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Are female cyclists harassed by cars as often as males?(14 posts)

Are female cyclists harassed by cars as often as males?filtersweep
Aug 13, 2002 6:42 PM
I was reading the thread "rules of the road" and thinking angrily of last weekend when I was buzzed by an SUV (driven as close as possible without hitting me) when there was no traffic in sight in the opposing lane. A female cyclist a few hundred feet in front of me was given a wide clearance by the same vehicle. Early on a Sunday. On a little-traveled road.

Does this happen to women cyclists as well, or is this more than a cars vs. bikes issue? Is it the "fear of the lycra-clad male syndrome?" Does a skinny male in Lycra stir up some repressed urges (or rage) that requires the driver (usually male) to act out aggressively? Does a Lycra-clad female stir up some protective behavior by the same driver? Or am I reading way more into this than necessary?

It seems I've never been buzzed by a female driver unless she was completely distracted by a cell phone sticking out of her ear, or something similar. No offense, but close calls with women drivers just don't seem to have that aggressive ambience to them. Any thoughts on this?

A group of males in a vehicle will shout obscenities... a group of females in a vehicle will shout out compliments. I'm not saying it happens often, but often enough. What is going on here?

....once again, stuck very late at work... pondering the important things in life...
Sexual aggression and repressed homosexual tendenciesChainstay
Aug 13, 2002 7:14 PM
With women, they slow down to look at their bodies. Their impatience is temporarily placated by their greater tendancy to oggle. With male cyclists, the aggressive male drivers are primarily very impatient and maybe some of them are shocked because with all those sweaty rippling muscles, the spandex, shaved legs and stiff frame tubes we actually look pretty good. In their struggle to repress their sexual interest they become confused and angry. The need to be in control sexually and the car becomes the weapon of Power. LOOK OUT.
strange analysisBreakfast
Aug 13, 2002 7:37 PM
I liken this supposed tendency some male motorists have of being kind to a female form on a bicycle while being rude to a male rider in this instance to the fact that many were brought up to believe the female is the weaker sex.

Instead of showing equal respect to all riders, these morons choose to vent on what they perceive as a man who is smaller and weaker than them, i.e. the male rider on a slow machine who cannot possibly catch them and deal them some justice.

To take this a bit further, I seriously doubt women runners jogging with a hi-tech baby stroller on the sides of roadways get harassed like the bicyclist does due to the idea of these male motorists having been brought up to never hurt babies and mothers.
strange analysisChainstay
Aug 13, 2002 8:08 PM
So your basic bully then?
Exactly! (nm)Breakfast
Aug 13, 2002 8:15 PM
"supposed tendency"filtersweep
Aug 13, 2002 8:14 PM
But what and why are they venting? At a cyclist that is definitely NOT impeding traffic, the motorist ACTIVELY is sending an aggressive message to a cyclist. For what reason does the cyclist "deserve" this treatment? What is the motive here?

In my original situation, I can envision some guy thinking, "Oh, there is a guy on a bike. I'm going to just keep going straight, and if he just keeps going straight ahead, he'll have nothing to worry about.... let's see how close I can get...." then up ahead he thinks, "oh, cool, a chick... I think I'll slow down and get a good look at this."

"supposed tendency"- I take it you don't quite see it like I do? I don't know that there is a tendency here, hence my question. I'm not attempting to necessarily generalize all behavior based on one incident I witnessed.

There have been a few local "letters to the editor" complaining about roadies in general, and they seem to go out of the way to point out that they "all" wear "Lycra." I do know of some very inactive types (coworkers) who simply do not understand the practical nature of typical bike clothing, and somehow insinuate that there is something almost "deviant" about it... the "men in tights" angle, which taken to the next level becomes "real men don't wear tights." I won't even touch the general perception that the shaven male leg could conjure up to a redneck or otherwise.

Hey, I'm just spit-balling ideas here... but I still think it is more than just the notion that "bikes don't belong on roads." I drive a lot for work- in a car- in the city- and I can't remember the last time a cyclist slowed me down... anywhere- there aren't THAT MANY of us on the road.

"To take this a bit further, I seriously doubt women runners jogging with a hi-tech baby stroller on the sides of roadways get harassed like the bicyclist does due to the idea of these male motorists having been brought up to never hurt babies and mothers."

