Betti Templeton, you are confusing rights with privileges.All roads with a few exceptions (interstates being an example) are for all people regardless of mode of transportation. Users do not have to pass any test to be able to use the roads. That is a right for everyone.
What you refer to as earning you the right to the road is actually granting you the privilege of driving a motorized vehicle. Because it is accepted that cars are very dangerous and destructive, operators have to show competence and the ability to cover costs of damages that often comes from operating a heavy, fast and dangerous machine. Because bicycles are so much lower on the dangerous and destructive scale, those safeguards are not deemed to be necessary. Even children are allowed to ride bicycles while, of course, we do not allow them to drive cars.
The procedure you described in passing a cyclist is called safe passing. As an operator of a dangerous vehicle, passing in a safe way that does not endanger other users of the road is exactly the type behavior that is expected for you to continue to enjoy the privilege of driving a car.
While people cannot be prevented from using a public roadway, the mode that they use it is regulated with the most restrictive regulations for the most dangerous.
Remember, car driving is a privilege, not a right. Drive safely and be careful of the other users of the road!
totally agree with HimJim. Why should people be encouraged to ride bikes? Not just for their own benefit, but for the benefit of others, especially those who drive cars. For those who want to never give up their cars, it is best to encourage as many people as possible to get out of their cars. Over the years our choices in transportation have been eroded as preferential treatment for those promoting use of cars dominated the transportation scene. We have seen what happens when the transportation choice has been reduced to the car choice, and the wiser of us realize that it is leading us to undesirable ends. Lets get more choice! This money being talked about here is such a tiny tiny drop in the bucket. Why does nobody protest the money being proposed for the expansion of 27? Now that is a whopping big sum for the preferential treatment of car drivers!