As an average cyclist I often find it confusing when drivers get their hate on for sustainable transit. Anyone who knows anything about the environment or living in an urban centre would acknowledge that bicycle infrastructure is important and creates a more vibrant city than car-dominated streets.
Yet, car drivers still demand more space and want to take away space from cyclists, what’s up with that? According to a columnist at Slate it has to do with the fact that car drivers can’t conceptualize riding a bicycle as a form of everyday transportation.
Moreover, bicycling as a primary means of transportationâ€”Iâ€™m not talking about occasional weekend riders hereâ€”is a foreign concept to many drivers, making them more sensitive to perceived differences between themselves and cyclists. People do this all the time, making false connections between distinguishing characteristics like geography, race, and religion and peopleâ€™s qualities as human beings. Sometimes it is benign (“Mormons are really polite”), sometimes less so (“Republicans hate poor people”). But in this case, itâ€™s a one-way street: Though most Americans donâ€™t ride bikes, bikers are less likely to stereotype drivers because most of us also drive. The â€œothernessâ€ of cyclists makes them stand out, and that helps drivers cement their negative conclusions. This is also why sentiments like â€œtaxi drivers are awfulâ€ and â€œJersey drivers are terribleâ€ are common, but you donâ€™t often hear someone say â€œall drivers suck.â€ People donâ€™t like lumping themselves into whatever group they are making negative conclusions about, so we subconsciously seek out a distinguishing characteristic first.
Now that we know what one of the problems is in North America it would be great to see more public awareness programs like car drivers for Jarvis.