LETTER: Cyclists deserve more respect

As an old lady who pedals a bicycle 6,400 km a year to and from work, I am mystified by the rabid loathing and hatred displayed in any social media discussion of bike lanes.

READ ALSO: Lessons learned: City reflects on bike lane construction

READ ALSO: Victoria considers hiring more staff, less public engagement to get bike lanes built faster

Actually I’m not. It’s called social dominance. The little chicken gets pecked by the big chicken and ever will it be so. But I am really tired of hate being promoted in the name of supposedly healthy discussion and dialogue.

You couldn’t call me a cyclist – that’s someone in the Tour de France, Olympics or training for it. Some bike shops are even rude to me and other bicycle riders because it’s beneath them to work on a commuter bike.

I recently saw an article about an eight-year-old cyclist injured in traffic. That’s a kid on a bicycle, not a cyclist.

A recent study shows that the word cyclist is used to dehumanize people and thereby justify hate.

One in five drivers apparently feels they need to take it upon themselves to punish cyclists, like the guy who clipped me with his mirror because, as he said when I caught up to him, he didn’t think I belonged on his road. The police later had a chat with him, for whatever good that did. It was pretty frightening. It isn’t illegal to kill someone on a bicycle.

READ ALSO: The scary truth about ‘dooring’

There’s no point in my going into why riding a bicycle is socially responsible and bike lanes make economic sense (six per cent of the commuters and probably 0.1 per cent of the highways funding). Haters will just skip it over, looking for validation of their hater beliefs.

READ MORE: Victoria gets back on the bike for week-long commute competition

The authorities are becoming a lot less patient with coy freedom-of-choice speeches that are really just promoting hate. Promoting hatred toward an identifiable group doesn’t belong in a newspaper.

Cynthia Brossard

Victoria

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