Right approach to dangerous driver behavior?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Dan Cosley, Aug 12, 2003.

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  1. Dan Cosley

    Dan Cosley Guest

    I've been having a larger-than-usual number of unpleasant-to- potentially-dangerous encounters with
    motorists recently. This involves verbal stuff, which usually I can shrug off. However, it also
    sometimes involves being cut off or squeezed off the road, and this I find harder to just let go.
    I'm trying to train myself to get license/vehicle numbers rather than just be scared, but:

    1) Is it worth getting license numbers of cars? Trucks?
    2) What else (if anything) do you do about bad driver behavior?

    -- Dan

    --
    Dan Cosley ([email protected] * http://www.cs.umn.edu/~cosley/) GroupLens Research
    Lab, Univ of MN (http://movielens.umn.edu/ * 612.624.8372) *** Just a foot soldier in the Army
    of Truth ***
     
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  2. Dan Cosley wrote:
    >
    > I've been having a larger-than-usual number of unpleasant-to- potentially-dangerous encounters
    > with motorists recently. This involves verbal stuff, which usually I can shrug off. However, it
    > also sometimes involves being cut off or squeezed off the road, and this I find harder to just let
    > go. I'm trying to train myself to get license/vehicle numbers rather than just be scared, but:
    >
    > 1) Is it worth getting license numbers of cars? Trucks?
    > 2) What else (if anything) do you do about bad driver behavior?
    >
    > -- Dan
    >

    Today, I started carrying a little notebook in my jersey pocket on my commute. It is a "wet notes"
    book, which is a coated paper that is waterproof. You can get it at marine stores. I started
    carrying it because the same car leaned on the horn and gave me the finger for the fourth time
    (six-lane road, light traffic, I was in the right half of the right lane). I will now have a dated
    log of such occurences. If it ever does get serious, which I doubt, the log will be important.

    Today, I wrote down the first license plate number, a description of the car, and the driver's
    actions. I've decided not to just shrug things off anymore, if I can tell people what they did
    wrong, and why it is wrong, I will. If you address them by their license plate number, it has a
    surprising calming effect. I bet that if you obviously write it down as well, it will be even more
    effective. Unfortunately, this state doesn't require front license plates, so I can't always do it.

    As far as having the larger-than-usual number of encounters lately, I find that I feel that way at
    times, and it is probably just the statistics of small numbers. The events are rare anyway, only a
    few times a year usually, so if I get a few in a month I notice. It is probably just chance.

    Stergios
     
  3. In article <[email protected]>, Dan Cosley <[email protected]> wrote:
    >I've been having a larger-than-usual number of unpleasant-to- potentially-dangerous encounters with
    >motorists recently. This involves verbal stuff, which usually I can shrug off. However, it also
    >sometimes involves being cut off or squeezed off the road, and this I find harder to just let go.
    >I'm trying to train myself to get license/vehicle numbers rather than just be scared, but:
    >
    >1) Is it worth getting license numbers of cars? Trucks?

    Not for every slight you receive on the road, but for anything serious, definitely.

    >2) What else (if anything) do you do about bad driver behavior?

    That depends on a judgement call - whether you think you can either reason with or intimidate the
    driver. They wield the ultimate threat of force, which limits your options somewhat.

    If you actually got hurt due to driver misbehavior and intend to do anything about it (and can
    identify the car/driver) the next thing you'd want is a witness.

    --Paul
     
  4. Robin Hubert

    Robin Hubert Guest

    "Dan Cosley" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I've been having a larger-than-usual number of unpleasant-to- potentially-dangerous encounters
    > with motorists recently. This involves verbal stuff, which usually I can shrug off. However, it
    > also sometimes involves being cut off or squeezed off the road, and this I find harder to just let
    > go. I'm trying to train myself to get license/vehicle numbers rather than just be scared, but:
    >
    > 1) Is it worth getting license numbers of cars? Trucks?
    > 2) What else (if anything) do you do about bad driver behavior?
    >

    Getting the license is good, in case there is a real incident.

