When to honk at a bicyclist

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Claire Petersky, Oct 13, 2004.

  1. Dear fellow Bellevue residents:

    I ride every day through our city to and from work. Despite what some
    Seattleites say, this is a great place to ride. But lately, Bellevue
    motorists have been honking at me. I'm not quite sure why this has
    happened -- maybe the election is getting people worked up? Anyway, I think
    I need to review with you all when to honk, and when not to honk, at a
    bicyclist.

    When not to honk:

    1. When you just happen to be passing by the bicyclist. Believe me, I was
    aware of your Esclanade a long time before you even thought about honking.

    2. When I am at or in the intersection. Initially, I can accelerate faster
    than a motor vehicle in an intersection. I am not slowing you down any more
    than if I were in a car. So chill.

    3. When I am going approximately at or above the speed limit. Yes, you might
    want to go 40 mph down the hill by Phantom Lake, but the speed limit is 30.
    If I am descending the hill at 32 mph, I am going to be in front of you. You
    wouldn't honk at a car more or less obeying the speed limit, would you? So
    why honk at a bike?

    4. When I am going the same speed as the rest of traffic. So, we're going
    down Eastgate Way at 30 mph and the speed limit is 35. So you honk at me.
    But LOOK, there's a Metro bus in front of me. The reason why you and I are
    both going 30 mph is because the bus is going 30 mph. Even if I somehow
    miraculously vaporized at your honking, the Metro bus is still going to be
    in front of you going 30, and you aren't going to going any faster. Got
    that?

    When to honk:

    1. When someone is facing imminent death, and you think that honking might
    somehow avert a fatal accident.

    2. When you're my good friend, and you want to catch my attention so we can
    wave at each other. (Hi Kathy!)

    3. When you want me and probably everyone in the immediate vicinity to know
    that you are a complete, brain-dead, total, doofus.

    Thank you for your attention to this matter. I hope to never hear from you
    (except those good friends -- you may continue to tootle so we can wave at
    each other) again.


    --
    Warm Regards,

    Claire Petersky
    please substitute yahoo for mousepotato to reply
    Home of the meditative cyclist:
    http://home.earthlink.net/~cpetersky/Welcome.htm
    Personal page: http://www.geocities.com/cpetersky/
    See the books I've set free at: http://bookcrossing.com/referral/Cpetersky
     
    Tags:


  2. Emily

    Emily Guest

    Excellent post, Claire. Thanks.

    -Emily
     
  3. Chris Neary

    Chris Neary Guest

    >When to honk:
    >
    >1. When someone is facing imminent death, and you think that honking might
    >somehow avert a fatal accident.
    >
    >2. When you're my good friend, and you want to catch my attention so we can
    >wave at each other. (Hi Kathy!)
    >
    >3. When you want me and probably everyone in the immediate vicinity to know
    >that you are a complete, brain-dead, total, doofus.


    4. When I am stuck behind 3 riders who are completely unaware of conditions
    around them, and one is occasionally straying into the opposite lane, making
    it impossible to safely pass them. A friendly "tootle" on the horn brought
    them back to reality.


    Chris Neary
    diabloridr@comcast.net

    "Science, freedom, beauty, adventure: what more could
    you ask of life? Bicycling combined all the elements I
    loved" - Adapted from a quotation by Charles Lindbergh
     
  4. psycholist

    psycholist Guest

    "Chris Neary" <diabloridr@comcast.net > wrote in message
    news:97hrm0pk3aljg31h8qaj90c7j7f986k90n@4ax.com...
    > >When to honk:
    > >
    > >1. When someone is facing imminent death, and you think that honking

    might
    > >somehow avert a fatal accident.
    > >
    > >2. When you're my good friend, and you want to catch my attention so we

    can
    > >wave at each other. (Hi Kathy!)
    > >
    > >3. When you want me and probably everyone in the immediate vicinity to

    know
    > >that you are a complete, brain-dead, total, doofus.

    >
    > 4. When I am stuck behind 3 riders who are completely unaware of

    conditions
    > around them, and one is occasionally straying into the opposite lane,

    making
    > it impossible to safely pass them. A friendly "tootle" on the horn brought
    > them back to reality.
    >
    >
    > Chris Neary
    > diabloridr@comcast.net
    >
    > "Science, freedom, beauty, adventure: what more could
    > you ask of life? Bicycling combined all the elements I
    > loved" - Adapted from a quotation by Charles Lindbergh


    Right on, Chris!

