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Road Rage

#1 User is offline   kfay 

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Posted 2010-June-10, 10:05

Just had my 2nd battle with road rage in as many days.

For those of you who don't know, I'm a pretty fair cyclist. I don't go out for 80 mile treks but I do commute every day, have a pretty nice bike and all the standard gear. I am not slow, I am very fast. It's 3.75 miles from my front door to work, I cover that on average in about 13.5 minutes for around a 19mph average, including stops. This is basically just as fast as I would get into work by car, parking excluded. On a long downhill into work I max out at about 37mph, I mean I am literally speeding. That's my personal best for this year, right after I got a tuneup.

So I run into problems with 3 archetypes: 1) the young ricer, 2) mid-life crisis woman in a sportscar (SUV soccer moms are fine) and 3) old white guy in a truck.

In general this isn't a problem. Ann arbor was named #14 most bike friendly city in the nation by this website and has other accolades to its name. My route into work is well paved and has a wide bike lane... but at a stoplight near my house yesterday I had to get into a center lane coming up to a red light since the right-hand lane is turn only. Well.. red light, I'm not going to hoof it up and screech to a halt so I'm taking my time, there's a car well behind me that I'm aware of... which is accelerating rapidly and zooms past me with about 3 ft. of clearance in the 150 ft. befor the light, and comes to a rapid stop. Behold, motif #2. I beat this woman into town, 1.7 miles away (on the downhill).

Not so bad. Today, though, I'm coming into the home stretch for work. There's a piece of my ride where I need to start at a red light and book it 5.5 blocks in order to make a green at the bottom of a downhill otherwise it tacks about 1.5 minutes onto my ride. It's right by my work so I'm already kinda tired but I'm really working hard. Well this is all through a residential neighborhood, and old white guy in a truck had a problem with me today. I'm riding on the right side of the road, where I belong, probably about 22mph (25mph zone) and he comes up behind me, revs his engine, honks and yells at me...

I launch standard countermeasures: 1) flip him the bird, 2) decelerate about 5mph (still need to get into work) 3) take over the middle of the road and keep cutting him off. Obviously he's not happy. When we reach the first stop sign after I get going I hear him peel out, so I decide to take a safety/avoidance play and move over. He gets in front of me, decelerates and now tries to start cutting ME off... this is after wasting about 10 seconds of his day after he pissed me off the first time. Well it's hard to cut off a savvy road biker, I skirt around him pretty easily even though I (really experienced) am a little frightened at this point. He does this move again, I side-step, and he gives up. As I ride off I hear him yell 'YOU FUCKING PRICK!'.... indeed.

Anyway some people get agitated at you and you get over (farther) and in general I realize that often I'm in a situation where I could hold up traffic... and I get on the sidewalk for a stretch (even though I'm not supposed to). That's fine. This guy, though... was just one of those guys who acted like I had no business even being alive since I was on a bicycle. I'm fairly certain I didn't overreact, unless you are a Buddhist or think that reckless endangerment of oneself is overreacting.
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#2 User is offline   matmat 

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Posted 2010-June-10, 10:37

I'm not exactly a Buddhist, but I'll let you in on a little secret. Trucks are bigger, faster and heavier (by a LOT!) than you on a bicycle. Baiting and pissing off the driver who already seems on edge for some unknown reason really, really, doesn't seem worth it.
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#3 User is offline   Phil 

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Posted 2010-June-10, 10:47

I can relate.

There is an innate hatred with some people in cars toward people on bikes (and runners, to a lesser extent). I think its grounded in:

1) jealousy

----that they are required to rush to wherever they are going
----or that you are out enjoying the fresh air, and getting more, well, you know

2) envy on a variety of levels

----that you are in much better physical shape and their exercise routine consists of trips to the bathroom during the basketball game;

----you are younger

----you have a nice bike.

3) basic hatred

----face it - spandex looks funny on people!


Part of my daily routine is to chug my heavy mountain bike around my neighborhood for 6-10 miles. There are some serious grades to deal with - 12-15% frequently, and its a great workout, and it takes we anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes depending on where I go.

There are two main streets I have to navigate, but both have wide bike lanes, and the streets themselves have a total right of way of around 150', so they are WIDE in this utopia we call the OC. Still, I will get the occasional asshole that needs to hug the right edge of his lane where I get to feel his wind as he goes by. I'm ornery enough that this folks definitely get the bird, and I'll get an obscenity thrown my way and every one is happy.

If I have time, I get to go down into a regional park with dirt trails with about four stream crossings.

