Following another cyclist-car collision in Chicago, a Chicago Tribune writer takes a surprisingly sane look at the rage that exists between bicyclists and motorists.
He even gets quotes from psychologists and people like Bob Mionske:
“If every cyclist obeyed every single traffic law, I don’t think the [Internet] comment boards would change that much,” says Bob Mionske, former Olympic cyclist turned attorney and cycling advocate. “Drivers ask, ‘Why are they in my way?’ I think that in some of the more general ways, it’s competition for a limited resource: the roadway.”
Sadly, he’s likely right. Still, it’s easy to find misbehaving users of roadways in general – cyclists, vehicles, bus drivers, even jaywalking pedestrians. I’m sure we’ve encountered every one of ’em.
The question is, does encountering one, or even several, of these cause you to assume that all of them are outlaws? I’d bet that in most cases, it’s NOT universal. You’re more likely to assume that of specific groups. There’s a group identification.
Better roadway design is probably a start. Traffic calming measures have worked in Europe. They’re also used to high gas pricing there, which helps create some sanity in vehicle choice and use. In Minnesota, I wonder if some of the recent hue and cry is due to the recent gas tax upgrade (2 cents a gallon!) coinciding with gas price hysteria. The increase isn’t just the tax – the tax is a small amount of it all. But it’s hard to say who understands that.