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Vision Zero Cities: Why Everyone Hates Cyclists: Realistic Group Conflict Theory and the Plight of Cyclists

Vision Zero Cities: Why Everyone Hates Cyclists: Realistic Group Conflict Theory and the Plight of Cyclists

Starting on Wednesday in New York, Transportation Alternatives will host its annual “Vision Zero Cities” conference. In conjunction with the confab, Streetsblog is posting content…

Friday, Oct 21

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Starting on Wednesday in New York, Transportation Alternatives will host its annual “Vision Zero Cities” conference. In conjunction with the confab, Streetsblog is posting content from the annual journal published by TransAlt. We’ll roll them out over the course of the week. Meanwhile, click here for the full conference schedule and to register. There is a word that often has the same effect in comment threads on social media as a bucket of chum in a shark tank: cyclist. The intensity of feeling and free expression of aggression that would make us very uncomfortable if directed at any other group of people is prevalent enough to have invited comment and provoked discussion . Announcements of infrastructure for this road user group are so commonly met with virulent resistance that there is a name for it: bikelash . Why? What is it about cyclists that provokes such volatile emotions? This question can be answered through a sociological lens, by understanding the roads network as a social system. Nadia Williams What is a social system? And how can I suggest the combination of tar, cement, cars, bikes, buses, trucks and so on is … social ? Sociologist Thomas Bottomore said social systems have the following characteristics:

> A system of communication

An economic system dealing with the production and allocation of goods

Arrangements for the socialisation of new generations

A system of authority and of distribution of power

Let’s go through them one by one. There are formal and informal communications […]

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