    I treat them the same way I treat the wild, uncontrolled kids of some mom's I see in (pick your)
    public places. I do my best to put them in their place. In my opinion, it's my duty and
    responsibility as a Citizen of the USA to police my own behavior and also of those around me. If
    some asshole is screwing up in my presence, I let 'em know that it's noticed, and that it's
    disaproved of by me and others. In regards to bicycling, if a motorist tries to sqeeze me I'll yell
    first and thump their car if I must. If I catch them at a stop I'll give them an earfull. There are
    a lot of spoiled brats out there who've been coddled and believe that no-one can tell them what to
    do or how to behave, or certainly not reprimand them for bad behavior. In fact, they were taught
    that by permissive parents and a weak public school system.

    Only once in 5 years with this behavior have I had to reach for my weapon. That's as far as it went.

    As of recent, I've take to giving the bird to any asshole with a super-thumper sound system. If I
    get any flack, I ask them, "This is what you're saying to me and the rest of the world, isn't it?
    Here's back at ya!"

    Oh, no, we must be afraid of everyone and rely on the coppers to protect us! LOL!

    --
    Robin Hubert <[email protected]
     
  5. Chris B .

    Chris B . Guest

    On Tue, 12 Aug 2003 09:38:08 -0400, Stergios Papadakis <[email protected]> wrote:

    <snip>

    >Today, I started carrying a little notebook in my jersey pocket on my commute. It is a "wet notes"
    >book, which is a coated paper that is waterproof. You can get it at marine stores. I started
    >carrying it because the same car leaned on the horn and gave me the finger for the fourth time
    >(six-lane road, light traffic, I was in the right half of the right lane). I will now have a dated
    >log of such occurences. If it ever does get serious, which I doubt, the log will be important.

    If you have been harassed on the road four times by the same person, the situation already is
    serious. Report this to the police now and again following any further incidents. Insist on a
    report. The police will want to do as little as possible of course, but it is important that you
    establish a real paper trail now rather than after the sociopath hits you.

    By the way, the car didn't do anything, there is (purportedly) a human behind the wheel and they are
    supposed to be responsible for their actions. Please don't absolve them of responsibility by saying
    that their car is the one harassing you.

    --
    Chris Bird
     
  6. Rivermist

    Rivermist Guest

    I agree with much of what you say, including your opinion that we can't rely on the police for much.

    However, I wouldn't recommend that others follow your example of giving the finger to people just
    because their stereo is too loud or regularly carrying a weapon.

    "Robin Hubert" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Dan Cosley" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > I've been having a larger-than-usual number of unpleasant-to- potentially-dangerous encounters
    > > with motorists recently. This involves verbal stuff, which usually I can shrug off. However,
    > > it also sometimes involves being cut off or squeezed off the road, and this I find harder to
    > > just let go. I'm trying to train myself to get license/vehicle numbers rather than just be
    > > scared, but:
    > >
    > > 1) Is it worth getting license numbers of cars? Trucks?
    > > 2) What else (if anything) do you do about bad driver behavior?
    > >
    >
    > Getting the license is good, in case there is a real incident.
    >
    > I treat them the same way I treat the wild, uncontrolled kids of some
    mom's
    > I see in (pick your) public places. I do my best to put them in their place. In my opinion, it's
    > my duty and responsibility as a Citizen of the USA to police my own behavior and also of those
    > around me. If some
    asshole
    > is screwing up in my presence, I let 'em know that it's noticed, and that it's disaproved of by me
    > and others. In regards to bicycling, if a
    motorist
    > tries to sqeeze me I'll yell first and thump their car if I must. If I catch them at a stop I'll
    > give them an earfull. There are a lot of
    spoiled
    > brats out there who've been coddled and believe that no-one can tell them what to do or how to
    > behave, or certainly not reprimand them for bad behavior. In fact, they were taught that by
    > permissive parents and a weak public school system.
    >
    > Only once in 5 years with this behavior have I had to reach for my weapon. That's as far as
    > it went.
    >
    > As of recent, I've take to giving the bird to any asshole with a super-thumper sound system. If I
    > get any flack, I ask them, "This is what you're saying to me and the rest of the world, isn't it?
    > Here's back at ya!"
    >
    > Oh, no, we must be afraid of everyone and rely on the coppers to protect
    us!
    > LOL!
    >
    >
    >
    > --
    > Robin Hubert <[email protected]>
     
  7. On Tue, 12 Aug 2003 12:59:11 +0000, Dan Cosley wrote:

    > 1) Is it worth getting license numbers of cars? Trucks? 2) What else (if anything) do you do about
    > bad driver behavior?

