Cyclist inferiority complex
The following is something I posted to the bike-qld mailing list recently during a discussion on whether or not cyclists "should" pay registration fees. I'll address that particular issue directly later on. Basically, there are a number of discussions within groups of people purporting to support cycling, which always seem to end up blaming the cyclist for motorist aggression. I dealt with one of them specifically earlier, but right now I'm wondering why it's my responsibility to somehow "deal" with these every time they come up.
I would go further and say that I haven't actually heard "registration" out of the mouth of any motorist (apart from the tabloid 'journalists' and people trollingInternet-based cycling fora) since 1999. Most of whatI hear out of the mouths of motorists is usually "fag"or "poofter", which indicates that they must have something else on their mind. For the last time guys, your interest is flattering, but I just don't swing that way.
Is it just me, or is this whole idea of registration part of a greater problem of a cyclist inferiority complex. I wrote about something similar on the list three years ago (I can't find the piece right now), and a number of topics that come up from time to time seem to be an extension of this.
On the one hand we have the current discussion about registration, presumably to give us "legitimacy" in the eyes of motorists (after all, the law already recognises cyclists as legitimate road users). In the past we've had threads whining about cyclists breaking laws (as if they're the only culprits) and even people suggesting that we "shouldn't" ride on certain roads because it might hurt the feelings of some motorist somewhere (frankly, if seeing a bicycle on a road upsets them so much, I'd suggest they have enough problems of their own to deal with).
Basically there are any number of reasons that have been advanced as "the reason motorists hate cyclists "and consequently as things that "we" need to change, or that somehow motorist aggression against cyclists is the fault of the cyclist. Can someone please explain to me just why *I* should have to accept responsibility for keeping motorists happy? Or why *I* should have to somehow "justify" the fact that I ride a bicycle on public roads? Has anyone considered the possibility that maybe theproblem isn't so much with cyclists, but with motorists? From my experience, it seems to be a basic fact of human nature that people decide they don'tlike something, then find "reasons" to justify it. All of the discussions I mentioned above come up time and again, are shot down in flames everytime, and moronic motorists still find "reasons" to direct aggression toward cyclists.
As far as I'm concerned, I have no requirement to do justify of the above things. As an individual law-abiding member of society, I have no responsibility of making motorists feel better about whatever's happening in their lives. I have no requirement to inconvenience myself by removing myself from certain roads, and I certainly have no requirement to start paying an additional fee just to shut up some whining tabloid 'journalist' who lacks the research skills to gain any understanding of the issue. As a tax-paying member of society I have just as much right to use public infrastructure as any other tax-paying member of society.
When I get on my bike and ride somewhere, be it to work, to the shops or to commence a 250km ride in theByron Hinterland, the only thought I put into it is whatever planning is necessary to complete the trip. Whether some motorist somewhere, or some tabloid journalist whines about it doesn't concern me.
Isn't it time we moved beyond having to "justify" our legal place on the road?