How do you handle aggressive drivers while on the road?

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by SulseP, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    Maybe you miss my point. I don't advocate it, I just don't believe it worth the time debating the acceptance of it, and it goes back more than 30 years. We all make our choices and then live with them. I ride for self fullfillment , not confrontation.
     


  2. Chavez

    Chavez New Member

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    I tend to view it as when you shoot the finger at someone, suddenly they feel THEY'RE the aggrieved party - "I passed this guy on a bike and he flipped me off for totally no reason!" when the real scenario was the car came up behind you, kept laying on the horn, and finally ran you off the road etc.
     
  3. vspa

    vspa Active Member

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    yesterday this person didn't survive to tell the story [​IMG] Uploaded with ImageShack.us
     
  4. Dave Cutter

    Dave Cutter Active Member

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    Sorry for those who pass and those they leave behind to mourn.

    But I don't exactly get the point. We all know and accept that there is an element of risk involved with cycling. Certainly... it might be safer to practice bowling as a sport. And at such time I feel the risk from cycling is unexceptionable enough... I might switch to bowling.

    But I sometimes think people confuse the risk. Your [mine, everyones] risk of dieing is 100%. We will all [sooner or later] die. Our behavior on a bicycle only effects todays risk (more or less).

    If I have to die today... I'd rather go while at peace with the world, with a hot dog in my hand, clutching my chest, in a bowling alley. Than I would on a public roadway screaming, cursing, and making obscene gestures. Or better yet.... I'd rather go while pedaling my butt off with the wind in my face. I love the feelings I get when cycling... (but I hate the pissing contests some think cycling should be).

    But, then again... that's just me. Your feelings could be different... and are not any less correct.
     
  5. Hugh Juunit

    Hugh Juunit Member

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    Wow, here is a huge collection of sentimental nonsense! The only thing that matters at the moment are physical laws - put distance an barriers between you and threats to your hide.

    Ignoring aggressive driving is just enabling - your acts of charity and goodwill simply enable the driver to continue their behavior. Whatever response you have afterward is pointless. It cannot prevent past behavior, they chose to be an ass before you were even aware. More to the point, small acts and gestures will quickly be forgotten. Rude and aggressive drivers do at least acknowledge your existence - so at least you know you are not a ghost riding down the street.

    Want to stop cagers from encroaching on your space? Make yourself a threat to them. I drag road spikes painted bright orange a few feet behind my bike and have bars sticking out a few feet on each side of my rack. I also have a skunk scent bottle to provide an aromatic warning. I wear blaze orange hunting clothes and have an rotating yellow warning light attached to my hat. I installed a PA system on the rear rack and announce "Please make way, bicyclist coming" every few hundred feet. As I ride I swerve irregularly to alert drivers of my presence.

    Even with all these precautions I still get hit. Yesterday a car coming out of an alley struck my bike. I got mad and kicked the car which cracked its engine block. The driver was surprised and got out and started some beef with me. He says "Are you crazy" - "Oh heck yes" I responded via my PA system. Then I started twitching and foaming at the mouth, I staggered over to the driver and mumbled "help me, its starting" over and over again. I drooled all over his hand - he was holding his nose - I guess the skunk scent broke. He ran off after I started convulsing and dry heaving on the ground. I guess he learned his lesson - justice eh?
     
  6. Hugh Juunit

    Hugh Juunit Member

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    (double post)
     
  7. InfinityMPG

    InfinityMPG New Member

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    haha, that's the way to do it

    On the finger topic, I routinely use the middle finger to say "hello" to children and the elderly. It is my custom. So I do not understand the hostility.
    [sarcasm yes]

    Now for the OP question, though I commute by bike every day, very luckily I have not had an altercation in months. Howeva, In former incidents I've been consistent even despite being angry or shocked. All I do is the "What?" arm expression. Just one hand off the bars, palm up:
    [​IMG]
    I don't normally wear SWAT gear while cycling. This is just an example.

    On one occasion when someone yelled at me I did the "What?" signal, but then caught up to them and used my phone to take a picture of their plates, like Alienator mentioned. I think filming or picture taking is the best recourse. You can see what they did and what you did and decide if the Police need to get involved. But the fewer incidents the better. I take pride in riding in places that stereotypically hate cyclists but minimizing incidents.

    One occasion I'm not proud of involved the finger, because I made the choice to use it. I was riding on a four-lane road with no shoulder, staying as right as was safe, and a woman passed close next to me in a van and started yelling at me, windows up of course. Uh, I can't hear you. At first I said, "what?" but she just kept yelling, so I decided to throw the finger. Nothing came of it, but like has been talked about here, that is a dangerous move. No one is justified in reacting poorly to the finger and seeing the finger is a poor excuse to lose control, but the type of person who would yell at a cyclist could easily become the type to swirve right and take me out like Euro car versus Juan Flecha. Anger and fight or flight might be hardwired, but responses like the finger are cultural. It's a choice, and there's no discussions on the road unless you catch up at the next light.
     