    Cyclists are so often their own worst enemy. I can't stand the way some
    riders behave on club rides -- with no consideration for other users of the
    road, whatsoever. Of course there are tons of bad drivers out there who
    don't respect cyclists. There are also bad cyclists out there who don't
    respect motorists and that's quite dangerous, too.

    Flame on.

    Bob C.
     
  5. Hunrobe

    Hunrobe Guest

    >"Claire Petersky" cpetersky@mousepotato.com

    forgot "when to honk- #4 & 5":

    4- When you think I may have dropped the large bag of money you just found.

    5- When the motorist is a beautiful member of the opposite sex and madly,
    passionately in love with a cyclist.

    Please note that while #4 applies only when *I* am the cyclist, #5 applies
    universally.

    Regards,
    Bob Hunt
     
  6. On Wed, 13 Oct 2004 21:26:09 GMT, "Claire Petersky"
    <cpetersky@mousepotato.com> wrote:

    >Dear fellow Bellevue residents:
    >
    >I ride every day through our city to and from work. Despite what some
    >Seattleites say, this is a great place to ride. But lately, Bellevue
    >motorists have been honking at me. I'm not quite sure why this has
    >happened -- maybe the election is getting people worked up? Anyway, I think
    >I need to review with you all when to honk, and when not to honk, at a
    >bicyclist.
    >
    >When not to honk:
    >
    >1. When you just happen to be passing by the bicyclist. Believe me, I was
    >aware of your Esclanade a long time before you even thought about honking.
    >
    >2. When I am at or in the intersection. Initially, I can accelerate faster
    >than a motor vehicle in an intersection. I am not slowing you down any more
    >than if I were in a car. So chill.
    >
    >3. When I am going approximately at or above the speed limit. Yes, you might
    >want to go 40 mph down the hill by Phantom Lake, but the speed limit is 30.
    >If I am descending the hill at 32 mph, I am going to be in front of you. You
    >wouldn't honk at a car more or less obeying the speed limit, would you? So
    >why honk at a bike?
    >
    >4. When I am going the same speed as the rest of traffic. So, we're going
    >down Eastgate Way at 30 mph and the speed limit is 35. So you honk at me.
    >But LOOK, there's a Metro bus in front of me. The reason why you and I are
    >both going 30 mph is because the bus is going 30 mph. Even if I somehow
    >miraculously vaporized at your honking, the Metro bus is still going to be
    >in front of you going 30, and you aren't going to going any faster. Got
    >that?
    >
    >When to honk:
    >
    >1. When someone is facing imminent death, and you think that honking might
    >somehow avert a fatal accident.
    >
    >2. When you're my good friend, and you want to catch my attention so we can
    >wave at each other. (Hi Kathy!)
    >
    >3. When you want me and probably everyone in the immediate vicinity to know
    >that you are a complete, brain-dead, total, doofus.
    >
    >Thank you for your attention to this matter. I hope to never hear from you
    >(except those good friends -- you may continue to tootle so we can wave at
    >each other) again.



    Hehehe.. around here, I don't mind it if someone gives a quick beep to
    warn me, in the event that I'm too far out in the middle of the road-
    i e to avoid a big pothole or ditch. THat's not unusual around here
    with the crappy roads.

    However, I was on a ride a couple of weeks ago and some shmuck scared
    us with a long, angry blast, just so he could speed past us and stop
    at a stoplight. A i flipped the bird and received he same from his
    kid- he was a typical fat cat in a big luxury car, picking up his
    rug rat daughter from private school. When we stopped to inquire about
    why he honked, the rug rat yelled, "you were taking up the whole
    road!" Right- while he's in the luxury bus.One of my buddies told the
    fat cat that he;d wait for him to take off when the light changed and
    then write down his license because he was speeding and a menace.
    Judging by the physical shape of both drivers, i doubt either one of
    them walks anywhere, let alone ride bikes. When we started up again, a
    group of young women in a vminivan passed by us and cheered and waved
    at us in support.

    Anyways, the moral is: THAT type of honking does nothing but scare the
    crap out of us, and it also seems idiotic to screeeech past us just to
    stop at a stop light.
     
  7. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

    blanshay@total.net wrote:

    > Anyways, the moral is: THAT type of honking does nothing but scare the
    > crap out of us, and it also seems idiotic to screeeech past us just to
    > stop at a stop light.


