Tom Stafford wrote a piece for the BBC in 2013 that is still good for a bit of discussion. He argues that cyclists enrage car drivers because it’s in our DNA. It’s evolution. It’s a natural, deep seeded response to free-loaders and cheats.
This is one of those arguments that gets people on the defensive. “I’m not a free-loader! I ride legally and responsibly, and if motorists don’t like it, they can get stuffed!”, you say. That is most certainly a reaction I could feel boiling up when I read certain lines in the article. You would be correct (or would you?), but that is unfortunately irrelevant to the explanation.
Whatever you think about the evolutionary science behind it, I have been thinking about the strangely irrational, automatic response that motorists have towards cyclists for a while now. The mere presence of a cyclist in the vague vicinity of some motorists is enough to send them into a rage whether or not they have any direct interaction with them at all. It offends some motorists sense of morality. Sense of order. Sense of fair play.
But not their sense of reasonableness, empathy, responsibility, or logic.
This line of thought is something that I have had brewing for months now, but have not had time to edit into smaller chunks fit for the format of this website. I’ll get to it as soon as I have some time, but for now, just read the article and leave a comment here with your reaction to it – good or bad.
Header image: source (cropped)