Consumer Reports Survey: "Bicyclists Who Don't Let You By" Rank 5.7 On A 10-Point Annoyance Scale
Consumer Reports recently surveyed 895 Americans about their "top driving gripes" and published a summary of findings in their April 2012 magazine. The top five most bothersome behaviors identified by those surveyed were: texting while driving (8.9 on 10-point scale); able-bodied drivers parking in a handicapped slot (8.7); tailgaters (8.4); drivers who cut you off (8.3); and, speeders who swerve in an out of traffic (8.2). What you'd expect, right?
Down near the bottom of the list, ranked 19th, was one that caught me by surprise. " Bicyclists who don't let you by" came in at 5.8.
I'm pretty sure if you surveyed a similar number of bicycle riders that one of their top gripes would be car drivers who act like they alone pay for road construction and maintenance (a common fallacy) and who are rude or even hostile toward anyone on two wheels, regardless of whether the bike rider is, or is not, going the speed limit.
Some perspective on the gas tax for road maintenance argument
Rare is the bicycle rider who does not also own or at least occasionally rent a motorized vehicle. Most bike owners pay some gasoline taxes. And their parents certainly did.
Public roadways are not, contrary to popular belief, paid for solely by gasoline tax revenues. Depends on what class of roadway you're talking about. Many roads are owned and maintained by local units of government that have no gas tax authority.
Larger roads tend to be state owned and maintained, relying partly on Federal gas tax revenues which have been passed back and partly on state levied gas taxes. Non-gas tax revenues also are used to build and maintain both local and state roads (see below).
You can't legally ride a bike on interstate highways, which are paid for by taxes and/or tolls.
Note: via Wikipedia, It was reported on "August 15, 2007 that about 60% of federal gas taxes are used for highway and bridge construction. The remaining 40% goes to earmarked programs. However, revenues from other taxes are also used in federal transportation programs."
Right of way vs parking rights for cars.
A large portion of residential roads in highly developed areas were built before cars were a predominant mode of transit. Over time it became the norm to allocate up to a quarter of the total cartway width to automobile parking - a big contributing factor to the "annoyance" rating. In many cases, no parking fee is required. Car owners own the cartway edges and still can't tolerate a bicycle in front of them.