There are those who see a clear level of tension and aggression between cyclists and drivers. Some have even compared it to ethnic conflicts, calling these “road wars” between the two groups.
But why does this tension exist? Yes, cyclists and drivers do have to share the road, but these are just two different forms of transportation. Why do these groups tend to dislike each other and struggle to get along?
It becomes part of their identity
In some cases, the issue is that cycling or driving becomes part of a person’s identity. It’s how they think of themselves. It’s not just a mode of transportation that they have chosen. It’s a part of who they are.
This is often why drivers get so frustrated when having to share the road with cyclists. If a bike is moving more slowly ahead of them, and they don’t have space to pass, the driver may engage in road rage, tailgate the bike or even make a dangerous pass that could cause an accident.
But they may not be thinking of that specific cyclist. Instead, they lump all cyclists together. They begin thinking of them as this entire group that is fundamentally different from their own and that inhibits a driver’s ability to use the road. It feels more like a personal attack. By putting cyclists into a group in this way, a driver dehumanizes them and increases the odds of conflict between the two groups.
Ideally, cyclists and drivers will be able to share the road safely. However, negligent drivers do still cause accidents that lead to injuries and even fatalities. Cyclists who have been hurt need to know about all of their legal options to seek financial compensation.