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Thread: More than half of motorists view cyclists as subhuman ‘cockroaches’

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    More than half of motorists view cyclists as subhuman ‘cockroaches’

    Drivers' strong negative opinions of cyclists can result in them committing deliberate acts of aggression against them.



    From so-called ‘Mammils’ (middle-aged men in Lycra) to fixie-riding, red-light-running hipsters, cyclists seem to suffer from more negative stereotypes than any other road users. But now a study by Australian researchers has found that some motorists take things a step further and dislike cyclists so intensely that they view them as not being completely human.

    This dehumanising effect is typically seen in relation to attitudes towards racial or ethnic groups and can cause motorists to drive aggressively by deliberately cutting off or impeding cyclists, the researchers say.

    The study was carried out at Monash University, Queensland and the University of Melbourne’s School of Psychological Sciences and involved almost 450 participants, some who hadn’t ridden a bicycle in the last year and some who had, from Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

    Participants were given either the iconic evolution of ape to man image, or an adaption of that image showing the stages of evolution from cockroach to human. This image was designed for the study due to the fact that many Australian road users insult by cyclists by comparing them to “cockroaches” or “mosquitoes”. They were then asked to rate how human they believed cyclists to be on each scale.

    On both ape-human and cockroach-human scales, 55 per cent of people in the group who hadn’t ridden a bicycle in the last year rated cyclists as not being completely human. Interestingly, 30 per cent of people in the group who had ridden a bicycle in the last year also rated cyclists as not completely human.

    Also, among both groups, 17 per cent said they had used their car to deliberately block a cyclist, 11 per cent said they had intentionally driven their car close to a cyclist and 9 per cent said they had used their car to cut off a cyclist.

    “When you don’t think someone is ‘fully’ human, it’s easier to justify hatred or aggression towards them. This can set up an escalating cycle of resentment,” Dr research lead Alexa Delbosc said. “If cyclists feel dehumanised by other road users, they may be more likely to act out against motorists, feeding into a self-fulfilling prophecy that further fuels dehumanisation against them. Ultimately we want to understand this process so we can do a better job at putting a human face to people who ride bikes, so that hopefully we can help put a stop to the abuse.”

    Sciencefocus.com
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chlodovech View Post
    Participants were given either the iconic evolution of ape to man image, or an adaption of that image showing the stages of evolution from cockroach to human. This image was designed for the study due to the fact that many Australian road users insult by cyclists by comparing them to “cockroaches” or “mosquitoes”. They were then asked to rate how human they believed cyclists to be on each scale.

    On both ape-human and cockroach-human scales, 55 per cent of people in the group who hadn’t ridden a bicycle in the last year rated cyclists as not being completely human. Interestingly, 30 per cent of people in the group who had ridden a bicycle in the last year also rated cyclists as not completely human.
    Aussies do have a unique sense of humor so most were probably just being smartasses when given this test. However, I do think the author has a point a legit point about cyclists being bullied by motorists.

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    We both drive, and when we cycle we still obey traffic laws. No problems here.

    Aside from minor aggravation caused by some inconsiderate cyclists, I can't recall an incident involving a motorist afflicted with serious road rage over a cyclist in my area. But there have been some careless cyclists hit by cars recently.
    Aside from an ever increasing number of mortals who have willfully chosen to worship Satan and his minions, our battle has always been against the powers and principalities operating surreptitiously throughout this twisted world.

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    The problem is when some cyclist is in the middle of the road holding up traffic because
    they won't drive on the sidewalk where they belong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Astragoth View Post
    The problem is when some cyclist is in the middle of the road holding up traffic because
    they won't drive on the sidewalk where they belong.
    I understand what you mean about inconsiderate cyclists obstructing traffic. But around here we have designated bicycle paths to follow on roads in many places. And it isn't legal for a cyclist to ride on a public sidewalk here.

    There are always going to be jerks who think they're privileged characters. But, as I've stated before, Karma can be a bitch.
    Not all in life is at it appears to be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LillyCaterina View Post
    I understand what you mean about inconsiderate cyclists obstructing traffic. But around here we have designated bicycle paths to follow on roads in many places. And it isn't legal for a cyclist to ride on a public sidewalk here.

    There are always going to be jerks who think they're privileged characters. But, as I've stated before, Karma can be a bitch.
    Around here for some moronic reason they have to drive on the road and there aren't any bike lanes.
    So you end up with some spandex wearing character tooling along a two lane road holding up traffic
    almost as efficiently as a tractor. Its actually a pet peeve of mine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Astragoth View Post
    The problem is when some cyclist is in the middle of the road holding up traffic because
    they won't drive on the sidewalk where they belong.

    Where are they supposed to be on the sidewalk? You're not supposed to be on the sidewalk driving here.

    They should be on the side and drivers should give enough space.


    However, call me paranoid or self-preserving but I have a mirror on my left bar-end and I can see anything coming behind me. I could not bike and blindly trust vehicles coming up behind me.

    By the official road laws of this area, bicyclists have the right to be on the road (and of course obey their proper laws).

    Although there are some idiot bicyclists (mostly in cities I would think), there are also many careless drivers who pass and do not give enough room.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Astragoth View Post
    Around here for some moronic reason they have to drive on the road and there aren't any bike lanes.
    So you end up with some spandex wearing character tooling along a two lane road holding up traffic
    almost as efficiently as a tractor. Its actually a pet peeve of mine.

    Possibly so they don't run offer pedestrians on sidewalks ;-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenrune View Post
    Possibly so they don't run offer pedestrians on sidewalks ;-)
    They can dodge pedestrians with little difficulty. Cars cant do the same with bikes.

    Where are they supposed to be on the sidewalk? You're not supposed to be on the sidewalk driving here.
    They could just trade and let cars drive on the sidewalks.

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