It’s painful to admit, but the annoying motorist guy has a point. Since the bicyclist isn’t willing to slow down, why should we expect the motorist to be willing? Should we expect motorists to be more empathetic or ethically advanced than we are? The question in the Christian bible seems still terribly apt even 2,000 years later: “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”
Yes, people tend to point fingers at others and not look in the mirror. And yes, just as motorists should be willing to slow down for cyclists, cyclists should not hog the road except when necessary and should slow down for pedestrians. Pedestrians should behave in a consistent manner and not hog MUPs. All common sense and courtesy. But that’s not the point. The cyclist was showing the hypocrisy of the driver who was willing to relegate the cyclist to riding slowly ALL THE TIME on a sidewalk but was himself unwilling to slow down for a few seconds to pass. The cyclist never said that he hated slowing down for pedestrians or before passing buggies or farm implements (as we’ve all had to do on occasion). Sidewalks are not designed for speeds in excess of 10 mph; no, make that 8 mph. Forcing cyclists onto sidewalks is like forcing motorists to never drive over 20 or 25 mph. And sidewalks are simply unsafe for cyclists due to design and conflict points. In this case, I think it’s the converse of the biblical saying: the log is in the motorist’s eye and the speck is in the cyclist’s eye.
It is also horribly inefficient and would make bicycling impractical to have to slow down or stop on a constant basis. This not to mention increased delay for drivers. For instance, if they really thought about it, they would want bicyclists to maintain some momentum if possible going into intersections, not dismount in front of them, in the line of traffic where current law – the one they cite us for breaking – dictates. This is why the Idaho Stop law is so successful, in both safety and driver-bicyclist relations.
Accelerating/Decelerating on the other hand is of no physical consequence to the car driver. Gas and Brake, that’s all. What happens otherwise – the rage, belligerence, bullying – relates to their empowerment and vehicle’s dominance over the ROW, nevermind being hidden away from it all in a steel bubble. I always look at this baheviour and ask myself if these same folks would act this way on line in the grocery store. No they would not because they would have to confront their actions face to face with the victims, hence lack of the term “pedestrian rage”.
Google Dr Leon James, who’s speciality it is to study road rage and what causes humans to morph into psychopaths once behind the wheel of a car, while on the other hand, the bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to humanity.
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