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Drivers don't respect cyclists

Is the conflict between drivers and cyclists ever going to end? Sometimes, it feels like the two are always at odds. It comes down to motorists and cyclists finding it impossible to share the same space. Part of the reason is that many drivers simply do not respect cyclists.

Why does respect matter? It changes the way people act. Many drivers don't really think about cyclists as other people. Instead, they think of them as a nuisance. They think of a college student riding his bike through the city as someone who needs to grow up and buy a car or get off of the road. This type of thinking -- putting people into faceless groups -- often breeds resentment and makes people feel more justified in their aggressive actions toward that group.

Examples of a lack of respect

If you're a young cyclist, you have likely seen plenty of first-hand examples of this lack of respect. It happens a lot. But, just to make sure it's very clear, let's take a look at some examples. Motorists often say:

  1. "People designed the roads for cars to use, not for bikes." This is simply not true, with the exception of the interstate highway system -- where bikes are not allowed anyway. Many older roads got built long before people owned cars. Even modern roads have designs built for both cars and bikes.
  2. "Cyclists always break the law anyway." Sure, some do, but lumping them all into a group like this is disrespectful. Just as all drivers don't break the law, there are plenty of law-abiding cyclists, and treating them all like criminals is massively unfair.
  3. "Riding bikes is just a fad or a trend." Whether it's a fad or not, that does not dictate how much respect cyclists deserve or whether they have a right to the road. It's their chosen means of transportation for as long as they want.
  4. "Cyclists don't pay for the roads, drivers do." True, cyclists do not pay as much in gasoline tax since they don't burn as much gasoline, but odds are they're not exclusively cyclists, anyway. Many of them also own cars. They also pay taxes. Again, they, too, have a right to the roads, even if they decide to take their bikes out on any particular day.

All of these common phrases reflect the attitude that drivers have toward cyclists, and it's that attitude that is a problem. Unless it gets fixed, it is unlikely that the two groups are going to see eye-to-eye.

Your rights after an accident

If you get hit while riding your bike in Illinois, it's critical for you to know all of your rights to compensation, helping to cover your costs.

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