Everybody’s already talking about Jim Saska’s article in Slate about “Why You Hate Cyclists,” but in case you missed it…
Lots of drivers assume all people on bikes are [jerks] like me. In doing so, these motorists make an inductive fallacy, not unlike saying, “Of course he beat me at basketball — he’s Asian like Jeremy Lin and Yao Ming.” Now, you might be thinking to yourself that you’ve seen more than one or two suicidal cyclists in your day—that these roaches on two wheels are an infestation that’s practically begging to be squished underfoot (and by “foot” you mean “my Yukon Denali”).
If you are a city driver, you have undoubtedly been scared half to death by some maniac cutting across traffic like Frogger on a fixie. Such emotionally charged events stand out in our associative memory far more than mundane events, like a cyclist riding peacefully alongside your vehicle. The affect heuristic is compounded by the idea of negativity dominance—bad events stand out more than good ones. This causes you to overestimate both the amount and the severity of upsetting events, like almost getting some dirty hipster’s blood on your windshield.
If you doubt, read the numerous anti-cyclist comments in today’s issue of KQED Forum on the topic of “Critical Mass” in which they invited “transportation blogger” Rob Anderson in for a “debate” with Chris Carlsson.
More at Slate: Why You Hate Cyclists: Partly because of jerks like me. But it’s mostly your own illogical mind. (Includes some, well, PG-13 language).
I did this on Saturday. Did I leave any negative impressions about cyclists? If I got hit by a lane changer or a door, could I have been cited for riding at an “unsafe speed”?