I am a cyclist and you hate me

Cyclist hateGet off my road, you shout, as if I’m an immigrant ahead of you in the doctors, a leech on your neck. You are vocal yet you are in the minority. Venom for no other reason than I check your progress, your assumed and ill conceived right to the road makes me your enemy, a fly you must swat aside, a lesson you must teach.

Once you’ve scared me, passing so close that I could touch your car with my elbow, I wonder how the kids in the back seat of your car perceive you, I wonder how you react at work when you’re told to do something, or how your partner puts up with you after you’ve had a few beers, or how you feel when you look at yourself in the mirror. Proud probably, unfortunately.


I am a cyclist and you, yes you, drive your car oh so very close to me to teach me a lesson, one I understand oh so very quickly, your educational pass teaching me that you are a moron.

I am a cyclist and I am cheating you of time because I undertake you.

I am a cyclist and I am depriving you of five seconds because you cannot overtake me on a bend despite trying four times.

I am a cyclist and I am ignoring your imagined rules of the road because I do not ride in the gutter.

I am a cyclist and I do not think it is funny when you wind down your window and try to push me off my bike.

I am a cyclist and I am not taking responsibility for your actions because I do not wear a helmet

I am a cyclist and I could tell you how to overtake me without over revving your engine and drafting on my rear wheel

I am a cyclist and I do not jump red lights but you saw someone once and so therefore I must be punished

I am a cyclist and you are the judge, picking and choosing road laws you only half grasp or have only half made up

I am a cyclist and I am a human

I am a human just like you except our transport differs

I am a human and I get scared when you pass me too closely

I am a human and have family just like you, except mine worry I won’t return home from my daily commute

I am a human and I make mistakes, just like you

I am a human just trying to get to work

I am a human and when I take the lane as the highway code advises, it is to protect myself not to delay nor anger you

I am a human and I don’t want a fist fight because you do not understand the laws of the road

I am a human and I get angry and shout when scared because you almost knocked me off my bike

I am a human and I have a right to point out that you are breaking rules and that speeding or driving when using your phone is against the law

I am a human and I will get upset when your version of justice is passing me very closely in a fast moving car

I am a human and I will bleed when you knock me off my bike

I am a human, are you?

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Enjoyed this? Here’s an old blog post investigating the psychology of road rage and why some drivers seemingly hate cyclists.

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20 thoughts on “I am a cyclist and you hate me

  1. Ironically, all this anger on the part of drivers is in spite of the fact that on your bike, you are taking up far less room that a car, you are not polluting the air and you are not burning fuel and helping to drive up prices for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been there also!!! Hate this feeling and after al these years of cycling i still do some of them! (being angry, shouting, … ) We’re humans and we all make mistakes!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s very easy to sit behind the keyboard and pretend we’re all cool and collected in such moments but the fear, the adrenaline and the shock all kick in. I’m getting cooler as I get older, most incidents on the road only get worse with the reactions.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A very unfortunate reference to an immigrant, comparing a fellow human to a leech. Disgraceful. There are some terrible drivers out there. Pedestrians and other cyclists can also be hazardous. One of my bicycles and my collar bone are evidence of this

    Like

    • I was comparing the irrational mindset of drivers disliking cyclists to the irrational mindset of many in the UK, including national newspapers, who do compare immigrants to leeches. Sorry if that doesn’t come across, hope the collar bone heals soon.

      Liked by 3 people

    • I’m not for or against helmet use, they have their place – fast descents, racing etc but perhaps are less needed for a pootle to the shops or ideally, the commute. It’s more that people will often see a cyclist without a helmet and make the assumption that it is the cyclist who is dangerous (rather than the cars passing close by at speed) or worse still, the newspaper reports on cycle deaths that point to the cyclist not wearing a helmet or high viz. It’s very close to victim blaming. That said I agree very much that we all need to take responsibility for our safety on the road. I’ve another post lined up that will flip this point of view to that of the driver and the pedestrian.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I suppose its a mindset, I’d never run without proper trainers on in case I twisted an ankle etc. I’d never hike without proper boots and a GPS and I’d never ride my bike without my helmet on? Agreed they are less needed for a pootle about or commute. However, is that not similar to saying you don’t need your seatbelt on if your crossing town in a 30 zone?? Less risk doesn’t mean less recaution? Or am I being obtuse now! lol

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha, I think you can reduce both sides of the argument to such degrees. I hike without GPS or boots! A map and trainers work just fine. As you say, it’s all about our own personal perception of risk and safety.

      Like

  4. It’s obviously your right to wear a helmet or not, but I’m with gharvey86 when I wonder, “why the heck not?” That being said, thank you again for your writing and your perspective; I always appreciate it. Recently on my commute home from work I was yelled and gesticulated wildly at by a female driver…200 yards after passing a “Share the Road” sign with a picture of a bike on it…one of several dozen put up around my city by the city itself. The irony deepened as this happened on a downhill coming up to a stop sign, and as the woman was forced to slow down as she approached the intersection, I began catching up to her quite rapidly. I saw her repeatedly glancing in her rearview mirror, eyes widening in fear as she saw how close I was getting. I don’t know if she was afraid I would do something to her (which I never would, even if frustrated), or just that she might actually have to interact with me face to face after what had just happened. In any case, she squealed her tires pulling away from the stop sign, and threw a last-second left turn half a block down the road to get away from me, the evil cyclist. It was aggravating and entertaining at the same time. I’ve also taken to waving in a happy, friendly manner at any drivers that interact with me similarly to that. It often seems to frustrate them more, which might not be the best, either, but at least I’m not getting upset and darting out angrily in front of other vehicles in an attempt to return some kind of gesture or make my feelings known.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks TBF, your encounter would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. I find it best to refrain from any sort of interaction with drivers when a road rage incident occurs, it’s rare you’ll get an apology and more likely you’ll fan the flames no matter how reasonable you try to be. Such a shame. Interesting your city actually has to put signs up to share the road but as with speed limits, it seems many drivers consider such signs as guidance rather than laws!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post. Should share an interesting happening from a couple of weeks ago.

    I am based in India where our road designers and authorities seem to think that pavements are not a necessary part of road infrastructure. Anyways, I was coming up to a junction that was clogged. So I got off my bike and began to push it along the muddy area off the road. After I had taken a few steps I heard persistent honking behind me. I turned to face a clearly irate person on a motorcycle who felt that I was blocking his progress. Clearly ignoring the fact that we were both off the road – me on foot pushing my cycle while he was riding a motorcycle.

    How much more space do we give up?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sounds worst than here! There’s something odd that happens to people when travelling where every second seems to count AMD nobody must ever be delayed. Ever! Car drivers, motorbike drivers, even cyclists. The movement must be driving them crazy.

      Like

  6. I get about two death attempts every day on my 16 mile commute. Most I see coming and I’m prepared but non the less it’s annoying and all of the above apply (except the helmet one but it’s your choice).

    However, 1000s of cars pass me without causing me to stop,swerve or swear. And I always wave or thank cars who have waited for me at a junction or seen me when I’m filtering and given me a little more space. There are many times more good drivers than bad and there should be more support and praise for the good. Maybe a thank you or a friendly wave from a cyclist for even the most benign good driving would make driving standards on the whole improve and make less drivers hate cyclists.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Stevo, an excellent point, the above are the minority, a scary minority, but it was ever thus in society. Always say hello, thank you. We are after all but the same… Humans.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Agree with all. It is so true that these cars do not have any idea what rights us cyclists have to the road. We have the same right to the road as they have.

    Liked by 1 person

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