"They ride like they think they own the road!" This is a common criticism of bicyclists. What does it mean? Look closely at the person who says that. If you have a mirror, offer it to her. She is saying that it is really she who owns the road and how dare cyclists ride with their own interests in mind!
Now, you may notice I used "she" instead of "he". I'm under the impression that this remains the fair way to write things. I'll even it up when the opportunity rises. My hope is that it satisfies those sensitive to those kinds of things without being too contrived. Now, on with my diatribe.
First, I should say that it is very clear that not all cyclists are angels on the road. Soon, I will link you to an article that has more to say about all this, and the author is much better at this than I am.
I've thought a lot about the car/bike relationship on the road. Maybe I should have said the rider/driver adversarial relationship on the road. One observation that I've made is that car drivers think they have "authority" over us cyclists. In a way, they do. If we collide, it is us who will suffer more. Drivers of cars are acting on a hierarchy of size. That is, they think they have authority over us because they are "bigger" than us. They think they are the "mommies and daddies" and we are the "babies". This is a manifestation of "might makes right", which is a deeply ingrained principal in our society. By writing this observation here, I am not excusing it as a way of behaving. It is an attempt at understanding the bike/car relationship, and if it is a correct understanding, to put it out there so others can think it over and decide if it is the way motorists react to us or not.
Here, I'll give you the link. This is worth reading. http://washcycle.typepad.com/home/2008/07/the-myth-of-the.html
Only by understanding the environment of traffic and acting as informed road users, can we better our chances of survival.
Remember that the underlying thought pattern of most motorists, most of the time, as they make decisions is "will I be hurt by this action?". They decide based on that subconscious reasoning. Ride accordingly.