    As has been mentioned, shrug off what you can. Too many complaints would indicate to the police or
    whoever that the problem lies somehow with you. Most dangerous driving is a result of a driver
    mistake -- not something deliberate. Have you never done something behind the wheel that has
    resulted in a close call?

    But what really works with trucks or busses, anything with a company name on the vehicle, is to not
    call the police, but to call the company. They know who was driving that truck at that time, and you
    can bet that, if the issue is serious, that driver will have himself a new attitude at the end of
    his shift. I did this with a campus shuttle bus that buzzed by me with inadequate clearance. I
    simply reminded the bus service that they have to give adequate clearance when passing any vehicle,
    even a bike. Since then I have been given plenty of clearance by those busses.

    --

    David L. Johnson

    __o | Enron's slogan: Respect, Communication, Integrity, and _`\(,_ | Excellence. (_)/ (_) |
     
  8. Rivermist

    Rivermist Guest

    I have had some close calls myself lately, including one yesterday at, of all places, Stone Mountain
    Park near Atlanta, where a driver attempted to turn right from the left lane and had to slam on the
    brakes to not hit me.

    Lately I have had the feeling that my luck is running out. I am afraid that eventually one of them
    will get me.

    "Dan Cosley" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I've been having a larger-than-usual number of unpleasant-to- potentially-dangerous encounters
    > with motorists recently. This involves verbal stuff, which usually I can shrug off. However, it
    > also sometimes involves being cut off or squeezed off the road, and this I find harder to just let
    > go. I'm trying to train myself to get license/vehicle numbers rather than just be scared, but:
    >
    > 1) Is it worth getting license numbers of cars? Trucks?
    > 2) What else (if anything) do you do about bad driver behavior?
    >
    > -- Dan
    >
    > --
    > Dan Cosley ([email protected] * http://www.cs.umn.edu/~cosley/) GroupLens Research Lab,
    > Univ of MN (http://movielens.umn.edu/ *
    612.624.8372)
    > *** Just a foot soldier in the Army of Truth ***
     
  9. R15757

    R15757 Guest

    the proper response to bad driver behavior is cool stoicism. Freaking out when drivers mess up or
    act with deliberate malevolence is a sign that the rider holds unrealistic expectations about riding
    in traffic. The proper time to freak out is when drivers start acting properly.

    Robert
     
  10. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (R15757) writes:

    > Freaking out when drivers mess up or act with deliberate malevolence is a sign that the rider
    > holds unrealistic expectations about riding in traffic.

    Spoken like a true bike courier ;-)

    cheers, & time is money, Tom

    --
    -- Powered by FreeBSD Above address is just a spam midden. I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn
    [point] bc [point] ca
     
  11. Doug Purdy

    Doug Purdy Guest

    "Chris B." <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > On Tue, 12 Aug 2003 09:38:08 -0400, Stergios Papadakis <[email protected]> wrote: If you
    > have been harassed on the road four times by the same person, the situation already is serious.
    > Report this to the police now and again following any further incidents. Insist on a report. The
    > police will want to do as little as possible of course, but it is important that you establish a
    > real paper trail now rather than after the sociopath hits you.

    Absolutely, at four times by the same person, a call to the police is past due. Assuming of course
    that you are by now sure it isn't someone you know pulling your leg or trying to say hello.

    Some drivers have made up their own rules of the road and get quite put out that others haven't read
    their minds. Chances are they're aggressively harassing others too. Do everyone, other drivers,
    pedestrians, etc a favor and get that rolling time bomb off the road ASAP.

    Doug Toronto
     
  12. ad6mj

    ad6mj New Member

    Joined:
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    1) Not usually.
    2) Spark Plugs ;)
     
  13. Mark Jones

    Mark Jones Guest

    "Dan Cosley" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I've been having a larger-than-usual number of unpleasant-to- potentially-dangerous encounters
    > with motorists recently. This involves verbal stuff, which usually I can shrug off. However, it
    > also sometimes involves being cut off or squeezed off the road, and this I find harder to just let
    > go. I'm trying to train myself to get license/vehicle numbers rather than just be scared, but:
    >
    > 1) Is it worth getting license numbers of cars? Trucks?
    > 2) What else (if anything) do you do about bad driver behavior?
    This happens to me on a frequent basis, even when I am in my 4x4 truck. People are constantly
    cutting in front of me to take an exit, even when there is nobody for quite some distance behind me.
    I drive in a fairly calm manner, at a steady speed to avoid this nonsense, and it still happens.

