Bikes and Cars
Cole wonders, “What kind of twisted jackass throws something out of a car at a biker?” and several of his commenters note the high degree of hostility bikers face from those in cars.
It is indeed amazing that people would intentionally try to harm a stranger merely for riding a bike. Then again, the concept of “road rage” has been around for years, so it’s not surprising that bikers get their share of the abuse.
More generally, because we’ve designed our roads for motor vehicles, having bicycles mixed in naturally promotes frustration. It simply doesn’t work to have people in spandex peddling along at 15 miles an hour next to half-ton vehicles driving at 65 competing for space.
My daily drive out of DC into the Virginia suburbs is often frustrating because of the confluence of high volumes of traffic, tour buses, commuter buses, taxi cabs, and vending trucks. Lanes are frequently blocked by buses and venders, causing people to unexpectedly change lanes. People drive aggressively to avoid being run over or cut off.
Adding bicyclists to the mix is insane. While they always seem to think they’re the aggrieved party, the fact of the matter is that few of them obey the rules of the road. They weave in and out of traffic unexpectedly. They hog lanes rather than driving to the right. They run stop signs and stop lights. They’re alternately vehicles and pedestrians as suits them.
It’s hard enough to make a right turn in DC because of the buses, which often seem to ride in convoys that amount to a moving road block and/or force their way into the lane. So, drivers of normal vehicles have to make snap judgments — if it’s clear, you go. And then some idiot on a bicycle darts in from the sidewalk or a non-existent lane of traffic. It’s truly a wonder more of them aren’t killed.
The answer, of course, is more bike lanes so that bicyclists can ride on their own terms. But, unless or until we do that, motorists and cyclists are going to be at odds.