Spring is the Season for Bike Hate to Blossom

Road RageAfter a long winter, when only the hardiest cyclists brave the cold, the warmth of Spring allows the fair-weather cyclist to ride the roads and streets once more.

It’s at this time of the year that motorists issue a collective groan, and begin to pitch hissy-fits in newspaper opinion pages and in the comment sections on newspaper, TV, and radio web sites. “Oh no,” they seem to be thinking, “We have to start sharing the roads again.”

A sampling of comments from web sites around the region:

  • I don’t respect the “rights” of bikies who are out for a pleasure cruise on one of our highways or major country roads. Our paved roads were constructed for autos for the purpose of getting from point a to point b. (Lawrence Journal-World)
  • A serious cyclists wears those tight girly pant short things with shaved legs. Studies show that those tight girly pant shorts restrict blood flow to the brain. quite often this is what leads to an accident. (Lawrence Journal-World)
  • I know this highway well which is hilly, with many curves and no shoulder. It is also heavily used by trucks and farmers. Instead of creating a five foot law, they should ban bikers from this highway. (KCCI in Des Moines)
  • I’m tired of hearing it people. Bikers stay on the trails and then maybe you won’t have to worry about your lives. (KCCI in Des Moines)
  • Bikers have way too many rights. Give bikes to kids not old people. (Des Moines Register)
  • You all act like you own the road; well then pay the fees, get a license plate, and go the speed limit; otherwise get the hell out of my way! (Des Moines Register)
  • I am sick of hearing about all of this utter nonsense! The roadways are for cars…. always have been and always will be. All this is doing is infuriating motorists. (Columbia Tribune)
  • Let’s get the idea out of pedestrians and bicyclists’ heads that they have as much right to the roads and streets as cars and trucks. (Des Moines Register)
  • I don’t think many of these dudes realize just how gay the spandex makes them look. (Des Moines Register)
  • Bicycles should be banned and bicyclists should all be thrown in prison. Perhaps the key should be forgotten. Maybe they should be subject to public flogging when they try to sneak a pleasant Sunday afternoon ride through the park. They are monsters and they deserve to be punished. (Kansan.com)
  • Sidewalks and bicycle lanes are a waste of money. People drive cars or ride in school buses and will not use sidewalks and bicycle lanes. Money would be better used for good roads and parking at each destination. (Tulsa World)
  • I’m sorry but I think riding your bicycle in the road with cars is the most retarded thing ever. (Tulsa World)
  • Stop riding on the public roadways and get together with all your biker pals, form a coalition and purchase, construct and maintain your own PRIVATE bicycle paths. (Boulder Daily Camera)
  • If the spandex twinks with the cute shaved legs want part of the road, then make them buy a license plate for their stupid bicycle and make them pay a couple of hundred bucks a year like those of us who drive cars. (Boulder Daily Camera)
  • I can’t stand these Lance Armstrong wannabe’s occupying an entire lane and they act like they own the dang road, but they tie up traffic and are a danger to others. (Tulsa)

Mark Wyatt of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition finds the trend alarming, writing in the Des Moines Register: “The Iowa Bicycle Coalition is disturbed by the comments of hatred and violence in the public forums following the recent bicycle and vehicle road incidents. All Iowans should be appalled by the increasingly hostile rhetoric, from banning bikes because they don’t meet a fictional minimum speed limit to actual threats of harm.” (Let’s focus on safety for bikes, cars)

In a similar vein, Andrew Hartsock, in his Lawrence Journal-World column, recently posted on the topic of comments and commenters as well: “I have to admit, at first I used to get upset reading these items and the comments they spawn. I used to be surprised at the vitriol. Now I try to avoid ’em like a sneezing pig. Why? They’re all the same. The tired, old circle repeats itself every time there’s a trigger — usually a cyclist getting hurt. And I read enough and spend enough time at the appropriate online sites to know it’s not a local thing. It’s the same thing everywhere. It’s the same old arguments, the same old hatred.” (We can’t all just get along)

I haven’t been in this game as long as Andrew has, and I find the newspaper comments tiresome and repetitive as well. Yet I’m still surprised by the vitriol, by the anger, by the hostility.

I still don’t understand the hatred. Do you?

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About The Author

By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web’s premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

2 responses to “Spring is the Season for Bike Hate to Blossom”

  1. Early Man says:

    Gary Fisher was quoted in the SF Chronicle yesterday saying “It’s impressive to people when you arrive on a bicycle looking elegant…Obviously a bike rider is a superior species.” That is the key–humans drive, this other species ride bikes. When the reptilian brain kicks in, all these humans can think about is squashing this superior species that is momentarily vulnerable. Cars are now one of the few things that make our increasingly obese citizenry feel powerful.

  2. Sparky says:

    I to am appalled by the vitriol, but I hate those people as much as they hate me. I’m a gun -nut, too. Lucky for them I’m not willing to tote the extra weight.