As long as there have been 2 and 4 wheel transportation trying to use the same roads, there has been this built in negative relationship between cyclists and drivers. The mad drivers want cyclists to “get off the road” and the mad cyclists pigeonhole every driver as “out to get them”.
This is where you’d expect me to go into all the times I’ve been “dis’d” by cars and trucks, but I’m not going to tell you about those experiences, or times I’ve been yelled at or purposely gotten close to. Those have been covered on the internet ad-nauseum. Instead, I want to tell you how I’ve had people be kind and courteous to me at least 4 out of my last 5 trips into town. I’ve had drivers encourage me to keep rolling so I wouldn’t have to disengage my clipin pedals as I approach 4 way intersections. I’ve had people miss a turn to pull out when I’m trying to also get across a busy street; just so they could let me go first.
While it’s always sensational to talk about the incredulous bad behavior and rudeness that can exist out there, we do ourselves a disservice if we don’t acknowledge the fact that there are plenty of people that don’t want this animosity to continue. For sure this issue is emotionally charged; especially if you’ve had a memorably bad experience either as a driver or a cyclist. However, I would venture to say you can recall even more “driver to driver” incredulity so that it doesn’t make bike vs car issues any more pernicious.
Maybe if we began to recount the good people have shown - drivers showing courtesy and patience – we might actually affect positive change by people also wanting to be responsible for some good stories and good memories out on the road. Maybe if we focus on the positive, the positive will become as self fulfilling as the negative can so easily be.
So those of you on social media – if you’ve had a good experience, and act of kindness, courtesy or generosity of driver to rider in the last year or two – please let us know in the comment section below. The negative comments will always find their way, but the positive ones we need to nurture and shepherd. Maybe if we expose them to the light, they’ll grow and multiply. Wouldn’t that make for a better commute for riders and drivers - positive energy!?!