|This apparel item makes you "less than human" when worn.|
These are my observations only. Your area may be quite different. (I hope it is!) But a recent study reported on by Momentum Magazine online shines a light toward what I have always thought to be true. That being that when I dress in "cycling garb" I am treated quite differently than I am when I wear street clothing to cycle in.
I have found this to be so true in my experience that - unless I am going for a long ride solo in the country - I wear street clothes to cycle in almost exclusively now. The difference is amazing.
Of course, there are outliers and times when I get close passed by cars even if I am wearing street clothes and a ball cap, but probably 99% of the time or more I get a wide berth, people defer to me at intersections, and I never get yelled at. Wearing a helmet? That instantly makes my commutes more difficult. I get less consideration, and I have been yelled at. Wearing a full kit?
Fahgeddaboudit. You may as well be a worm.
Yeah, like the study I linked to says, why that is no one really knows yet, but we can guess. I assume that people see a "person" when they see a cyclist in normal garb. But perceptions about "cyclists" in a kit? I imagine those are mostly of the negative sort. Why? Well, I think that can range anywhere from "cyclists are neredowell rule-breakers that are unpredictable and in the way" to worse than that.
I really don't know, nor do I really care. I just know what works, and what doesn't work, and I have adapted accordingly. Should things be different? Yes. In the meantime, I do what I have to do so I can ride a bicycle. My feeling is that until this culture of car-centrism changes to accommodate cycling and walking at an even plane to automobile usage, or at a higher importance than that, things won't change significantly. We need to see a philosophy of less cars are better, more cycling and walking is better first.
But I don't think the powers that be are interested in it unless they can make coin out of it. Right now, that isn't the case.