Maybe I'll do that today <_<

P.S., I don't wear spandex!
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#4 User is offline   jjbrr 

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Posted 2010-June-10, 11:14

old white men in trucks being intolerant of others? unpossible.
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#5 User is offline   gwnn 

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Posted 2010-June-10, 11:22

kfay, on Jun 10 2010, 04:05 PM, said:

I launch standard countermeasures: 1) flip him the bird, 2) decelerate about 5mph (still need to get into work) 3) take over the middle of the road and keep cutting him off.

very mature. poor kfay :(
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#6 User is offline   kfay 

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Posted 2010-June-10, 11:49

gwnn, on Jun 10 2010, 12:22 PM, said:

kfay, on Jun 10 2010, 04:05 PM, said:

I launch standard countermeasures: 1) flip him the bird, 2) decelerate about 5mph (still need to get into work) 3) take over the middle of the road and keep cutting him off.

very mature. poor kfay :(

Honestly I've never done anything like this before. Ok... I did get in a fight one time at bridge club... but not on the road!!! Maybe I've been in a bad mood lately... I just wasn't going to take it from this guy. I don't regret it yet...
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#7 User is offline   spotlight7 

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Posted 2010-June-10, 12:10

Hi:

Some trucks have gun racks.

Flipping off a nut case may not be in your best interest.

Trucks are much longer, wider and heavier than your bike.

Regards,
Robert
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#8 User is offline   OleBerg 

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Posted 2010-June-10, 12:17

kfay, on Jun 10 2010, 07:49 PM, said:

gwnn, on Jun 10 2010, 12:22 PM, said:

kfay, on Jun 10 2010, 04:05 PM, said:

I launch standard countermeasures: 1) flip him the bird, 2) decelerate about 5mph (still need to get into work) 3) take over the middle of the road and keep cutting him off.

very mature. poor kfay :(

Honestly I've never done anything like this before. Ok... I did get in a fight one time at bridge club... but not on the road!!! Maybe I've been in a bad mood lately... I just wasn't going to take it from this guy. I don't regret it yet...

If "flipping the bird" is the standard crude sign language Im thinking of, it should be standard countermeassures.


A good slap on the roof should be reserved for drivers endangering others through sheer negliance.


Vandalism I've only perpetrated against a guy who hit me on purpose. The bidding went:

He opened with an agressive honk, and I overcalled with a ***** finger. He balanced with a new honk at the next level, and I rebid my ***** finger.

Then he hit me on purpose with his car, I persued and scratched it. He tried to hit me harder (rather dangeruous), and I considered fisticuffs (which in my case would often be an overbid).

Instead I made an SOS-redouble, and bolted down a side road. He went after me. Closing in on a group of pedestrians, I decided it was time to call the TD.

The blue boys arrived. Him being in a wheel-chair (solo motorcycle accident), and me being bald, bicycle rider and signalling left wing* all over, made them give a ruling completely in his favour.

After the session they adjusted the score to -$1400 for me. It went to the appeals commitee, which changed the ruling to -$300.

So I've learned my lesson: Never trust the police to excert justice.


* By left wing, I do not mean "Democrats", but rather one step from full blown commie.
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#9 User is offline   el mister 

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Posted 2010-June-10, 12:23

kfay, on Jun 10 2010, 11:05 AM, said:


I launch standard countermeasures: 1) flip him the bird, 2) decelerate about 5mph (still need to get into work) 3) take over the middle of the road and keep cutting him off.  Obviously he's not happy.  When we reach the first stop sign after I get going I hear him peel out, so I decide to take a safety/avoidance play and move over.  He gets in front of me, decelerates and now tries to start cutting ME off... this is after wasting about 10 seconds of his day after he pissed me off the first time.  Well it's hard to cut off a savvy road biker, I skirt around him pretty easily even though I (really experienced) am a little frightened at this point.  He does this move again, I side-step, and he gives up.  As I ride off I hear him yell 'YOU FUCKING PRICK!'.... indeed.

Honestly mate that is just asinine - trying to mix it up with a neanderthal at the helm of two tonnes of steel, whilst you're on your bike. I'm completely on your side, mind, - I'm a cyclist myself and the idea of some shithouse using their vehicle as a weapon is enraging. But you just can't afford to get involved.

This clip was posted on a UK cycling website recently and shows exactly the type of thing you're describing. A scumbag van driver harassing a cyclist from the comfort of his vehicle, but the cyclist riding with out any sort of roadcraft and seriously escalating the situation.
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#10 User is offline   Phil 

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Posted 2010-June-10, 12:29

Wow, I grew up in Montana, so I have dealt with my share of rednecks, so I have no idea what you guys are talking about.

