Even cyclists are rude sometimes

Bicycle-Sign-freefotoI was pedalling along quite pleasantly on my Sunday morning ride when I got around to thinking, as occasionally I do. Everything was good with the world, everyone seemed to be behaving, apart from the weather, and even the passing motorists seemed to be almost benign. As my legs propelled me onward and upward, so my thoughts turned towards that eternal, vexing question of why there’s such a big divide between the two tribes that use our roads. Why do motorists and cyclists seem to hate each other? Why can’t they quietly co-exist, sharing the roads in love and peace and harmony? Such thoughts tumbled through my mind as I pottered over the potholes, and slowly, in the distance, an answer began to appear.
As the cogs in my brain engaged a higher gear, it became clear that this fight is not at all a battle between motorists and cyclists. If you think about it, most people who ride a bike also drive a car, although the corollary does not necessarily apply. The two tribes are not those who ride bikes and those who drive cars; rather, the tribes are those who care for others, and those who care only for themselves. Basically, it comes down to a question of manners.
When I am out on the road, whether on a bike or in a car, I like to feel comfortable and happy, and I’d like others to feel the same. Having good manners and showing consideration for others should make everyone happy. If, by being nice to another road user, I lighten their mood or bring a smile to their face, my work for the day is done, and I feel glad. Of course, that is no more than a utopian notion – I too get peeved when others are rude and unthoughtful, and when they fail to acknowledge little niceties I fume with fury.
This all reminds me of someone I worked with recently – let’s call him Benny, for argument’s sake (because, for sure, there were a lot of arguments). I think that generally I’m quite an easy person to get along with, but Benny and I just didn’t see eye to eye. Fair enough, you might say, not everyone gets on with everyone else, that’s just the way of the world. Benny professed (quite loudly and very proudly) to be a Christian, but to me he was just rude, intrusive, and unable to show common courtesy. On these issues we clashed often. After one such run-in Benny stalked off and talked about it to one of the nuns who live in the abbey next door to us. (Those nuns are the most wonderful, wise and patient people that I have ever known, but that’s another story for another time.) Benny told Sister X about our argument and she asked him: “Why don’t you just apologise?”
Benny replied: “Me apologise? But that would be humbling myself.”
Sister X said: “But isn’t that what Christians do?”
I don’t know how Benny responsed, but clearly humility, which was once a virtue, has now become almost a dirty word. And that is the problem with our modern world – many of us have a skewed image of our self worth. Showing humility doesn’t mean having to grovel or demean yourself, it just means having a proper sense of your self-worth, and a proper regard for those around us.
Anyhow, Benny never did apologise and, truth be told, I couldn’t care less. All I hope is that I – and you – never run into him when we’re out on the road, no matter whether he’s in a car or on a bike. You see, it’s not about the bike or car, it’s all about the person who’s driving.

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