In the Times, Olympic Gold Medallist Victoria Pendleton, talks of the problems she has from car drivers during training:
“I have to train on the road daily. It's crucial for endurance work. But the abuse I get from drivers ... 'Get of the effing road', and 'Buy an effing car', are typical. I'm usually dressed in the Team GB kit, but drivers take no notice of that.”
“It does my head in that people have no regard for my safety. If someone cuts me up, I will sometimes catch up and have a go at them. It's not like their journeys are so important. They're usually off to the shops to waste some more money. Honestly, what's a few seconds in their pointless life for the sake of not killing me?”
I think every cyclist has experienced this. I've had people overtake dangerously in order to slam on the anchors and take a left turn forcing me to brake hard (in UK, we drive on the left). I've had people slowing down to catcall when I've done nothing but be on a bicycle.
I've had people overtaking dangerously for the honour of sitting in a traffic queue which was perfectly visible when they decided to squeeze past.
The difference is that nobody could mistake me for an Olympic cyclist!
It does help to cycle defensively. This means, for example, that if a car could not overtake safely (e.g. due to a narrow lane, or due to a central bollard) then I'll take the lane so that can't overtake at all, and pull over once it's safe to pass.
As I said earlier, I hoped that the cyclists would use their Olympic success to promote everyday cycling. I'm glad to see this has started - and I hope it'll continue.