In North Carolina this year a group of cyclists was passed by a vehicle. This vehicle proceeded to pull into the cyclists path and stop. When the driver got out he started waiving a gun and stating that he would kill them all, bury them on the side of the road and they would never be missed. Kev, I mean the driver, got back into his vehicle and drove off without actually following up on his statements.
I don't know if it is an increase in sensitivity to the topic, or an increase in the number of incidents, but this year I have heard about more cyclists getting hit or harrassed by cars. In California this year a sheriff's deputy pulled into three cyclists riding on a should on the other side of the road. Two of the three were killed. In the past two weeks I have heard of three different incidents involving cyclists getting hit by cars who failed to follow basic traffic laws in regard to the interaction of cars and bicycles. With the increase in gas prices more and more people are riding bikes instead of driving cars. I think this is great, but there needs to be an increase in awareness that not only do cyclists have legal right to be on the road (some drivers are not aware of this), but that drivers need to be on the lookout for cyclists.
I know first hand the dangers of drivers not being alert to the presense of cyclists. In February of this year, my mom and I were riding on a road in Texas. We were obeying all the laws of the roads and were preparing to make a left hand turn. After to checking to see that the left lane was clear and signaling, we changed lanes. By the time my mom changed lanes, a driver who was driving too fast came around a corner and hit my mom. He said that she had pulled in front of her, but I know that she had been in the lane before he reached the point she was at. I think the true issue was that he was not looking for a cyclist on the road and didn't expect her to be there. My mom is now okay, but it is terrifying to see your mother life flighted to a hospital due to head trama.
As drivers out on the roads we need to be aware that cyclists are out there and when they tangle with cars, no matter who is at fault, the cyclist usually ends up seriously injured. So please watch out for cyclists while you are driving because they have equal rights to the road.
At least in Texas we have concealed carry so I just pull my Walther PPK out when I feel like a car is encroaching on my personal space.