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September 08, 2007


KEN: I certainly understand the impulse to intimidate-back, so to speak. So far, I haven't given in to it.

ALEX: Your profile of the kinds of drivers who do the intimidatin' is very much on the mark, IMO. And that's why, when I stroll past a line of traffic-stalled or barely moving cars, I try not to look too self-satisfied. I don't want those feelings of rage directed at me.

Situations like this are why policymakers yammering on about driving Priuses and using Ethanol are so maddening. No one wants to talk about private transportation as a land-use question. In the places most people want to live, we simply can't build more highways; and land is too valuble a commodity to devote exclusively to the storage of private vehicles, how ever they're powered, no matter how many miles per gallon they deliver.

It probably is increasing, but so is driver intimidation of other drivers (aka road rage and related syndromes). I think one of the things fueling the levels of aggression in drivers is that the myth that car = freedom is dissolving before their eyes. Trapped inside their two-ton boxes in increasing congestion and traffic, they are, not surprisingly, responding like any other trapped animals would. It's possible that some feelings of envy fuel a particular aggression towards cyclists, who, with their red-light running ways, still have some of that freedom that drivers used to have.

I once knew a punk bicyclist who carried a 45 cal. automatic, and he used it to intimidate motorists.

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