From the outside, it feels pretty simple: Drivers and cyclists should share the road. They have very different vehicles, but they both have a right to the road, and they should work together to make sure that everyone is safe.
Unfortunately, it’s often not nearly that simple. It may feel like drivers just do not respect cyclists. They act not just negligently around them but aggressive toward them. Why does this mindset exist?
Sometimes, it’s because drivers feel like cyclists don’t obey the rules of the road. Maybe they once saw a cyclist run a stop sign or ride on the sidewalk. Now they feel like all cyclists do that, all the time, and so they feel like it’s unfair.
A big issue is just that Americans are always in a hurry. A bike is far slower than a car. If it is holding up traffic, someone who is already late for work may feel frustrated and angry. Rather than thinking about how they need to share the road and that it’s their own fault for not leaving for work earlier, they’ll take out those feelings on the cyclist.
Much of the time, it’s also just a lack of experience. A lot of drivers never ride bikes, and they just don’t know what it’s like out there. If they did, maybe they would be able to see both sides a bit more clearly.
One thing is for certain: If this mindset leads to an accident between a cyclist and car, the cyclist stands the greatest chance of suffering serious injuries. They need to know about all of the legal options that they have.