Separation breeds contempt
I have long held a belief, predating my rediscovery of the bicycle, that the implied anonymity of driving a motor vehicle yields in a certain type an impunity of action; that no matter what happens, I am safe in my car and will never see that person ever again.
It is what leads to people that are otherwise perfectly pleasant and reasonable engaging in dangerous or rage-fueled behavior on the road: Cutting off other drivers, jumping at stops or traffic lights, failing to permit others to merge, etc.
Think about it. Guy on the highway makes a dangerous merge, you get mad or frightened, then he is gone. It is not like you are going to stalk him on the road, because, well, then you're the crazy one.
And envision those strange anonymous behaviors outside the car. What would happen in the supermarket if another shopper pushing a cart just zipped to the head of the queue and tried to nose in front of you without making eye contact? Would you permit it? No you would not, you would say, Excuse me there is a line and then you would wait for the social pressure of other shoppers or market staff to induce the cutter to get to the back of the queue.
In a moving vehicle, insulated literally and figuratively from human interaction, there is no such social backstop. Anonymity is presumed and social consequences are generally nonexistent.
To illustrate, here is a scenario that happened to me and my boys last year:
We fixed Turbine A's bike with the Croozer trailer, grabbed the list and headed out to our neighborhood hardware store via the most direct route, a road I and the boys have no trouble riding, but is not a beginner-grade road ride.
Two-thirds the way there, and older gentleman in a vintage convertible (top helpfully down) passed us too closely. Non-trailer bike was in back, trailer bike in middle and I was leading. I hear Turbine A cry out, Dad! He's too close! As he passes me, I yell (as I often do) THREE FEET!
With his top down he nonchalantly says to me, This road is too dangerous for bikes, and drives off.
Another mile later, we get to the hardware store. And which car do we see in the lot? Yes, our friend in the convertible. The boys know exactly what is going to happen without my even telling them. I set my phone to record video and go into the store and find the guy. When I find him, we just stand there. He makes a weak attempt at a SMIDSY and then beats feet out of the store empty-handed.
So yeah, generations of removing human interactions have granted drivers a very real perception that there are no consequences to their actions inside a vehicle.
Now read the linked story. Last Sunday, a woman in Melbourne, Australia was participating in an organized charity ride. And a lady in a car bashed her way through a crowd of cyclists in the road, knocking the woman off her bike and onto the hood of the car. The woman's bike becomes lodged under the left front wheel. When the cellphone video picks up, the bike is already mangled and the car is surrounded by dismounted cyclists yelling at the driver to stop.
But nope, bolstered by her serene feelings of anonymity and immunity from consequence inside her vehicle, she simply pushes through the crowd and drives off, bike still wedged under the front end of the car. A kilometer later, police pulled her over, and she is expecting to face charges.
As long as governments and society do not recognize the toxic effects of car culture, nothing can change.