Okay, I will go ahead and say it. Road rage is a phenomenon that I completely understand. The only time that driving is not horribly boring is when it is frustrating as hell, and it can lead the most stalwart people to feel unparalleled anger, not to mention the urge to shout. Some drivers don’t even stop there, and get out of their cars to attempt violence. I’m not saying I condone this behavior, but I have certainly been pissed off while behind the wheel, so I can see where it comes from.
I have my opinions as to why driving is so horrible. Firstly, it requires almost no effort. There’s a big friendly wheel to turn and two pedals to press and that’s pretty much it. You don’t even get to turn the wheel that much, and the gas pedal sometimes presses itself thanks to cruise control. I get a little more to do in my car because I drive a manual transmission, but I’m pretty sure I have the last manual transmission car in the world.
The shifter knob, incidentally, seems to be regarded with disdain and disgust by some passengers, as would no doubt be an awkward visible boner in a math class.
On a bike, though, you get to pedal the whole time, and you have to watch out for pot holes, not to mention pointy debris in the road which can cause your tires to pop and fart out all their air. It’s exciting, which is probably why I am less familiar with bike rage. Sure, I’ve had yelling matches with drivers while on my bike before, but those were much more frequent when I was new to urban riding and, frankly, riding like an asshole. Confrontations have mostly stopped thanks to my change in riding style. Now I ride as part of traffic instead of against it. I follow the same laws cars do, and as a result I’m safer, more visible, and subject to a lot less negativity. I haven’t yelled at a driver or been yelled at myself in quite some time, except for a few times when I had to yell to alert a texting driver that the light had changed.
Others are not so fortunate, as evidenced by the scuffle between Colin O’Brien and Dustin Dunlavy in Madison, WI. As you may recall if you’ve heard about it, Dustin, on his time trial bike in the dark with no light, followed Colin home and wrestled him to the ground after Colin yelled out his car window to Dustin, telling him to get a light. Dustin and a female associate were riding and hard to see, and Colin, a bike shop owner, took it upon himself to chastise them for being lightless.
Now that I think of it, I’m not really sure why we need these classifications of rage: Road rage, Bike rage, etc. Those names sort of make these rages sound like contractible diseases, and no one’s fault. Hey, I couldn’t help it, I contracted bike rage! Sorry I cracked you on the melon with my U-lock 23 times!
Rage, if you ask me, is rage, and I think there would be a lot less of it if more people rode bikes properly and saved the car for long distance travel. I’m not an expert, though.
I’m just a guy who likes riding bikes and wants to lead a happy life.