Once again we find ourselves in January, and once again I find myself writing about an incident where someone has attempted, without provocation, to use a motor vehicle as a weapon to either intimidate or assault me. Once again, the sole reason behind this appears to be something as innocuous as my choice of transport mode. Once again the driver and occupants of the vehicle were around 17-19 years of age and once again they were exclusively male.
The sad thing is that most regular cyclists have similar stories of unprovoked aggression from motorists. Most regular cyclists I have spoken to have at least one story of a motorist attempting to intimidate them or cause actual bodily harm for no other reason that they had the sheer audacity to choose to get around on a bike.
A significant minority of the general population seem to have the capacity to behave like this. When using public transport or on foot they might be a nuisance to others. On a bicycle they may risk causing injury to others and themselves in the process. In a car, they are able to kill and maim without any risk of coming to harm themselves. Interestingly, the behaviour of this fraction of the general public receives by far the most attention from the mainstream press when they also happen to ride bicycles.
Perhaps it is time to seriously examine the idea of including a thorough psychological examination in the process of licensing drivers. In addition to weeding out those who clearly are not able to behave appropriately when operating a dangerous machine in a public place, it will also help put people off driving in general by increasing the costs and hassle associated with learning and continuing to drive. This can only be a good thing for everyone.