I have a stunning secret to reveal about cars and bicycles: They’re controlled by people.
Weird, huh? It sounds Soylent Green, but it’s true. If you look closely and aren’t blinded by anger, you might even see a “cyclist” or “driver” yourself.
This little-known nugget must be revealed because I’ve bought a bicycle. I haven’t ridden it yet because the shop is adding all the doodads needed in the modern urban cycling environment – pre-made legal forms, James Bond-style nail strip, basket with a flower on the front – but soon I’ll be a cyclist.
In other words, I’m about to get a new perspective on the long-running feud that is Cars vs. Bikes. Note the dehumanifying.
What’s always amazed me about this conflict is that the vast majority of people have both biked and driven cars. Everybody is on both sides. Yet to hear the ‘discussion,’ you’d assume it was two different species that only ever contact each other on North America’s roadways.
Why? My theory is that each group has an Idiot Quotient that ends up dominating the discussion. We literally remember the hits and forget the misses.
The worst cyclists, for instance, seem to compensate for their small carbon footprint by taking up as much roadway as possible. They also have a sort of persecution complex, where they see every open car door as an attempt to injure. And while I have some tolerance for bikes on sidewalks, it’s unacceptable to barrel down a sidewalk like Fred Flintstone stuck in his runaway Stoneway piano yelling, “Make way!”
The worst drivers, meanwhile, start complaining about The War on the Car if anything slows them down, including inertia. Never mind that they can get home faster than any human in history. If a Star Trek transporter beam existed and a three-minute delay could save the Alpha Quadrant, people would rant about The War on the Beam and how it’s their right to use the fastest, space-time continuum-tearingest transporter available.
So, I get it: Some of the anger on both sides is justified. But as someone with both a driver’s license and a bicycle, I say it’s time for a new era.
After all, are we not human? If you scratch our vehicles, do we not curse and try to remove it with our thumb? If you wrong us, shall we not give you the finger and say, “Can you believe that guy?”
We must put aside our differences, stop stereotyping each other and remember our shared, common goal: Hatred of pedestrians. Those people are idiots, am I right?