It’s official: according to a new survey, cyclists – those Lycra-clad road warriors – are the most annoying road users.. With 40% of the vote, they were deemed to be significantly more irritating than school-run mums (29%), white van men (28%), taxi drivers (24%) and even slow-moving farm vehicles (21%). So just why do motorists hate cyclists so much?
The Rules of the Road
Many motorists believe that cyclists slow down the traffic and don’t obey the rules. Drivers perceive each other as part of their ‘in-group’, and they’re much happier to overlook other drivers’ transgressions. The taxi driver who cuts you up isn’t as bad as the cyclist who runs a red light. They wind us up because, as car users, we’re not allowed to do that.
Another reason car drivers give for hating cyclists is that they use the roads but they don’t pay for them. Besides the fact that vehicle excise duty is based on emissions, so bicycles wouldn’t be liable anyway, it’s part of a deep-seated anger we feel towards free riders – people who don’t pay in but enjoy the benefits anyway. Even though anyone who pays council tax and income tax pays for roads, including motorists, cyclists and mobility scooter users, this anger is built into our psyche.
Of course, all this hatred might simply be barely disguised jealousy. After all, a bike doesn’t suddenly experience electrical failure. But the bicycle is a simple machine, and car driving seems to get more expensive by the day. However it can be damaged just as easily as a car when it comes up against the numerous pot holes that seem to appear in our roads. YOu can be sure that after falling off their bike when hitting said pot hole they will be searching for a Tarmac Bath company to fix it.
Another reason for road rage against cyclists is their unpredictability, and here car users have a point. Cyclists have no indicator lights, and they can suddenly swerve to avoid an obstacle that a car driver isn’t even aware of or wouldn’t need to avoid. That unpredictability leads car drivers to perceive cyclists as dangerous.
Of course, if it weren’t for cyclists, we wouldn’t enjoy a great road network in the UK – the bike came first, after all. So maybe we should all share the road, until the next time someone runs a red light…