    This is a primary reason why I avoid the streets during rush hour. We had a bicycle rider get run
    over from behind yesterday morning, about 1 mile from where I work. There are a lot of drivers who
    act like they have a death wish and they don't care who they take with them.
     
  14. Dan Cosley <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]:

    > I've been having a larger-than-usual number of unpleasant-to- potentially-dangerous encounters
    > with motorists recently. This involves verbal stuff, which usually I can shrug off. However, it
    > also sometimes involves being cut off or squeezed off the road, and this I find harder to just let
    > go. I'm trying to train myself to get license/vehicle numbers rather than just be scared, but:
    >
    > 1) Is it worth getting license numbers of cars? Trucks?
    > 2) What else (if anything) do you do about bad driver behavior?
    >
    > -- Dan
    >

    This reminds me of a funny story. One time, me and two buddies were riding out of a subdivision
    towards an intersection. A white truck pulls up along side us as we are approaching the
    intersection. We are in single file, but apparently this wasn't good enough. So, the @$$h0l3
    squeezes us into the grass. My friend bangs on the side of this redneck's truck *hard*. So the guy
    turns the corner and shows us what a [email protected]$$ he is by peeling out. My friend shouts some stuff at
    him and the guy slams on his brakes. He gets out of the truck and runs around the front. By this
    time my friend is off his bike, ready to throw down. The hillbilly takes a swing at him, but he
    blocks it easily. Its about this time that the guy realizes he made a *big* mistake. My friend was
    about 5" taller and a good 20-30lbs. heavier than this pipsqueak mullet boy. So, like any pussy, he
    runs back to his truck to take off. My buddy starts taking off his cycling shoes. Then he shouts,
    "Oh, don't go anywhere!!! This party's just starting!!!" But the idiot starts to peal out anyway. So
    my friend throws his shoe at the side of the d00ds truck, putting a *huge* dent in it. The guy stops
    his truck, reaches in the glove box, and pulls out a .45 The guy aims it at us and yells "You want
    some of this!!!???" My friend didn't even flinch. But the guy's redneck girlfriend is freaking out.
    She's grabbing his arm and telling him to calm down. So, he does what any good mullet would do, and
    bitchslaps her. Thus continuing the cycle of spousal abuse which is, no doubt, part of their
    heritage. I bet you can guess what happens next. Yep, he chickens out, peals out, and continues
    taking it out on his she-mullet.

    Afterwards we had a good laugh, but it was pretty scary at the time. My friend in the scuffle has
    since stopped riding. When I went over to pick up a bunch of free cycling stuff I asked him why. He
    said he'd had enough of the hostility on the roads.

    Can't say I blame him.

    - Boyd S.

    ps. In all the excitement, we forgot to get the guys license plate number. Oh well, what goes around
    comes around.
     
  15. Mark Jones

    Mark Jones Guest

    "Stergios Papadakis" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Today, I started carrying a little notebook in my jersey pocket on my commute. It is a "wet notes"
    > book, which is a coated paper that is waterproof. You can get it at marine stores.
    You should be able to find these at any store that sells surveying supplies.
     
  16. Mark

    Mark Guest

    "Dan Cosley" wrote ...
    > I've been having a larger-than-usual number of unpleasant-to- potentially-dangerous encounters
    > with motorists recently. This involves verbal stuff, which usually I can shrug off. However, it
    > also sometimes involves being cut off or squeezed off the road, and this I find harder to just let
    > go. I'm trying to train myself to get license/vehicle numbers rather than just be scared, but:
    >
    > 1) Is it worth getting license numbers of cars? Trucks?
    > 2) What else (if anything) do you do about bad driver behavior?
    >
    > -- Dan

    Along with the notepad, carry a cell phone. If you can give a calm, objective description of the
    incident immediately after it happened, making it pretty obvious that some traffic law was violated,
    you have a much better chance of persuading the police to act. Use some discretion here. If the
    incident is over and done with and you are no longer in any danger, calling 911 will be
    counterproductive. In this case, call the non-emergency phone number for your county's
    police/fire/ambulance dispatch center. I have numbers in my cell phone directory for state, county,
    and various local law enforcement agencies just for this kind of thing.

