Old 08-30-22, 12:31 PM
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The part about the way cyclists dress, in lycra and spandex and high vis helmets, being the source of the problem I find rather troubling.

Some may say we are just too damn smug. Others cannot stand the sight of our bottoms in Lycra as we wait in front of them at the lights. Sarah Mitchell, chief executive of Cycling UK, another membership organisation, thinks that special cycle clothing helps drivers to “other” cyclists, leading Australian researchers to report a few years back that a third of people see cyclists as “less than fully human”.

“People can behave aggressively towards cyclists because they see them as dehumanised,” Mitchell agrees. “One of the things I feel I have a responsibility to do as a leader of Cycling UK, and as a woman, is to cycle around in ordinary clothes.”

Some believe the wearing of hi-vis and helmets encourages drivers to behave badly. One memorable study from Dr Ian Walker of Bath University found that cars passed closer to cyclists who were wearing helmets. They also gave riders a wider berth if they thought they were women (he wore a long blond wig for that part of the experiment).
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Old 08-30-22, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
I think the whole Western world has gotten ruder in the past couple years
This is true IMO. Not just with general people, but across the entire board. Cyclists are less welcome more now, than ever in the past from my experience.
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Old 08-30-22, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
The part about the way cyclists dress, in lycra and spandex and high vis helmets, being the source of the problem I find rather troubling.
It's discrimination/profiling/prejudice.
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Old 08-30-22, 12:36 PM
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I had always assumed if I looked like I was taking visibility and safety seriously, it would lessen the antagonism, not increase it.
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Old 08-30-22, 12:38 PM
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you're just highlighting the target.
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Old 08-30-22, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
The part about the way cyclists dress, in lycra and spandex and high vis helmets, being the source of the problem I find rather troubling.
I always figured, if anything, the cycling "kit" makes drivers feel more justified because they assume (1) you have no NEED to be on the road and are just riding recreationally, and (2) you are part of the group of cyclists who frequently break the rules and put their own lives at risk. Even my friends and colleagues don't understand why I wear tight, bright lycra while riding 50 miles.
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Old 08-30-22, 12:48 PM
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Nice article, thanks!
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Old 08-30-22, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
I always figured, if anything, the cycling "kit" makes drivers feel more justified because they assume (1) you have no NEED to be on the road and are just riding recreationally, and (2) you are part of the group of cyclists who frequently break the rules and put their own lives at risk. Even my friends and colleagues don't understand why I wear tight, bright lycra while riding 50 miles.
Do cyclists in the UK use daytime running lights? If so, do they piss people off?
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Old 08-30-22, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
I always figured, if anything, the cycling "kit" makes drivers feel more justified because they assume (1) you have no NEED to be on the road and are just riding recreationally, and (2) you are part of the group of cyclists who frequently break the rules and put their own lives at risk. Even my friends and colleagues don't understand why I wear tight, bright lycra while riding 50 miles.
I had never considered that being dressed in cycling gear while cycling triggers anger in drivers. Oh well, hatred is illogical.
I dress in construction refector vests and T-shirts so I look like one of them. Plus I carry a big pannier full of stuff giving the impression I'm going somewhere instead of just riding around. Don't know if that has any neutralizing effect but my rear facing camera sure helps.
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Old 08-30-22, 12:59 PM
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Article about some girl seeking attention over Twitter comments. The guardian is terrible.
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Old 08-30-22, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
I had always assumed if I looked like I was taking visibility and safety seriously, it would lessen the antagonism, not increase it.
I can see it cutting both ways. Over the years, a couple motorists have slowed down to thank me for running such visible tail lights.

Originally Posted by DonkeyShow View Post
Article about some girl seeking attention over Twitter comments. The guardian is terrible.
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Old 08-30-22, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
I had always assumed if I looked like I was taking visibility and safety seriously, it would lessen the antagonism, not increase it.
Originally Posted by Troul View Post
you're just highlighting the target.
Well it only makes you a target for that one crazy person in the many that aren't bothered at all.

Personally I'd rather chance that wearing brightly colored stuff will prevent one of the many people not bothered by my presence from not seeing me in time as opposed the the even more unlikely encounter of the one person that would intentionally harm me.
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Old 08-30-22, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
I had never considered that being dressed in cycling gear while cycling triggers anger in drivers. Oh well, hatred is illogical.
I dress in construction refector vests and T-shirts so I look like one of them. Plus I carry a big pannier full of stuff giving the impression I'm going somewhere instead of just riding around. Don't know if that has any neutralizing effect but my rear facing camera sure helps.
I formed that conclusion when a driver yelled at me that "You cyclists run red lights and cut us off!" I was initially confused because I was alone and had been adhering to all laws the whole ride. He obviously lumped me in with some other (rear or hypothetical) cyclists whom I may have never ridden with. Guilt by association. The irony came when I tossed it back at him with "Well, you drivers constantly roll red lights and cut off cyclists" and he got offended and said "Maybe some do, but I don't".

