I’ve pretty much come to the understanding that 99% of negative interactions with strangers while traveling in public (so, while walking, driving, or riding my bike, or observing others doing the same) are because someone involved is
a) distracted, tired, or otherwise not mentally present (55%)
b) ignorant of or oblivious to the experiences of all human beings other than him/her (44%)
Only during about 1% of these situations is someone is being dangerously aggressive or demonstrating Hulk-like anger via some kind of overt display of purposeless douchebaggery.
When I’m walking or riding, I tend to get angrier when I’m on the receiving end of ugliness because I’m at a greater risk for death or dismemberment when someone else does something stupid or rude. However, when I actually make the effort to think about it, there are more instances of someone giving me space to merge, or waving me through on my left hand turn when the light turns green for both directions, or doing something else that would suggest that behind the windshield there is a person who lives and breathes and tries to be kind when he can.
I don’t feel like I’m at war when I ride my bicycle in and around Boston*. I’m pretty sure that wars involve weapons; terror; inexorable loss; unending heartache; serialized tragedy.
If Wicked Local wants to document a war, they will need to start one first. I am not taking that bait.
How about they help assuage the friction that’s created by so many people using the same roads to go to the same places? They could patiently explain that cars are filled with people. Bikes are ridden by people. Those things in the cross-walk moving so slowly? Those are people. They had a lousy day at work, too. They are also overworked and underpaid. They are worried about serious stuff. That’s why they are mean, or poorly behaved, or whatever awful thing they appear to be.
Then, we go solve some real problems and stop some actual wars.
*I’m not saying that there aren’t problems and dangerous situations don’t occur. Riding my bike isn’t always a super-fun blast, but defensive techniques, confident riding, avoiding distractions, and wisely adjusting routes to weather, traffic, or physical road conditions help me to avoid most of the b.s. I have no desire to deal with…