When Cycling Safely Inspires Road Rage

Discussion in 'Commuting and Road Safety' started by mdpowers22, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. mdpowers22

    mdpowers22 New Member

    Oct 23, 2013
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    I bike to work 10 miles through urban downtown Boston. I was on the way home today and got caught behind traffic at a light. I saw no opportunities to filter due to cars stopped too close together.

    A guy behind me in a sedan sees this as the perfect opportunity to give me his opinion. "Why don't you ride on the fucking sidewalk dude." I've read that this is a common occurrence, but after almost a year of riding, this is the first time I have encountered an irate motorist.

    I looked at him, waved, and we moved forward, but the light changed again. He said that I didn't belong in the road, and encouraged his young daughter in the back seat to yell out as well. She did so, and sought approval from her father. "Did you hear what I told him, daddy?"

    He told me I had no right to be on the road with cars, and belonged in a bike lane or on the sidewalk. At this point I should mention traffic was stopped, and I had not delayed or impeded anyone in my travels, and was simply waiting for the light to change.

    I informed him calmly of my right. The light changed to green. He said, "Next time i'll make sure to clip you and send you home in a body bag." As we were traveling forward, he merged left at the fork, and I merged right and I yelled "fuck you," not even necessarily looking at him. I was pretty angry.

    Looking back, I probably wouldn't have even reacted to him. Its difficult to educate someone about the law when they clearly just want to pick a fight. Whatever his reasoning, threatening to kill someone with a young daughter in the car is never OK. I could have told him that biking on the sidewalk is slower, and more dangerous then biking in the right lane, or that I can go as fast as city traffic.

    Its difficult, because in these situations we want to teach someone a lesson, but in the end it may be better to just ignore them and keep to yourself.


  2. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

    Feb 19, 2011
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    I had that a few times my self. Not just whilst cycling.

    Basically, as you said, the best thing to do is to ignore them. I, unfortunately, gained that knowledge after a few fights...

    There is also the other option, whilst ignoring them make a note of their traffic plates and then when you got some time to spare make a visit to "da police" and file a complaint. When the police processes it there might be something else against the guy and they might go after him. Most likely nothing will happen. They might call him to ask him his opinion about the incident (around here he -has- to go and answer if you file a complaint). Then you go to the police again to hear his answer from the police. A bit of a waste of time actually if you dont have to see the guy again, as in if he was your neighbour or something. You can also sue for swearing but then you might need witnesses, lawyers etc... A bit of a waste of time IMO though.

    Best thing is just to avoid them... and forget about the incident.

    Next time you wanna "punch a hole in his car", "punch him", "burn his windshield wipers", "swear at him" etc, count to 100 first... These are usually anger induced rashed reactions. You do indeed feel better afterwards, as in you got back to him, but the feeling dont last and you kinda lose your own "righteousness" on the incident. Plus then he might have something to complain to the police against you.

    One other thing is that. You have to understand that certain not very experienced in various situations, or very travelled, or educated or etc individuals might indeed see you and think you are "crazy" or a even "a bad person" when they see you doing a "wild thing" like commuting by bike on the road whilst they had to work 10years to buy a car and spend their whole paycheck on gas so the others "like him" would think he is "normal" etc... These people have not the same mentality with you and its very unlikely that you will get some quality communication.

    At the moment I only had one crash lately with a girl crossing a red light and running into me. I called the police. Police did not show up. I left. Apparently the police around here only gets involved if there is a need for an ambulance on the scene, which I wish you, you wont get into such a situation.

    Good luck [​IMG]

    oh an btw: [​IMG]

  3. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

    Feb 5, 2010
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    There are arseholes everywhere, in cars, walking, driving trucks and yes riding bikes. Get a "action" video camera and record the next such outburst - if there is one.

    I bought a camera for riding this year with the intention of capturing a lot of hostility and making a mash up of it - but only had one drive by shouting. I guess people are afraid of being recorded.
  4. Clairelouise84

    Clairelouise84 New Member

    Mar 11, 2015
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    He sounds like a D bag, if you were doing nothing wrong then he was just being an angry little man. You did very well not to resort to violence and no, threatening violence and murder with a kid in the car is just low and it makes you an aggressive little scumbag. I understand your anger I really do but people like him have the inside track on aggression and you don't want to be anything like him.
  5. Catsyo

    Catsyo New Member

    May 6, 2015
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    I haven't been riding for very long so this hasn't really happened to me but I have witnessed it before.