I wonder if people even know I'm riding with cameras. They're not very large and are also lights.
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Old 08-30-22, 01:12 PM
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I tend to agree with @Iride01. The people who are going to get mad at lycra are already mad, they are just looking for targets. Wear what works and deal with the loonies.

Not sure what urban areas are like but I find people in suburbia to be a lot more cycle-conscious than when i first started urban commuting, back before bike lanes and "share the road" commercials. Just the fact that there are so many more bike lanes makes me think that urban commuting would be a little better (smart-design bike lanes, too---when cities first started painting bike lanes back then, they would end in holes, 8-inch curbs, whatever ..... or get squeezed out by turn lanes.)

I haven't had anyone throw anything at me or try to run me off the road in a couple decades, though .....
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Old 08-30-22, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Well it only makes you a target for that one crazy person in the many that aren't bothered at all.

Personally I'd rather chance that wearing brightly colored stuff will prevent one of the many people not bothered by my presence from not seeing me in time as opposed the the even more unlikely encounter of the one person that would intentionally harm me.
it's all about timing & location. If I pick a certain time outside of my preferred window of riding within a 20 miles range locally, I'm just asking for trouble if I wear high viz & tights.
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Old 08-30-22, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
I haven't had anyone throw anything at me or try to run me off the road in a couple decades, though .....
...my last one was about a year ago. It involved a driver who took exception to my entering the intersection where she was waiting on a red light, while mine was still yellow. She didn't really try to run me off the road, so much as accelerate her car directly at me. This was in suburbia...east sac is a fairly high end suburb here. I think she was just passing through, on her way someplace more redneck, though.
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Old 08-30-22, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post

I think the whole Western world has gotten ruder in the past couple years, for a couple reasons that only belong in P&R.


.

...i made a very rude gesture in the direction of my woman, as she sped away.
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Old 08-30-22, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
I haven't had anyone throw anything at me or try to run me off the road in a couple decades, though .....
Yeah, me neither and it used to happen to me on a fairly regular basis. The punish pass remains popular, however.
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Old 08-30-22, 01:34 PM
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.
...probably more an A+S topic, but the average driver will not suffer any serious consequences as the result of a car versus bike collision that kills the bicyclist. There's only one person talking to the cops at that point, and the story almost always gets written down as, "He just suddenly veered out into the traffic lane. There was nothing I could do." I've seen it so many times in the news, I've lost count. And I used to work the same accident scenes as the cops. They all think anyone who rides a bike on city streets is nuts, and probably ought to expect bad things to happen. I've not spoken to the bicycle cops, because they were not the ones responding to car vs bike collisions.

But it wouldn't surprise me at all if they feel the same way. You're on your own out there.
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Old 08-30-22, 01:35 PM
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In the area where I live, there has been a sharp increase the past few years in auto vs. pedestrian and auto vs. cyclist accidents, many resulting in fatalities. It's not just a perception; the rate of these accidents is actually way up.

I also see and hear about a lot of speeding, aggressive driving, and distracted driving.

Surely these trends are related.

Another contributing factor could be the rapid population growth we're seeing here. More people = more traffic, and roads becoming more crowded.

It is very troubling for me as a cyclist, and I'm disappointed that the problem is not getting more attention. I mean, people are being killed every week. A high percentage are kids and youths. It happens in our cities, suburbs, and rural areas. Victims include people from all walks of life and socio-economic segments. Many incidents involve hit and run.

It's a very difficult problem.
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Old 08-30-22, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
In the area where I live, there has been a sharp increase the past few years in auto vs. pedestrian and auto vs. cyclist accidents, many resulting in fatalities. It's not just a perception; the rate of these accidents is actually way up.

I also see and hear about a lot of speeding, aggressive driving, and distracted driving.

Surely these trends are related.

Another contributing factor could be the rapid population growth we're seeing here. More people = more traffic, and roads becoming more crowded.

It is very troubling for me as a cyclist, and I'm disappointed that the problem is not getting more attention. I mean, people are being killed every week. A high percentage are kids and youths. It happens in our cities, suburbs, and rural areas. Victims include people from all walks of life and socio-economic segments. Many incidents involve hit and run.

It's a very difficult problem.
Any "safety" dumped into mix will just result in more inconveniences to the cyclists to in-turn discourage riding the bicycle in public areas.

I value the limited number of fair weather days we get by riding as much as I can outside. It's refreshing to ride, to get in the exercise, see the community with its' changes..... but with the disregard by the public's care for our safety, I'll eventually get ran over & killed or severely injured then get obese from not being able to ride.... society will then have to bare those problems...
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Old 08-30-22, 01:53 PM
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I've actually observed the opposite where I live. I'm finding drivers to be more respectful and cautious around me than they used to - say 20 to 25 yrs ago. I expect social media has played a part in this in that people seem to have a little more empathy.

I've heard stories from friends who live in Portland where it's a whole different story. There apparently are quite a few drivers in the Portland area that immediately go into intimidate and harass mode whenever they see a cyclist.
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