Why Cyclists Annoy You

Even though most aren't assholes like Jim Saksa
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2012 12:38 PM CDT

(Newser) – Jim Saska freely admits he is an "asshole cyclist." "I'm that jerk weaving in and out of traffic, going the wrong way down a one-way street, and making a left on red. I'm truly a menace on the road," he writes on Slate. But most cyclists aren't, so he feels bad when people decry cyclists as a species. Recent studies show that cyclist misbehavior is way down, as are cycling accidents—even though more people are biking. So why do so many drivers hate all cyclists?

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Saska believes drivers are being misled by what behavioral economists call the "affect heuristic," the tendency of the brain to replace logic with emotion and jump to preconceived conclusions. "Once some clown on two wheels almost kills himself with your car, you furiously decide that bicyclists are assholes, and that conclusion will be hard to shake." Those events stand out in your memory—whereas the dozens and dozens of encounters with law-abiding sane cyclists don't. Click for Saska's full piece. (Read more cyclists stories.)

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