A few days ago I met a man who within minutes referred to cyclists as “targets.” He was driving down a Boulder County hill that is very popular with cyclists, runners, walkers and occasional daredevils on skateboards.
As politely as I could, I let him know that his comment was not funny even though (I hoped) it was intended as a joke.
I didn’t see him again until this morning. The first thing he did was apologize and shake my hand. I thanked him for that. I told him there are people who really do treat us as targets. He didn’t seem to know that.
Judging solely by their actions, some motorists do think of us that way. They target cyclists for verbal abuse, spit, bottles and cans, black smoke and worse. Some drivers buzz by within a foot or even inches in order to intimidate, and I imagine some of those drivers have hit their targets and left the scene.
I didn’t expect an apology from my new acquaintance. Apologies, especially real ones, are rare these days. I hoped simply that he would remember our brief exchange when encountering people on bicycles and think of them as fellow human beings.
The apology was a nice bonus.