    With commercial vehicles, a call to the business can be very effective. Vehicle numbers can be more
    useful than license numbers if the business is big enough to own several vehicles. If you can't get
    a vehicle number or license number, sometimes a description of the vehicle along with location of
    the incident and time of day will let the employer deduce which driver was involved. If the company
    takes this sort of thing seriously, they will call you back and ask questions trying to get a
    clearer picture of what happened.
    --
    mark
     
  17. Doug Purdy

    Doug Purdy Guest

    "Boyd Speerschneider" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Dan Cosley <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]: The guy stops his
    > truck, reaches in the glove box, and pulls out a .45 The guy aims it at us and yells "You want
    > some of this!!!???"
    > ps. In all the excitement, we forgot to get the guys license plate number.

    Nice job. A description would have been a start. I wonder how many people he's shot since you all
    decided not to bother reporting it.
     
  18. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "Dan Cosley" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I've been having a larger-than-usual number of unpleasant-to- potentially-dangerous encounters
    > with motorists recently. This involves verbal stuff, which usually I can shrug off. However, it
    > also sometimes involves being cut off or squeezed off the road, and this I find harder to just let
    > go. I'm trying to train myself to get license/vehicle numbers rather than just be scared, but:
    >
    > 1) Is it worth getting license numbers of cars? Trucks?
    > 2) What else (if anything) do you do about bad driver behavior?

    My state (MA) has an on-line complaint form that you can fill out. Supposedly, all complaints stay
    on someone's record. You might see what your state offers.
     
  19. "Doug Purdy" <[email protected]> wrote in news:YZi_a.179279$rsJ.150483
    @news04.bloor.is.net.cable.rogers.com:

    > "Boyd Speerschneider" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >> Dan Cosley <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]: The guy stops his
    >> truck, reaches in the glove box, and pulls out a .45 The guy aims it at us and yells "You want
    >> some of this!!!???"
    >> ps. In all the excitement, we forgot to get the guys license plate number.
    >
    > Nice job. A description would have been a start. I wonder how many people he's shot since you all
    > decided not to bother reporting it.

    A big white truck F150 wiht tinted windows, a redneck driving it, and Bucs, confederate flag, and
    Dale Ernheart "3" stickers on the back window.

    Gee, there couldn't be more than a few hundred thousand of trucks fitting that description in the
    Tampa Bay area.

    Its easy to ridicule me now, but I wonder if you would have remembered to get the license plate # if
    someone waved a gun in your face.

    Besides, he was a pussy redneck; relatively harmless. He hasn't killed anyone yet, except for maybe
    his wife or kids. Remember, empty barrels make the most noise.

    - Boyd S.
     
  20. Pat

    Pat Guest

    x-no-archive: yes
    > >
    > > I've been having a larger-than-usual number of unpleasant-to- potentially-dangerous encounters
    > > with motorists recently. This involves verbal stuff, which usually I can shrug off. However,
    > > it also sometimes involves being cut off or squeezed off the road, and this I find harder to
    > > just let go. I'm trying to train myself to get license/vehicle numbers rather than just be
    > > scared, but:
    > >
    > > 1) Is it worth getting license numbers of cars? Trucks?
    > > 2) What else (if anything) do you do about bad driver behavior?
    > >
    > > -- Dan

    I just went through some unpleasantness with a neighbor who would stand outside and curse at me.
    When talking about it to a police officer, he said, "Why didn't you call in a report for "disorderly
    conduct"? I didn't know there was such a thing, but it would also seem to apply in your situation.
    The officer said, "People can't just curse at you and create dangerous situations with impunity."
    The Disorderly Conduct citation here in Texas is like a traffic ticket, kind of, but the first time
    it costs $48. Then, the second time, the fine goes up to $200, he told me. So, it gets their
    attention quick!

    I suggest you call your local police and ask them if the same possibility is in place at
    your location.

    Pat in TX
     
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