    Just to inject some good vibes into this thread: a car pulled over
    and let us riders by today. This was on a fairly twisty descent, and
    the driver pulled over only after trying to stay ahead of us. But
    still, it was a nice gesture, and I acknowledged it with a friendly
    wave.
    --
    terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://bike.terrymorse.com/
     
  8. loki

    loki Guest

    "Claire Petersky" <cpetersky@mousepotato.com> wrote in message
    news:R3hbd.2253$6k2.899@newsread3.news.pas.earthlink.net...
    [...]
    > When not to honk:
    >
    > 1. When you just happen to be passing by the bicyclist. Believe me, I was
    > aware of your Esclanade a long time before you even thought about honking.


    One of my co-workers thought to do this on the way to work. He honestly
    thought he was giving a friendly greeting as he passed me. I explained that
    to a cyclist the horn is what it was intended to be: a warning of a
    potentially dangerous situation, not a method of friendly greeting.

    It didn't startle me - I've cycled in traffic for too long for that - but
    it does cause me to look for the cause for warning.

    OTOH on my summer vacation one of the highways was moderately heavily
    travelled by logging trucks. Many of them used the horn appropriately IMHO.
    At a fair distance behind, it warned me that a large vehicle that took up
    more than the usual highway footprint with considerable wind turbulence was
    approaching. I thank those truckers who did understand the proper use of the
    horn.

    --
    'The three little sentences that get you through life:
    1]Cover for me.
    2]Oh, good idea, boss!
    3] It was like that when I got here.' -homer simpson
     
  9. On Wed, 13 Oct 2004 23:03:53 -0400, blanshay@total.net wrote:

    >it also seems idiotic to screeeech past us just to
    >stop at a stop light.


    No. First one to the red light wins.
     
  10. On Thu, 14 Oct 2004 07:27:17 -0500, Zippy the Pinhead
    <the_corporate_hose@hotmail.com> wrote:

    >>it also seems idiotic to screeeech past us just to
    >>stop at a stop light.


    >No. First one to the red light wins.


    That's me, then, since I can go past him and the three in front while
    the light is red :)

    Guy
    --
    May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
    http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk

    88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University
     
  11. H. M. Leary

    H. M. Leary Guest

    In article <20041013222358.03671.00002160@mb-m04.aol.com>,
    hunrobe@aol.com (Hunrobe) wrote:

    > >"Claire Petersky" cpetersky@mousepotato.com

    >
    > forgot "when to honk- #4 & 5":
    >
    > 4- When you think I may have dropped the large bag of money you just found.
    >
    > 5- When the motorist is a beautiful member of the opposite sex and madly,
    > passionately in love with a cyclist.
    >
    > Please note that while #4 applies only when *I* am the cyclist, #5 applies
    > universally.
    >
    > Regards,
    > Bob Hunt


    Thats good Bob!

    Claires #3 is the best of course.

    HAND
     
  12. Dick Durbin

    Dick Durbin Guest

    "Claire Petersky" <cpetersky@mousepotato.com> wrote in message news:<R3hbd.2253$6k2.899@newsread3.news.pas.earthlink.net>...
    > Dear fellow Bellevue residents:
    > When to honk:
    > 2. When you're my good friend, and you want to catch my attention so we can
    > wave at each other. (Hi Kathy!)


    Claire, I love you more than my pick-up truck, but people getting
    their friend's attention with their car horn is a pet peeve of mine.
    I can't tell you how many times I have been driving along and a driver
    in a car close to me blew his horn to hail a friend. I immediately
    start looking around trying to determine what I am being warned about.

    I just took a look at the Florida driver's manual and it suggests that
    you tap on the horn when passing another vehicle. I remember that
    being a common practice when I was a kid in the country back in
    Kentucky, but the only place I see it anymore is in rural South
    Georgia near where I live.

    Claire, did you ever consider the possibility that the person blowing
    the horn may think you are a hottie and he is trying to pick you up?
    ;-)

    Dick Durbin
     
  13. Leo Lichtman

    Leo Lichtman Guest

    "Dick Durbin" wrote: (clip)tap on the horn (clip)
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    I have been looking at some videos about steam locomotives--what most of us
    don't know is that each whistle sound and pattern has a specific meaning.
    In a way, car horns are like that too, but that has not been mentioned in
    this thread. An impatient sustained, annoyed blast directed at someone who
    is asleed at a green light is far different from a gentle tap or double tap,
    which could be a greeting. Also, the distance from which the warning is
    given is part of the message. If you want the cyclist to know you intend to
    pass to his/her left on a narrow street, the warning should be softly given,
    and not when you're already on his/her elbow. IOW, horns should not be
    taken out of context. :) Just a couple of added thoughts.
     
