I should start this by saying I've never, for a moment, believed the idea that close passes of cyclists are due to inattention. The very idea that a motorist is accurately judging a close pass at speed is farcical - its just not a feasible claim. Close passes are intentional, aggressive acts.
So I'm somewhat predisposed to believe that observations based on how I'm treated on different bikes are genuine rather than all in my head. And I'm finding that on my funky chunky new bike I'm getting rather more dodgy overtakes than I do on any of my others.
I don't commute on that one every day of course - its great fun to ride and can take a hell of a load, but I'd rather commute on something with a bit more zip to it unless I'm getting shopping - and yesterday I wanted to indulge my clementine habit with a couple of boxes from the market at lunchtime, so off I went to work on the bike with the big baskets.
There were four crazy overtakes on the way home. The most frightening for me was this one:
So I'm apparently not a bike, I'm a gap in traffic.
But its worse (for others on the road) than that - it would seem I'm big enough and slow enough to make it necessary to squeeze past at a junction and try to throw your taxi into a bus.
Now I get silly motorists no matter what I ride, but its so noticeable that if I'm on a 'typical' bike I get the occasional close pass or some hostility sometimes, whereas if I'm no the chunky bike I'm getting almost no verbal aggression but NO END of bad passes. And if I'm on a road bike I get no end of anger.
Much has been written on driver behaviour and how the drivers perception of the rider is important - but I've seen less attention given to what kind of bike we're riding. It seems likely to me (from my own observations) that motorists pay enough attention to what we're riding such that how they act towards us is significantly influenced by this - its more evidence that the way motorists act around us is not just one of those things, the dodgy passes aren't accidental, and that the negative experiences that put many people off cycling are caused by direct, intentional aggression of motorists. Its not just how we ride or what we wear that influences what form this hostility takes - its what we ride.
Why ought a moton give a shit about what we ride? That's something to discuss another day.