By Nicholas Kevlahan
Published December 17, 2012
An insightful article by a Guardian columnist who was ordered to attend a "speed awareness" course gets right to the heart of why most motorists see nothing wrong with speeding, but hate cyclists for "breaking the rules".
It eloquently explains much of what I have observed about the inconsistent attitude of motorists towards law-breaking by motorists and cyclists.
Some choice quotes:
Driving a car is almost certainly the most dangerous thing that any of us do in our lives. Certainly, it's the most dangerous to other people. Even the ghastly Mexican drug wars (60,000 killed since 2006) are not more lethal than the traffic there, which kills about 17,000 people every year.
On the absence of a moral dimension to the lectures:
[T]he emphasis was entirely on self-interest and the unpleasant social and financial consequences of being caught again.
Related to this was the extraordinary lack of remorse or even interest shown by some of the participants.
On moral outrage:
The only time there was an outbreak of moral outrage was when one of our number confessed that he sometimes rode a bicycle. Cyclists, we rapidly learned, were vile, dangerous outlaws who shot red lights, paid no tax, rode on the pavement and behaved with utter disregard for the safety of anyone else on the road.
[The drivers] don't see anything wrong in cheating, nor in other drivers cheating. Only in their hatred of cyclists is a vestigial mark of any moral sentiment.
I think this helps to explain so much of the antagonism towards rule breaking by cyclists - and acceptance of rule breaking by motorists - that we've seen whenever cycling comes up on RTH.
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