  14. Tim Howe

    Tim Howe Guest

    "Claire Petersky" <cpetersky@mousepotato.com> wrote in message news:<R3hbd.2253$6k2.899@newsread3.news.pas.earthlink.net>...
    > Dear fellow Bellevue residents:
    >

    <snip some excellent reminders from Claire regarding honking>

    I'll share a minor annoyance I suffered the other day at the end of my
    commute home.

    I should preface this by saying that the amount of outright hostility
    I experience in general is far outweighed by the kindness of most
    drivers, but nonetheless:

    The last short streatch of my commute home involves one of those
    intersections which weren't really designed so much as they just kind
    of happened. I crest a hill and roll down the other side for no more
    than 50 yards when the road curves sharply down and to the right and I
    must turn left across traffic on a blind intersection. There are cars
    coming the other way, so after signaling I slow down at the far left
    of my lane to sort of roll/trackstand until the traffic clears. The
    car immediately behind me slows to be sure of what I am doing and then
    passes safely on my right (there is plenty of room), as does the car
    behind them. The guy behind that (in a huge Cadillac SUV, of course)
    winds the window down and honks and screams at me as he rolls past.

    This strikes me as odd for a few reasons.

    1) I accelerated out of the last light faster than the line of traffic
    he was in and had already been sitting at this intersection for a few
    seconds by the time they caught me. So clearly I wasn't slowing
    anyone down.

    2) Had I been in a car, they would have had to wait for me to turn,
    but because I am on a bike they can safely pass me, so I am slowing
    them less than I would otherwise.

    3) In slowing to honk and scream he takes up more of his apparently
    precious time than he would otherwise.

    What is it with people in expensive SUVs?

    -Tim
     
  15. Nice post, Claire. But you're preaching to the choire. Maybe you should
    post it in the auto groups (we won't chastise you for cross posting,
    promise!). ;-3)

    - -

    "May you have the wind at your back.
    And a really low gear for the hills!"

    Chris Zacho ~ "Your Friendly Neighborhood Wheelman"

    Chris'Z Corner
    http://www.geocities.com/czcorner
     
  16. When to honk:

    Never. Unless you want me to take the middle of the lane forcing you to either to change lanes to pass or stay behind me as I grind up this hill at ~7 mph.
     
  17. Fred Hall

    Fred Hall Guest

    When to honk:

    When you want to see how quickly a person can remove one hand from the drops
    and raise the middle finger of said hand high in the air...
    ---
    But seriously...about a month ago while driving I came up behind four guys
    probably my age (late forties) on a two lane country road, ambling along at
    probably 10 - 12 mph (no spandex to be seen), gabbing to each other, 4
    abreast - 2 in each lane...they took their sweet time, gave me a dirty look
    for daring to be on the same road with them, then the two in the "wrong"
    (passing) lane moved over so I had to go in the passing lane to get by
    them...stretching out single file never seemed to occur to them. Being a
    cyclist I didn't lay on the horn, but I sure wanted to...it's actions like
    that that give us all a bad reputation.
     
  18. Badger_South

    Badger_South Guest

    On Thu, 14 Oct 2004 21:22:31 GMT, "Fred Hall" <fhall1@twcny.rr.com> wrote:

    >When to honk:
    >
    >When you want to see how quickly a person can remove one hand from the drops
    >and raise the middle finger of said hand high in the air...
    >---
    >But seriously...about a month ago while driving I came up behind four guys
    >probably my age (late forties) on a two lane country road, ambling along at
    >probably 10 - 12 mph (no spandex to be seen), gabbing to each other, 4
    >abreast - 2 in each lane...they took their sweet time, gave me a dirty look
    >for daring to be on the same road with them, then the two in the "wrong"
    >(passing) lane moved over so I had to go in the passing lane to get by
    >them...stretching out single file never seemed to occur to them. Being a
    >cyclist I didn't lay on the horn, but I sure wanted to...it's actions like
    >that that give us all a bad reputation.


    Sounds like a troll. Did they impede you for more than, say 3 seconds tops?

    Did they endanger you in your 2 ton metal cage? Poor thing.

