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Old 03-12-19, 08:28 AM
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Once I got in a heated yelling match with a grumpy old man in a Suburban. Yelling across the passenger seat about state law & I pay $250/month in property taxes for the road & what-not. Brushing my with his mirror while I ride the speed limit (25 mph) has a way of sparking "not-joy."

I'm convinced it didn't make a hill of beans difference.

Instead, I've had luck humanizing my response. For example, when I was passed by a fellow employee at my workplace (30,000 people work there) I chased him down to his parking spot & told him: "I work here too." He claimed he thought he had enough room. I figured it was a good opportunity to let him know it was legal & totally cool to cross the line to pass the same as if I were a farm tractor, a horse, a fallen tree, or a pedestrian.

I think the disconnect is drivers are told: "bikes are vehicles" but they then don't have any follow up about expected behaviours around cyclists or what other laws apply or the exceptions to laws & it irks them.

I had a recent conversation with a co-worker that hates cyclists "in the car lane." It took a bit to sus out that his attitude was colored by a single 1/4 mile section of narrow road with a 25% grade that we have locally. "Cyclists go slow, hold you up, then bypass all the traffic & ride all the way to the stoplight. Inconvienant cheaters!" He says.

On that section there is a sidewalk & no driveways or other side approaches. I agreed with him, knowing the exact spot he is talking about. For that spot, the sidewalk is the safest, least obstructive place for a cyclist to be. He couldn't understand why a cyclist wouldn't just let everyone by. The idea that it was probably so steep that to have gearing low enough to climb it likely meant is was too low to get going was something he never would've considered. He now understands that the cyclist is likely feeling as trapped & is as uncomfortable as the driver & would go to the sidewalk if he could, but there isn't a way to get there.

A bit of empathy, & honest conversation off the bike about cycling specific hazards/concerns to humanize things seems to be a more productive approach.
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