    I used to have this roommate who was one of those guys who thought he lived in the world of "The Fast and the Furious." He was always souping up his Honda and driving it super obnoxiously. A few summers ago, we were driving down the street when we encountered a family riding in front of us. Their group looked like a mom and dad plus two little boys who looked about 8 or so. They looked to be having a leisurely ride down our street and while they didn't get immediately out of the middle of the lane, it appeared that they were looking for a good place to pull over. My roommate was fuming in the driver seat, cussing up a storm, and told me he was gonna roll down his window to yell at them.

    I told him that was probably a bad idea. He started complaining about how bikes belong on the sidewalk but I mentioned how sidewalks aren't always even, often have cracks and are usually used by people and animals so they're not the safest place to ride. I think he got tired of me arguing with him but at least he didn't yell.
  6. Dora M

    Dora M Member

    Feb 20, 2015
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    Excuse me, but that sounds like one stressed-out, neurotic city dweller. It's hard to ignore such pains in the a**, but you have to in order to not get stressed yourself and make some silly mistake on the road that could injure you. It's hard enough to maneuver your way through heavy city traffic, you don't need any extra tension. I think it's futile to start any arguments. It will only drain your energy. As for the little girl, well, she'll grow up and make up her own mind.
  7. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

    Oct 6, 2003
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    This is an old thread but if anyone else has a similar encounter just respond in a firm but calm voice. " I am federal agent working undercover and I would appreciate you not drawing any undue attention to me". Then scrutinize him and his vehicle by looking into the windows and be sure to appear to take down his license number.
    BrickTamland likes this.
  8. TheBoss0567

    TheBoss0567 New Member

    Apr 19, 2015
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    This ^ Is absolutely perfect. I'm contemplating whether or not it is actually a formidable idea to implement.
  9. BikeBikeBikeBike

    BikeBikeBikeBike Well-Known Member

    May 19, 2015
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    I love Volnix's point about "normal."
    Where I am (Ontario Canada) cyclists are legally obligated to ride on the road and are considered a vehicle. Riding on the sidewalk is a offence that you can receive a ticket for. Plus riding on the sidewalk is very dangerous/obnoxious to pedestrians.
    This of course matters not a lick to drivers. They will curse you out and try and maim you for reasons I cannot understand (I drive a car as well and having to slow down a little bit and take an extra half a minute to pass a bike is not at all the end of my day.)
    I also live in a very car-centric area, where anyone who cycles on the road is assumed to either be a deadbeat or someone who cannot hold a clean license.
    For some reason unbeknownst to me, driving a V8 gas-guzzler with one occupant 5km to 10km to and from work is considered normal behavior. I even get comments from people as to why I drive an old and small car (1992 Toyota 250K and running strong) and not a big truck. Most people assume I either have that car or a bike because I am too poor to afford an alternative, that I MUST be saving up for a down payment on a brand new Ford 150. Funny thing is I most likely have more cash in the bank than these people, since I buy all my cars/bikes cash in hand.

    I think the real issue is all these motorist are just really angry inside, because they feel obligated to be "normal" which means working long hours for a big unnecessarily vehicle. While having no energy because they don't get enough exercise.
    Then they see us, fit and vibrant riding along and they just can't take it!
  10. Henrywrites

    Henrywrites Member

    Feb 12, 2018
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    This is simply not right as they should have to show some form of respect to every one of you that is riding in that area. I have never had this experience and would do something with anger to any motorist that tries such on me.
  11. Corzhens

    Corzhens Well-Known Member

    May 26, 2015
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    It depends on your position in the road during a traffic stop. I am a rider and also a driver. When I am driving, I am peeved when the rider tries to inch his way between cars because when a scratch happens, it is a problem. When the rider just stops and waits for the light to turn green, I prefer that. However, being grouchy with a rider and telling him not to be on the road with cars is certainly rude. That is uncalled for and can result in an altercation.

    I had posted in another thread about the altercation between a car driver and a bike rider. The argument led to a fist fight that was handily won by the rider since he was bigger and stronger. As the car was about to leave, the rider taunted the driver. Surprisingly, the car driver had a gun and shot dead the rider.
  12. DenisP

    DenisP Member

    Apr 13, 2018
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    Man, my hands got sweaty and heart started racing just while reading that. I honestly got angry on your behalf.

    It’s pretty baffling how downright dimwitted and arrogant some people are capable of being. Were I in the situation I would’ve kindly informed him that it’s actually illegal for me to ride on the sidewalk which is why I’ve been forced onto the road when there aren’t bike lanes. I try to be calm and compassionate to these sorts of people, but I’m sure he would’ve come up with some sort of arrogant response.

    Remember, never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty and they like it.
  13. treecko142

    treecko142 Member

    Feb 8, 2018
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    I generally don't react to such situations, I just go on quietly as long as I now that I'm in the right. It's sad that such parents influence their young kids though.