No one, and I mean NO ONE is going to commit vehicular manslaughter with their truck. You might get into a fistfight with someone that decides to pull over, but 99% of the time even in a situation like this, there will be a lot of "oh yeah, well ***** you TOO"s, but that's it.

Nobody wants to get arrested. No one wants to get sued for personal injury, and no one is going to mow over a cyclist or or use a cyclist for target practice with a 12 gauge.
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#11 User is offline   pooltuna 

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Posted 2010-June-10, 13:03

matmat, on Jun 10 2010, 11:37 AM, said:

I'm not exactly a Buddhist, but I'll let you in on a little secret. Trucks are bigger, faster and heavier (by a LOT!) than you on a bicycle.  Baiting and pissing off the driver who already seems on edge for some unknown reason really, really, doesn't seem worth it.

I can certain testify to this. I was riding down a street that should have only had one lane each way with a parking lane instead of the actual 2 lanes plus the parking lane whan I ran into the bicyclist's nightmare. Just as I rode up to a parked pickup, the driver (I didn't see him) opened his door and I apparently chose to try and go around where an SUV did not have room to avoid me (this was video taped from a small convenience grocery store). I say "apparently" because one of the consequences besides the 3 broken ribs, broken scapula, and skull fracture was brain trauma amnesia. Translated that means I have no memory of the accident or the following week spent in the ICU. I did eventually escape the hospital after a 2 month stay. I didn't used to wear a helmet. I now encourage anyone riding a bike to wear one. Bottom line you may be tough but you ain't as tough as a car :(
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#12 User is offline   spotlight7 

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Posted 2010-June-10, 13:58

Hi again:

The phrase 'drive by' refers to shooting someone while driving past them.

They shortened to 'drive by' to save a few words in the newspaper.

It happens much too often, but it does happen.

Regards,
Robert
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#13 User is offline   OleBerg 

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Posted 2010-June-10, 14:06

gwnn, on Jun 10 2010, 07:22 PM, said:

kfay, on Jun 10 2010, 04:05 PM, said:

I launch standard countermeasures: 1) flip him the bird, 2) decelerate about 5mph (still need to get into work) 3) take over the middle of the road and keep cutting him off.

very mature. poor kfay :(

You're only young once, but you can be immature forever.
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#14 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2010-June-10, 14:50

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Posted 2010-June-10, 15:16

Phil, on Jun 10 2010, 01:29 PM, said:

Wow, I grew up in Montana, so I have dealt with my share of rednecks, so I have no idea what you guys are talking about.

No one, and I mean NO ONE is going to commit vehicular manslaughter with their truck. You might get into a fistfight with someone that decides to pull over, but 99% of the time even in a situation like this, there will be a lot of "oh yeah, well ***** you TOO"s, but that's it.

Nobody wants to get arrested. No one wants to get sued for personal injury, and no one is going to mow over a cyclist or or use a cyclist for target practice with a 12 gauge.

Good general rule, but I wouldn't want to hang my hat on it just for the satisfaction of giving someone the finger.

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#16 User is offline   Lobowolf 

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Posted 2010-June-10, 15:24

Phil, on Jun 10 2010, 11:47 AM, said:

I can relate.

There is an innate hatred with some people in cars toward people on bikes (and runners, to a lesser extent). I think its grounded in:

1) jealousy

----that they are required to rush to wherever they are going
----or that you are out enjoying the fresh air, and getting more, well, you know

2) envy on a variety of levels

----that you are in much better physical shape and their exercise routine consists of trips to the bathroom during the basketball game;

----you are younger

----you have a nice bike.

3) basic hatred

----face it - spandex looks funny on people!


Part of my daily routine is to chug my heavy mountain bike around my neighborhood for 6-10 miles. There are some serious grades to deal with - 12-15% frequently, and its a great workout, and it takes we anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes depending on where I go.

There are two main streets I have to navigate, but both have wide bike lanes, and the streets themselves have a total right of way of around 150', so they are WIDE in this utopia we call the OC. Still, I will get the occasional asshole that needs to hug the right edge of his lane where I get to feel his wind as he goes by. I'm ornery enough that this folks definitely get the bird, and I'll get an obscenity thrown my way and every one is happy.

If I have time, I get to go down into a regional park with dirt trails with about four stream crossings.

