As one writer put it recently people on foot do not identify themselves by their “transportation mode“. As a group pedestrians do not view themselves as “pedestrians“. So theirs is not a collective myth about themselves versus some other transportation modes. But when a pedestrians does bother to consider his fears he is often more afraid of cyclists than motorists.
Places around the world where disagreements between cyclists and motorists have come to a boil are often the places where pedestrians suddenly awaken to their group identity and express outrage against not only motorists but cyclists as well. It would seem that “road rage” is a contagion.
High density population areas seem to bring out the worst in people. Cities are stressful. So stressful in fact that cyclists are blinded to the fact that they are not the most vulnerable members of the transportation landscape, pedestrians are. But just when cyclists might need an ally to help explain their fears of automobiles they discover that pedestrians fear them more than they do motorists.
It is a very interesting and somewhat crazy world that city dwellers live in. The piece above was penned in 2007.
What Would A Pedestrian “Close Calls” Database Reveal?
One of the reasons that cyclists are seemingly unaware of the threat they pose to others is due to their anonymity. Unlike automobiles, you cannot report a specific cyclists who is behaving badly or being aggressive because there are no license plate numbers to jot down or photographs of the rear of the fleeing cyclist that can tell you much. Aggressive cyclists operate in the same manner as street thugs.
A street thug guards his identity by wearing hoodies to cover his profile. He might also wear a hat with a full brim to help hide his face as he drops his head to stare at the pavement. Cyclists behave in the very same fashion, because they can. If you were to wake tomorrow and discover that every single bicyclists in the city had a license number stamped in visible letters on his helmet, jacket, and rear fender things would be different.
But cyclists know this fact and rely upon their anonymity to keep them untraceable during periods of aggressive behavior or activity. Motorists and pedestrians are right to want to know who their attackers are. Were it not for the fact that the cyclists who struck and killed a pedestrians in San Francisco fell off his bike and was himself shaken up, we might never have known who to contract about the eventual death of that pedestrian.
Cyclists who are stopped by the police often refuse to give their personal information because they do not wish to take responsibility for their actions. This is both cowardly and unfair. So rather than “man up” they spend their time collective “dirt” on others. One can only pray that politicians understand the need to protect all of their citizens. Pedestrians should not have to worry about being hit or buzzed by a cyclist whose identity can remain secret.