A week ago, I wrote about a traumatic incident I experienced that included having a cyclist feign an accident with me at an intersection. The deluge of feedback (overwhelmingly hostile) I have gotten from the cyclist community has provided a great learning opportunity for me. Perhaps it can also lead to increased understanding on both sides of the car-bike divide.
As I have written, even before last week’s events, I was bike-friendly: believing in the basic principle that bikes have a right to be on the road and to be safe there. Though I have been taken aback by the intensity and anger I have met in the past week, it has not changed my sympathetic view towards bikes on the road. Au contraire!
Some things I’ve learned:
— The cycling community is very tight-knit, hypersensitive to insult or incursion, resistant to giving benefit of the doubt to drivers, and so intensely ideological as to be unable to separate friends from enemies: If you are in a car, you’re bad; if you’re on a bike, you’re good.
— Cyclists have every right to be paranoid and hostile: Any interaction between a car and a bike is inherently more dangerous for the cyclist than for the driver. Not only that, but they face the indifference and outright hostility of drivers all the time. Who could blame them for seeing cars (and drivers) as enemies?
[Continue reading Keith Berner’s post at Left-Hand View.]