Maybe I'll do that today :)

P.S., I don't wear spandex!

I'll add a #4...there's a fair number of bicyclists who are just rude. In my experience, not a majority or close to it, but a not-insubstantial minority. In particular, riding side-by-side to chit chat, when there's a bike lane, so that the inside rider is in the auto traffic lane going substantially slower than car-traffic, in places where they can't conveniently be passed (e.g. two way, single lane traffic), not stopping at stop signs (particularly at 4-waya) to conserve momentum and force cars to wait, often for quite a while, if there's a large group of cyclists.

None of this justifies any of the behavior in the OP; but with respect to the "Gee, why don't they like us?" while I'm happy to share the road and not proneto road rage, it has been my observation that a good percentage of cyclist are pretty picky and choosy about which traffic laws they'll follow, and when.
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#17 User is offline   bid_em_up 

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Posted 2010-June-10, 15:30

Phil, on Jun 10 2010, 02:29 PM, said:

No one, and I mean NO ONE is going to commit vehicular manslaughter with their truck. You might get into a fistfight with someone that decides to pull over, but 99% of the time even in a situation like this, there will be a lot of "oh yeah, well ***** you TOO"s, but that's it.

Nobody wants to get arrested. No one wants to get sued for personal injury, and no one is going to mow over a cyclist or or use a cyclist for target practice with a 12 gauge.

Phil,

I hate to break it to you.....but you are living in a dreamworld. It's called "Road rage" for a reason. The person behind the wheel of the car is not thinking rationally. They only want to run over the SOB that just cut them off (or whatever percieved slight). The person may be high or drunk as well.

"A cyclist was knocked down and killed by an angry motorist after he accidentally clipped the driver’s wing mirror, a murder trial at the Crown Court in Warwick heard yesterday.

Sean Fitzgerald allegedly used his car to chase Paul Webb for 300 yards before mounting a pavement and ramming into his mountain bike in a revenge attack."


http://road.cc/content/news/17028-murder-t...ipping-his-wing

"A driver in Los Angeles was recently convicted of using his car as a weapon against two cyclists. And the case is focusing attention on the often uneasy relationship between motorists and bicyclists who have to share the road.

It happened last year on the Fourth of July, on a steep, narrow road in L.A.'s Mandeville Canyon. Cyclists Christian Stoehr and Ron Peterson were riding side by side when a doctor who lived in the neighborhood came up from behind in a sedan.

"There was an exchange of words," Stoehr recalls. "He then accelerated within five feet in front of us, pulled over and slammed on the brakes."

Stoehr says there was no time for them to stop. He was thrown over the car and landed across the road. But Peterson didn't have time to swerve.

"And he went right in through the back window of the car," says Stoehr, adding that Peterson crashed headfirst. "I think they found his teeth in the back seat." "


http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.p...oryId=120457877

Ok, so nobody died in this one, but it would have been quite possible.

Even if the jerk doesn't "mean" to commit vehicular manslaughter, all it takes is a misstep on his part or on the part of the cyclist in an attempt to get out of the way and.....splat.
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#18 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2010-June-10, 17:33

Thanks for your post. I am very pleased to find Minneapolis at the top of the list of bike friendly cites. I grew up in St. Paul and went to college at the Univ of Minn. One of my friends still speaks of the day I arrived for linear algebra shedding water like a hydrant after my ride in to campus.
I am sorry that they did not include Canadian cities, as I would expect Toronto to rate high. On my first visit I had my bike in the trunk and saw bikes everywhere as I rode in and thought I would really like this city. I did and I do.
My granddaughter (who is about to graduate from Whitman High on Monday, the place Helen Thomas was dis-invited to speak) went on a ride a couple of years ago from somewhere in Vermont up to Montreal. She explained that her grandfather had taught her to ride..

OK, enough with the nostalgia. Where I live now is not at all bike friendly. Also there are a lot of Republicans. These two facts may or may not be related.

Take it cool. Just being on your bike puts you way ahead in the game.
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#19 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2010-June-10, 18:38

If you weren't injured it wasn't really road rage; however, bicycle beligerence may have been noted.
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#20 User is offline   Phil 

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Posted 2010-June-10, 19:44

bid_em_up, on Jun 10 2010, 04:30 PM, said:

I hate to break it to you.....but you are living in a dreamworld. It's called "Road rage" for a reason.

I know, and I'm goading KFay a bit here, in case you didn't pick up on it.

I doubt I'd ever pick a fight with some lunatic with a gun rack.

Well once upon a time....oh never mind B)
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