What is the meaning of “Share The Road” signs? Is sharing even possible?
Cars, bicycles and the fatal myth of equal reciprocity
At times as a cyclist among the cars I feel like an insurgent in hostile territory. By now some readers might assume I am advocating cyclist rebellion and lawless riding. I’m not. Cyclists should do their best to be civil and rule-abiding on the road, at least where it doesn’t put us in danger.
At the same time, we can’t expect great or immediate results from this offer of reciprocity to the drivers around us. To suggest that the person at the wrong end of a heavily unequal relationship can gain recognition and equality simply by offering to “respect the space” of the dominant subject is wishful thinking.
When cyclist meets driver on the road, both are notionally equal individuals encountering each other in a democratic, rule-governed and neutral public space. But only if the driver chooses to make it like this. Otherwise, they are in a deeply asymmetrical relation, both physically and culturally.