Why Cyclists Enrage Car Drivers
You may have read a recent BBC story “The Psychology why cyclist enrage car drivers” in which Tom Staffords expands on his theory that cyclists trigger a deep-seated rage within us (I assume he means drivers) by breaking the moral order of the road. I have another theory, although I doubt that it will get published by the BBC.
Cars & Freedom
Here is my theory. For over a century the car industry had been selling us the dream that owning an automobile will be your ticket to freedom, the open road, the good life. Beautiful girls will become available as soon as we buy the latest, most powerful, most expensive models. Endless commercials show the joy of driving on empty roads, of beautiful scenery and picture-perfect happy families. Under this bombardment of advertisements from the day we are born, most of us will buy into any illusions that will promise us Nirvana. Therefore we go and spent a lot of money that, more often than not, puts us into debt.
Then reality hits. Instead of open roads and freedom you get trapped. You spent hours of your life in traffic. When you get on a highway you are just happy that the traffic is moving while continuously being on the lookout for the crazy guy who is trying to get home 30 seconds faster and who is probably high on something. Once in a while at around 4AM when you are alone on the highway, you step on the gas pedal just to feel the speed & power your car is capable of – only to lose demerit points and pay a couple of hundred dollars in fines. Let’s face it. On the whole a car is a pain in the butt. You need to keep it clean, you need to fill it with expensive gasoline, you need to buy insurance, you need to find parking, you need to pay for tickets. It continuously needs repairs and maintenance. Should I go on? No joy, no freedom, no money, just sitting in the traffic with precious time wasting away.
The better way
And then you see the cyclists. They are actually free, or at least freer than you. They can cut around obstacles, they are energized, they are feeling good, they can feel the wind in their faces, they are healthy, athletic, oozing with energy and wearing clothes that look great on them. They are having the time of their lives. And they are never late because of traffic.
So how do drivers react to this sight? Rage. Rage at those who are free, at those who have dared to free themselves from the car’s illusions, rage at those who are not in debt, rage at these fearless individuals on their bikes.
Are cyclists breaking the moral order or breaking the morale of the drivers?