A person on a bike looks and is vulnerable. It requires a civilized society to protect (or not attack in the first place) the vulnerable, and although perhaps in more culturally-advanced countries there is one, we in the US are not in one.
Normally, I would hesitate to state my own experience because readers may interpret that as a plea for sympathy. But in this group, I'm confident my motives won't be misconstrued. I'm relating them to illustrate my point.
During, say, 5 years of extensively riding a bike in the Kansas City metropolis, I have:
- *been shot at (backpack hit), with a pellet gun probably - once
*had a 2 liter filled water bottle thrown at and hit me
*been stopped by the cops 3 times (twice totally unwarranted)
*been sideswiped by a car that didn't stop - once
*been forced to wreck by a car (I can't really be certain what the driver was doing)
*been threatened by a car that veered to the wrong side of the road while approaching me (I didn't wreck)
I recognize Kansas City is socially low-class and much less bike friendly contrasted with other places I've lived, (Boulder, CO; Amsterdam, Netherlands), but I suspect it goes beyond that. People pray on the weak. And you are weak when riding a bike.