I ride my bike around Fort Collins, CO a lot. Collins is nice, it's a college town, so by default it's peppered with cyclists. Lately, it seems like cycling is on the rise, and it's becoming cool to have a single speed fixie and dress like a bike messenger.
My problem with Fort Collins drivers is not the usual one of rudeness, it's one of politeness.. When I show up to a busy 4 way stop that's moving smoothly with everyone taking their turn.. and a motorist (who was there first) tries to wave me through, I get seriously angry. This waving exchange takes a good 5 seconds or so, whereas if they would have just treated me like a car and acted normally, traffic would have kept flowing.
Yeah, it sounds like a silly thing to be angry about, but think about it this way. Dumb motorist sits there waving at me.. I do what they say but the one across from them (who thinks it's their turn) doesn't see any of this. That results in me riding to the center of the intersection and getting hit.
The rules of the road are extremely well thought out. There are very few instances where you need to trust a motorist to not do stupid things, you only have to trust that they too understand the rules. If you throw those rules out for cyclists, we are suddenly put at risk because we have to trust that the rules this one polite idiot just made up won't kill us.
This morning I was crossing a busy 4 lane road, The first two were clear, and the second two had one lone truck, followed (at a bit of a distance) by a huge pack of cars.
I crossed the first two lanes, then sat in the center median waiting for the lone truck to pass, intending to cross behind him before the huge pack of cars. The truck stopped in the middle of the road.. and waved me across.. as he did this, he entirely closed the gap behind him I was intending to take. So, he blew the timing and the pack of cars behind him were now (luckily) slowing down for me... I went from having to trust no one and just moving through, to having to trust the waving guy, and whoever shows up in the lane next to him..
So, there it is. Treat us like cars... That means don't hit us, don't try to change the rules for us, if we're in your lane, don't pass us with only a whisker's worth of distance between me and you. Do that and we'll all get along fine. (and more importantly, I'll stay alive)