First, I think it’s at least somewhat appropriate to post this essay by Ivan Illich on the equity (or lack thereof) of traffic and transportation.
I think there are two issues here, based on the comments above. One is, as both Erok and Mary have said, making cyclists appear more “human.” This, I think, will change the way traffic (that is, people in cars) see us and, more importantly, our place on the roads. The second is that some people are truly just, well, mean. Something tells me that had Wes been walking (or running) along that same sidewalk with those same guys coming at him, he still would have found trouble. We as cyclists probably have a better record against random assaults than the average pedestrian. It makes me sad to say it, but there is little we can do to change that situation.