Drivers: You sit behind the wheel of the most advanced personal transport device in the history of the world. All you need to do is apply slight pressure to a pedal with your foot and you are instantly propelled forward at an incredible rate of speed. Some slight side-to-side motions with your hands, or even one hand if you like, steers you almost anywhere your heart desires. At your disposal are turn-by-turn directions to any location on earth. You sit eating snacks in a protected, climate-controlled chamber on top of a seat more comfortable than most kings’ thrones. If something should slow you down temporarily you can almost instantly make that speed up by applying a little extra pressure to that pedal. Simply amazing how far we’ve come.
So how do you show your thanks for such good fortune, such freedom? Do you wake up and kiss the ground every morning and thank your god for all he has blessed you with? Do you drive around with a huge smile on your face looking for ways to make others’ lives a little easier, a little more pleasant? No, you don’t. You spend your energy complaining about other people who have the audacity to want to share your road with you on a bike. On a human powered machine, whose every bit of speed comes from working of muscles, or a small gift of gravity. A machine exposed to the elements, which provides no safety if hit by a driving throne room.
You bitch because cyclists make you slow down slightly waiting for a moment to safely pass, after which time you will simply apply more pressure to a pedal to make up any lost speed. You moan because these cyclists, who must be constantly vigilant of road dangers, force you to use a tiny bit more concentration to ensure you don’t hit them. Concentration that you would rather expend videoing yourself or sending messages to your friends. You anger because some of them don’t follow some of the rules, conveniently forgetting that drivers too are scofflaws. You have been given ever benefit in the transportation game, and you decide to hurl insults at those who by choice or economic necessity take a harder path.
Cyclists use transportation that consumes no fuel, emits no carbon. Cyclists are, on the whole, in much better shape than the general population and are far less of a burden on our health systems. Cyclists, by using less resources and being less of a burden, are in a way subsidizing drivers’ unsustainable use of automobiles. And how do you show your gratitude?