I hate to make assumptions, but are you implying that there is a simple "bully mentality"- and women and children are off-limits for bullies? I'll buy your argument, but what makes these drivers feel compelled to "pick on" an undermatched cyclist? Again, what and why are they venting?
"supposed tendency"Chainstay
Aug 13, 2002 8:28 PM
That's why I think there is more to it than bullying. The repressed homosexuality is at least plausible, and it's also insulting. There is probably a psychology discussion group that this thread should be posted to for a more informed analysis.
re: Are female cyclists harassed by cars as often as males?flying
Aug 13, 2002 9:25 PM
Then again it could just be that he didn't see you till he was on you. Then did see the girl?
Or like everyone else said she was just better looking than you ;-)
males, females, distractions, etc...Steve_0
Aug 14, 2002 4:12 AM
its hard to say on the bike, because when i'm brushed, the traffic is moving in the same direction as myself, at a much faster pace...hard to say male,female, cell, etc.

However, after logging gazillions of miles running against traffic on tight farm-roads, i've concluded the majority of drivers who fail to give any room are female.... and a large percentage of those do, indeed, have cellphones growing our of their ears (and ironically, children in the back seat).

A much smaller percentage of men fail to give room.

Those responsible for the LARGEST berths? Cars with bike-racks, and motorcycles. Two high-risk hobbies. Go figure.
Trucks usually give a lot of room also.
A few observations on your topic.dzrider
Aug 14, 2002 5:01 AM
I do believe that when I ride with my wife we have fewer incidents with cars than I do riding solo. I've thought that this had to do with 2 riders being more visible, but it may be that we are presumed straight or seing Rachel first they don't buzz or yell at a woman.

I believe that there are lots of different reasons that people act like assholes and few of those have anything to do with the targets of their aggression.

I sometimes commute with sweat pants and a jacket over my lycra clothes and still have occasional problems.

Young men also yell derisively when I run on the roads.

From the cackling that often accompanies "compliments" from women in cars, I suspect many are less than heart felt.

People who want to be jerks are most comfortable acting on it when they are certain they can get away with it.
Aug 14, 2002 5:56 AM
Reading these post I get a sense that everybody feels something different, some agree a little others not at all.
One person even suggested a phsycology discussion.

The one thins that sticks out to that point is simply that when speaking of the "bully' issue not harming women or children it is very simple. When you were growing up there were many things that you were told not to do, these things will stick with you for life. I am sure that every one of us were told "never to hit a woman" or harm a child. So subconciously when an angry person (for whatever reason) sees a women or child it becomes harder for them to act on the emotion of anger because that "tape" is playing in their head that says it is wrong. Some of the other things that were said are true as well. For instance people do what they think they can get away with, on a bike you are weaker than them in their car. They may have an underlying feeling of guilt for not exercising themselves so it is taken out in agression.

There is no one answer, everbody is different and each does things for their own reasons.

Just be alert when riding and keep safe.
I agree. A man will get his ass whooped if he hurts a rider
Aug 14, 2002 5:59 AM
This may be a side issue, but if a man hits a wife or woman. Don't other men want to kick his ass. So what would your friends think if you knock a girl off her bike.

What are you some kind of bully who hits girls would be the comment. It's a male oriented way of thinking what acceptable or not. It's ok to hit the male, but not the female. Or you can say it's a redneck thing.

Most of the self healing books my x girl friend had me read gave the crap that men think they are to protect woman, so hitting one or hurt one in any form is frowned upon in eyes of our society.

I never had any problems when I rode with girls either. Most of the time it applies if you ride with others as well.

btw racial hatred is sex related toocyclopathic
Aug 14, 2002 6:14 AM
men (or women) more likely to discriminate their own sex then opposite. Social Darwinism in action
Power play?Marcocyclo
Aug 14, 2002 8:32 AM
Seems young or immature males and females(who buzz me often enough)are mostly into power assertion and displaying road rights when behind a wheel. It's all about ME and I have this new power and you are in MY way fricking way!! I have teenagers believe me I know. Unfortunately, I know or rather knew 3 young boys who used this new power unwisely recently and were killed....too sad.