Dave Moulton’s post today is about arrogant, rude cyclists who run stop signs and red lights without so much as slowing down. I could not agree with him more. As a law-abiding cyclist, it makes me furious when cyclists behave like this. I try my best to be friendly and courteous with motorists, always thanking them when they stop to let me cross a road or whatever. I see it as building positive relationships, one motorist at a time.
However, cyclists who ignore the laws are very noticeable. As a result, there are motorists out there who hate all of us, based on the bad behaviors of a few.
For example, a really good friend of mine was having a bad day: she was depressed because it was her 40th birthday, and she was cycling home from the job she hated. As usual, she was being law-abiding, and was in a left-turning lane, taking the lane. A motorist behind her revved menacingly and started edging closer and closer to her back wheel. Shaken up, she asked him if there was a problem. He starting screaming at her about how cyclists made him crazy because of the way they thought they owned the roads and could bike however they wanted, ignoring the laws.
My friend was left crying at the side of the road, as the furious motorist roared off. Granted, the man was a bully and a jerk. Presumably too cowardly to pick on the cyclists who behave badly, he picked instead on a law-abiding woman who happened to be in his way. However, the starting point was badly behaved cyclists.
Bottom line: cyclists who behave badly give us all a bad name, and we all have to deal with the negative consequences and the hatred they provoke. How can we rein them in?