"Get the-f. . off the road"! I have just been subjected to this offensive shouted blast, through the rolled down window of a car from a passing motorist, while I ride along the road. Then he leans on the horn good and long, as he massively and aggressively, accelerates away, leaving me in a dust and carbon-monoxide cloud!
What have I done to deserve this? Nothing really. Just been riding along the right edge of the road minding my own business. Completely legal and holding up no one. Of course, I am offended by it and taken aback. Where does it come from, this open hostility on the part of motorists for cyclists?
My sense is a big part of this hostility comes from the fact that almost all motorists, see cyclists in a one dimensional way. They are people on bikes - full stop. They can't make out the nuanced differences between, a savvy road-rider, or the newbie triathlete, or even the dramatic difference between the kid riding to school, the typical bike commuter or the hipster riding a fixie. They are ALL cyclists to the motorist.
Now, I am not giving the motorist who just blasted me with his voice and horn, any excuses. He was being rude and offensive. However, I am guessing that part of his hostile reaction to me, was the fact that, five minutes before he came upon me, some other cyclist, perhaps cut him off at an intersection, while running a stop sign and, for good measure gave, the motorist the finger as he road off and away. I'll not tell you what type of cyclist who, I think that was - it could be any cyclist actually. It matters little. What matters is that the motorist, thinks we are all the same, and more cyclists need to know this.
You see, in most areas, bikes and bike riders have every right to be on the road - to take their place in the lane, and share the road with motor vehicles. Of course, there is a responsibility that comes with the right to be there - to follow the rules of the road. Hence the picture at the top and a campaign that I came across on Facebook today to promote this. Original link from Cycling InForm, an Australian based coaching service, is here. Please promote and share further.
In Canada, we have an advocacy group called Share The Road, that advocates for exactly that - a sharing of the road for all users - motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians!
Cyclists, as a group, we can do our part by following the rules of the road, and respecting the spirit of the Share The Road message, of truly sharing the road with our fellow road users. I know it's hard. The easy thing for me to do, given my encounter with the irate motorist that I started out talking about would have been to lash out and give-as-good-as-I-got. However, that would have only reinforced in the motorists mind that all-cyclists-are-asses, thought process. Instead, I give the guy a friendly wave, while a choke on the dust and excess carbon-monoxide!
Again, I know it's hard, but collectively as cyclists, its what we need to do.
Do you follow the rules of the road while you are riding?
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