Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tired of the animosity

Some thoughts:
  • Why do so many cyclists (or at least blogging cyclists) feel that the only way to refer to drivers is to call them "cagers"?
  • Why are there so many blogging cyclists who seem to want the complete annihilation of everyone who has ever or will ever own a motor vehicle?
  • Why do blogging cyclists seem to miss the fact that their hatred of drivers is an exact mirror of the driver hatred of cyclists that they are all blogging about?
We get it - mixing cars and cyclists on the same roads is tough. There are some (large in number but probably not in percentage) drivers who actively dislike the presence of cyclists on the road. The laws, and often law enforcement, are tilted in the drivers' favor. Cyclists are often relegated to a form of second-class citizenry and not treated with the respect we feel we deserve. The point is made.

Here's another question though - given that there are a heck of a lot more people driving than cycling are we really going to get anywhere by being rude?

Whenever "bike rights" issues come up people think about the experiences they've had with cyclists in making a decision. Most people in urban areas have encountered messengers dodging between cars and blasting across intersections without a care for the chaos they cause. Most BART commuters can tell at least one story of a cyclist forcing their way onto an overcrowded train during the times where bikes are embargoed. My own father, who knows how avidly I ride (as does my older brother, an Ironman triathlon finisher) has come home on a number of occasions and ranted about the packs of cyclists he has encountered, blocking traffic by riding three- and four-abreast in their club kit, not caring that there is a line of 15-20 cars wanting to get past.

Are these really the thoughts we want people to have of us?

I've seen too many posts on some of my favorite blogs (no, I'm not linking to them today because I don't want to call anyone out) with nasty, antagonistic, prejudicial, and most of all STEREOTYPICAL language regarding drivers. Guess what? I drive. I like my truck and it's a useful tool. I also love my bikes. There isn't any reason people can't be both drivers and cyclists.

Well, except the attitude that drivers are evil incarnate which permeates the blogging cyclist community.


  1. Well said, and I agree: the animosity is completely unnecessary. The "cagers" thing bugs me too. I am a cyclist, but I also drive a car (and even enjoy doing so). Does that make me evil? I think not. I do think that riding makes me a better driver by making me more aware of various hazards.

  2. I realize this is an old post, but I came across an article yesterday on A site I generally enjoy. One of the authors went on a smug, self-aggrandizing, egotistical, holier-than-thou rant about how he was so proud to be "un-American" by not owning a car and trivial non-events like not living near a Walmart and not wearing blue jeans. I feel exactly as you do on this matter: I enjoy cycling. I don't want to get rid of those who don't cycle.