Tom Vanderbilt talks about "Modal Bias," which he describes as the phenomenon in which people who use one mode of travel don't understand those using other modes.
Cycle Dog has been writing a series of "Why do they do that?" articles for the online Examiner in which he tries to bridge the gap by explaining to a motoring audience why cyclists do certain things.
My ancestral Choctaw great grandfather taught me never to judge another unless I've walked the length of a communal maize field in his Keene sandals, so I've decided to examine recent motorist vs cyclist incidents from the viewpoint of the motorist to gain insight and understanding.
Incident 1: Campbell, California
Motorist driving West in a white Ford, CA 5ALZ709; Campbell Avenue, 8 AM this morning, California: I need to turn right into my neighborhood on Victor Avenue. If I gun it to 50 mph in this 35 mph zone I just might be able to get in front of that bike up ahead, who is clearly visible in his bright yellow fluorescent jersey! Oh look, he's right next to me at the intersection, but I still need to turn here. My morning donuts are calling. He won't mind if I run him over!
The cyclist (aka me) slamming my brakes and quick turn: "Hey!" as I think not very nice thoughts about the driver (white or Hispanic female, 30ish, bleached hair, obese, too tight white capris and yellow top).
I still think that driver is an idiot and a menace.
Incident 2: Asheville, North Carolina
Motorist Charles Diez driving on Tunnel Road: Look at that family riding their bikes along the side of the road. Don't these idiots know that's dangerous! Unbelievable, that maniac even has his three year old child on the bike with him! I'm going to give him a piece of my mind, pull out my gun and shoot that careless parent!
Cyclist (not me): OMG! I'm glad I'm wearing a helmet! That helmet saved my life!
I'm pretty sure motorist Charles Diez is also an idiot and a menace. Props to Skidmore.
PS: Don't forget the contest.