    Urge to beep isn't related to anything about reputation or justification;
    it's just anger that something small and vulnerable asserted momentary
    dominance.

    -B
     
  19. On 14 Oct 2004 08:55:49 -0700, tim.howe@gmail.com (Tim Howe) wrote:

    >"Claire Petersky" <cpetersky@mousepotato.com> wrote in message news:<R3hbd.2253$6k2.899@newsread3.news.pas.earthlink.net>...
    >> Dear fellow Bellevue residents:
    >>

    ><snip some excellent reminders from Claire regarding honking>
    >
    >I'll share a minor annoyance I suffered the other day at the end of my
    >commute home.
    >
    >I should preface this by saying that the amount of outright hostility
    >I experience in general is far outweighed by the kindness of most
    >drivers, but nonetheless:
    >
    >The last short streatch of my commute home involves one of those
    >intersections which weren't really designed so much as they just kind
    >of happened. I crest a hill and roll down the other side for no more
    >than 50 yards when the road curves sharply down and to the right and I
    >must turn left across traffic on a blind intersection. There are cars
    >coming the other way, so after signaling I slow down at the far left
    >of my lane to sort of roll/trackstand until the traffic clears. The
    >car immediately behind me slows to be sure of what I am doing and then
    >passes safely on my right (there is plenty of room), as does the car
    >behind them. The guy behind that (in a huge Cadillac SUV, of course)
    >winds the window down and honks and screams at me as he rolls past.
    >
    >This strikes me as odd for a few reasons.
    >
    >1) I accelerated out of the last light faster than the line of traffic
    >he was in and had already been sitting at this intersection for a few
    >seconds by the time they caught me. So clearly I wasn't slowing
    >anyone down.
    >
    >2) Had I been in a car, they would have had to wait for me to turn,
    >but because I am on a bike they can safely pass me, so I am slowing
    >them less than I would otherwise.
    >
    >3) In slowing to honk and scream he takes up more of his apparently
    >precious time than he would otherwise.
    >
    >What is it with people in expensive SUVs?
    >
    >-Tim


    Or luxury cars! ONce I was yelled at and gestured at by a paunchy guy,
    smoking a cigar and driving a jaguar! This was in an area where there
    is a designated bike path. However, this bike path is really dangerous
    becuase there are BUS STOPs on it and it basically takes the place of
    a sidewalk. So most of us take the road. The cigar guy was waving and
    yelling at me to take the path. I just blew him a razberry.

    And once, I saw a woman on my street blow a stop sign- barely slowing
    down, and not even LOOKING- while she blabbed on the phone and smoked
    a cigarette. In a Lexus.

    And let's not even get into Humvees.
     
  20. Fred Hall

    Fred Hall Guest

    Have you read any of my other posts in this group? I'd be careful with
    casually tossing out the "troll" label so fast...I've put a thousand miles
    on my bike this season - so I don't consider myself a troll.

    Do you think it's impossible for 4 middle aged men to act like they own the
    road on bikes? Did I ever say I was endangered? WTF is your problem?


    "Badger_South" <Badger@South.net> wrote in message
    news:p46um09m70ujt19ipes5vnvhs0i5q6ghru@4ax.com...
    > On Thu, 14 Oct 2004 21:22:31 GMT, "Fred Hall" <fhall1@twcny.rr.com> wrote:
    >
    > >When to honk:
    > >
    > >When you want to see how quickly a person can remove one hand from the

    drops
    > >and raise the middle finger of said hand high in the air...
    > >---
    > >But seriously...about a month ago while driving I came up behind four

    guys
    > >probably my age (late forties) on a two lane country road, ambling along

    at
    > >probably 10 - 12 mph (no spandex to be seen), gabbing to each other, 4
    > >abreast - 2 in each lane...they took their sweet time, gave me a dirty

    look
    > >for daring to be on the same road with them, then the two in the "wrong"
    > >(passing) lane moved over so I had to go in the passing lane to get by
    > >them...stretching out single file never seemed to occur to them. Being a
    > >cyclist I didn't lay on the horn, but I sure wanted to...it's actions

    like
    > >that that give us all a bad reputation.

    >
    > Sounds like a troll. Did they impede you for more than, say 3 seconds

    tops?
    >
    > Did they endanger you in your 2 ton metal cage? Poor thing.
    >
    > Urge to beep isn't related to anything about reputation or justification;
    > it's just anger that something small and vulnerable asserted momentary
    > dominance.
    >
    > -B
    >
    >
     
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