Here in Baltimore, things are marginally better, in that maybe 70% of drivers (in my part of town, NEway) understand bikes belong there. Amazingly, one of the "humor" writers for the paper did a peice on how he wanted to kill acyclist who, by riding in the street instead of the sidewalk, was delaying the flow of traffic
. Unbelievable. You should have seen the letters to the editor on THAT one.
My wife and I have still had a couple of brushes. We find that being in shape and keeping up with traffic is safer (this is in an urban environment with a lot of lights). Still, we prefer to stick to the single track
Now for bikers. There are some riders out there ruining it for the rest of us, and they fall into two camps: the clueless and the callous. THe clueless are usually on cheapo bikes that they don't know how to shift, that may be the wrong size, riding without helmets at about 3 miles per hour, and not paying any attention to what is around them. Often found going the wrong way wearing cheesy grins, riding 2 or three abreast with friends, and weaving lazily from the shoulder into traffic and back.
The callous ones are in shape, but don't care about traffic laws. Again, helmets seem optional, but now they are running lights, running stops, failing to communicate with drivers with hand signals (well, with the exception of one). I actually pulled over once a bawled this girl out- I was in a left turn lane, going left, the light just turned green. Instead of taking the lane and turning with traffic, she threaded in between the turn lane and the through lane and appeared ON MY LEFT as I am turning left. Scared the hell out of me 'cause I almost hit her. I was steamed. Told her I am all for bikes on the roads, but that kind of crass riding is going to leave a lasting impression on some other less understanding driver, and is a hell of a stupid stunt to pull without a helmet. She couldn't have cared less.
So be safe, have fun, and don't give motorists an excuse to hate cylists.