Drivers or bikers: who sucks more?

Predictibly, drivers are complaining about the bikers being all unsafe and illegal and everything. The bikers are biting back. Who's more dangerous?

I commute by both bike and car, and it's no contest: cars. Bikers are keenly alive to their own safety, and tend to pay a lot more attention to the cars than the cars pay to them. Moreover, many drivers in DC seem to believe that it is against the law to be in a mode of transportation that goes more slowly than their own, and therefore complain about such "violations" as trying to merge into the exit lane of a traffic circle. Memo to drivers: whether it's a car or a bike, you're supposed to yield to someone trying to exit. Yes, I know that this means you'll get to your destination a full TEN SECONDS later, Princess Precious. We all have our crosses to bear; let this be yours.

Speaking as a car owner, the aura of entitlement around car commuters here is really amazing to behold. They're positively outraged that DC is moving to demand pricing for parking, and to close fast-moving arteries that shunt commuters to their destination at the expense of making the neighborhoods virtually unwalkable at rush hour. They don't even have the excuse of New York commuters--that their jobs and entertainment bring the city a lot of revenue. Government agencies don't pay any sort of taxes; nor do think tanks, NGOs, or most money-losing media organizations. And suburbanites tend to hang out in the suburbs at night, and shop their on weekends. In short, they want us to pay them for the privilege of hosting their cars 12 hours a day, and picking up the lucrative sandwich shop revenue which they apparently believe is the sole fiscal support of the city.

They are also terrible, terrible drivers. I don't know what it is about DC, but the city hosts a kind of driver that I have never encountered before: aggressive, yet hesitant. Usually you get one or the other.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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