  8. BridgeNotTunnel

    BridgeNotTunnel New Member

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    "




    "I live in New York City and SOMETIMES can't help but use a "one finger turning signal"...."

    the important word being sometimes, implying infrequently.

    often it's a driver of a yellow cab, or "black car", these aren't often piloted by grandma, or 7yr olds. Adn the cab drivers drive most dangerously when without a fare.

    Also, thanks but, im aware that car > bike

    i've commuted through midtown manhattan for over a year.

    it's likely the volume of aggressive traffic i've had to handle is above the national average.

    Also, if everyone in this city decided that the middle finger was worth getting violent over, the violent crime rate would grow exponentially overnight.

    Mostly I use my smile tactic and I realize I do the shrug described above, usually for people who "warning honk".
     
  9. Chavez

    Chavez New Member

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    Usually if it's just a tap-honk, I assume the person is being polite, giving a "hey, I'm here" warning - which about 99.9% of the time I KNOW the car is there, but no prob.

    When someone is laying on the horn, it's time for the whiskey tango shrug.
     
  10. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    Rather hear a warning honk than an ending bonk.
     
  11. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    I've no issue with a short honk. To prevent ending bonks, I make sure to have carbs available on longer rides.
     
  12. trinogt

    trinogt New Member

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    I have a hard enough time driving a motor vehicle on the road for two minutes without encountering someone breaking the law. Red light runners are huge here. Also, I don't think I have ever seen a single person actually stop at a stop sign. Then there are those who never signal to turn or change lanes. Just yesterday, a guy in a truck pulled into traffic right in front of me while I was cruising along in the left lane, never accelerated, and just whipped back into a left turn a block ahead, no signals to show intent. So many people here just really think they are the only ones on the road.
    I always try to set an example. I never speed, I never turn or change lanes without a turn signal, and I always stop at stop signs and never enter an intersection when the light is red. Does this help promote other to do the right thing? I don't know, I haven't seen anything change yet. Should I just be like all the rest and give up driving 'legally'? No, I can't do it. Been driving too long to walk away from doing what is right.
    Pertaining to cycling, my town is not set up for cyclists. No bicycle lanes, hardly even a shoulder to ride on. I have to load up my bike on my truck and drive thirty minutes to an hour to get to a bicycle trail. But once I get there, things are peaceful! Cars are not allowed to drive on them, and other cyclists and joggers are a non-issue. Sure, it is inconvenient, and it costs money in gas and takes extra time, but it sure beats the dangers of sharing the road with cars. (Which I still do anyway, otherwise I wouldn't get my exercise).
     
  13. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    I just finished a vacation down in Florida. No kidding, in the first two hours I was there, I saw 1 near miss and 1 cyclist hit (non serious) by a car. In both cases the rider was on the sidewalk crossing an alley and the drivers were coming out of the alley. Neither the cyclists nor the drivers were paying particularly close attention to safety or other traffic. In general the drivers were pretty bad, either too slow and random or too fast - I found no particularly friendly cycling roads during my stay as I prefer more rural long stretches of road. Perhaps because we were in mostly tourist areas.

    We were also treated to some infamous Florida wierdness. On our way from the airport we saw and gentleman chauffering his lovely wife riding tandem on an electric mobility scooter. He gave her the seat (she needed all of it) and he was seated on a cooler in front of her; that looked comfortable.


    Oh and the short honk - I like that. Its a sign that the driver notices you and is concerned for your safety. Around here it is usually followed by a mutual wave. There are more bike friendly drivers here than unfriendly.
     
  14. trinogt

    trinogt New Member

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    Where were you at when you were here? Yes, it is that bad... Slow and random, fast and careless, you name it, it is horrible. There isn't much left about Florida to like, other than beaches, theme parks, and mild winter weather. The drivers, the summer sweltering humid heat, education system, roads; all suck. For a large part, most people here have no class. I am surrounded by rednecks where I am at, not the most pleasureable.
    The only bad drivers here are the old people, the young people, the men, and the women. the rest I have to say are ok. ;)
     
  15. Chavez

    Chavez New Member

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    I drove a beer truck for 12 yrs, and when people are complaining about cars not respecting bikes and doing this or that yadda yadda, that it was my experience while driving something as big as a house that could eradicate a standard car while barely getting a scratch on the bumper, that a large percentage of drivers don't respect ANY other vehicles - it doesn't matter if you're on two wheels or 18.
     
  16. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Replace "drivers" with "people" and we'll start getting at the root of why this happens.
     
  17. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

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    "Me" society. Self esteem has been over taught to the detriment of humble service.
     
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