That, in a nutshell, sums up the findings of two recent studies examining the attitudes of car drivers toward cyclists, and how those attitudes impact how they treat us out on the road. Both studies are from Australia, but cyclists from Down Under don’t have a monopoly on angry motorists.
The first study published in the Journal of Safety Research included an online survey of 3,769 drivers in Queensland, Australia, a year after the region passed its minimum distance passing (MPD) rule stating that motorists need to give cyclists 1.5 meters (nearly five feet) when overtaking them on the road.
Almost half of the motorists admitted to not complying with the rule. About a third of the drivers said they ignore the rule “almost always” or “most of the time.” They were slightly less likely to buzz cyclists on roads where the speed limit was higher: In speed zones of more than 60 kph (37 mph), 32 percent said they generally ignored the law; about 36 percent said they executed closer than 1.5-meter passes in slower speed zones.