I am a cyclist.
I hear that you do not like me.
I have been told that I make the roads more dangerous.
I have been told that I break the law all the time.
I have been told that I am arrogant and rude.
I have been told that I should be licensed.
I have been told that I should be insured.
I have been told that I should be tagged.
I have been told that I should be run over.
I have been told that I am not a heterosexual man because I bike.
I have been told that I should not wear functional lycra on the bike.
I have been told that I don’t deserve to breathe the same air as others.
I have been told that I should kill myself, because I ride a bike.
I have been threatened by people with cars.
I have been hit by people with cars.
I have been hit by things thrown from people in cars.
I have been threatened with a gun, by a person in cars.
Despite all of this. I still ride my bike. On the roads. Abiding by the applicable laws. Laws that I have put time and effort into learning and understanding, because few law enforcement officers have, and even fewer drivers have. I also drive a car. And a motorcycle. Sometimes even a truck with a trailer. I have been ‘trapped behind slow cyclists’ on the roads too.
I am going to say something blunt:
Too many drivers drive like assholes without concern or care for any other road user. High speeds, aggressively passing, high levels of distraction, tailgating, rolling stop signs, illegally passing at intersections, blocking the visibility to others.
All of the vitriol and anger toward cyclists? It is a lie.
Take bikes out of the equation, and automotive deaths still exceed 35k per year.
Cyclists, and bikes on the roads are not the problem. Cars and drivers are.
So really, why should I as a cyclist, give a rats ass about what you think?
I shouldn’t. But I do. Because you are operating a 4000lb cruise missile on a road that my taxes helped pay for, and all you can think of when you see me is how much you hate me, simply because I am riding a bike.
So the next time you come up behind me, and you feel the need to express your displeasure, keep in mind this: I probably know more about the laws pertaining to bikes than you do, I am more vulnerable than you are, and thus more aware of what I need to do for my safety, and that in your rush to judge me and my behavior, whatever you are about to do or say likely demonstrates that you are the asshole in the equation.
So, when I wave back with my happy wave, understand that what I am really thinking is that I don’t care about what you think, and a middle finger salute is far more appropriate, but that would not be courteous or polite, so a thumbs up and a smile is your response, because I don’t hate you, I just think that you are behaving like an asshole. Again.