This is a topic that I have been thinking alot about. The acrimony between cars and cyclists seems to be at an all time high. Recent fatalities. Road rage. Everyone wants their piece of the road. Nobody wants to yield.
A few years ago when I was working at Specialized I was sent as their representative to the state capitol to lobby for many of the most important topics to cyclists : Awareness, bicycle friendly infrastructure, safe routes to schools, etc. Representatives from Trek, Giant, WTB, and two California retailers were in attendance, and the meeting was driven by the head lobbyist for California Bicycle Coalition. It was a big deal. We meet with the Governor's deputy chief of staff.
Before we said one word about how bikes promote health and fitness, get people out of their cars, reduce pollution, reduce use of fossil fuels, etc, we were put on defense.
Damn cyclists. Critical Mass taking over the streets and nobody can get home. The lycra clad anarchists who run stop signs, take up the whole road, ride three abreast and we can't get by. They act like they own the whole road.
You know what ? He's right. Share the road means us too.
Now I love my bikes and support cycling as much as anyone but let's remember that automobile and gas taxes pay for road infrastructure.
How can you help ?
Start with this small gesture : When cars are back, and waiting to pass, in addition to yelling car back ! Carefully check the road ahead for oncoming traffic, carefully turn around and make eye contact with the driver, WAVE him politely by, give him a thumbs up that it's safe to go, you know he's there and are helping him get to his destination. Let's start getting out of the way whenever we can. Because cars really have one of two reactions when they see a group of bikes on the road :
1)Wow. These guys are jerks. I can't get by. Friggin jerks. HONK HONK. Get off the road !
2)Wow. These guys are cool. They know I'm here and waved me by. Thanks guys.
Share the Road. That means us too.