Guest Post: Dark Sider

Sharing the Road
Sharing the Road

Sharing the road with cars is mostly a losing proposition. It’s hard to share when your vehicle weighs 8 kgs and the other guy’s is 800 kgs. If we have to share we have to let go and that is not easy, as @Kevin Wilkins explains. 

Yours in Cycling, Gianni

Anybody who knows me also knows that I have a temper.

Most of the time it’s just a funny thing to talk about over a beer, like, “Remember when you tossed your helmet into the tree and had to spend ten minutes throwing a log at it to knock it down?” Or, “I liked it when that guy cut us off and you squirted him with your water bottle through his window.” Or, “It was hot when you threw your board so hard that the tail just snapped clean off.”

“Yeah,” I say, grinning to hide my embarrassment. “Hot.”

Anybody who knows bikes also knows what it’s like to be intentionally messed with by people driving cars and trucks. I’m not talking about getting cut off accidentally or not being seen and having someone turn in front of you. I’m talking about those obvious and malicious actions that people take toward cyclists””full beers thrown out of vehicles, head-on moves that require evasive action, or swerving, or threatening, or blah, blah, blah.

On average I’d say the accidental stuff happens every other time I ride. And modestly, I’d estimate that the obvious offensive moves happen like once a month. Of course, the more you ride the more this shit happens. Individual results may vary.

As I get older it’s all getting easier to ignore, but the aggressive near misses have always had an accumulative effect. Everyone says so and everyone has their own stories. The moral? There isn’t one. After you get swung on a dozen times it’s hard to hold back the defensive urge to swing back.

About five years ago I was out riding by myself on a notoriously lame stretch of Nebraska Highway 2. Early in the ride, I’d just gotten out past Lincoln’s busy grid and was cruising along on the shoulder minding my own business. That’s when I heard the growl of the newly carved rumble strip””the warning mechanism gouged out of the road to let errant or sleeping motorists know that they are veering off the roadway. In this case it was also a warning to me that a car was coming up quick from behind. I looked back just in time to see what looked to be an out-of-control car swerving onto and off of the shoulder. I moved quickly to my right as far as I could without ditching it and the vehicle sped by me at what must have been 60 mph. I could feet the wind from the car on my hand and knee as it blew by, no further than a foot from mowing me down.

I gave ’em the “you’re number one” sign and tried to ignore the adrenalin being released into my system. “Did that just happen?” I thought. “Did that car just try to run me over?” Before I could answer my own questions I watched dumfounded as the car, now a half a mile up, pulled over onto a gravel road, turned around, and parked it””nose out to the highway.

Waiting for me? Preparing to finish the job they started? Getting ready to drive back out onto the road and knock me into traffic?

I didn’t want to know the answer to those kinds of questions so I decided not to ride past the parked car. I wasn’t going to subject myself to that danger. Instead I slowed down and pulled off the road. That’s when the driver and back seat passenger rolled down their windows and started jeering and laughing at me.

I reached in and punched the driver in the face.

No sooner did I do this then four kids jumped out of the car. I set my bike down, prepared to get my ass kicked, and then everything went black for a few seconds. When I woke up I was on the other side of the vehicle, in the ditch, with a headache and a guy standing over me yelling, “Come on!”

I stood up on shaky legs and dodged his punches, getting in a few of my own until he ran off. Then kid #2 came at me. I held off his attack while assessing the damage to my cheek, my eye, my skull. I fought #2 off only to be approached by #3 who said, “We’re gonna fucking kill you!” as he began swinging at me too. I was in ninja mode by this point, blocked all his punches, and pinned the dude on the ground in time to look up and see #4 throwing my bike into the ravine. As I got up to retrieve it a mini van pulled over and all the boys jumped into their car and sped off. Later the driver of the mini van said that when he pulled up, all four were coming after me, one of them holding a small bat or a steel pipe.

The mini van Samaritan helped me to a farmhouse, called the Sheriff, and eventually drove me back into town, some fifteen miles out of his way. Thanks, again, whoever you were.

The x-rays showed no fractures, but the doctor said it was obvious that I’d been hit with something in the head, not a fist, but some kind of small blunt object.

It was kind of a wake-up call for me. My first son, Miles, was about three at the time. As I stewed over the incident in the following days I kept coming back to him. Not only what it would have been like for him to have a dad who was run down and killed by a car while out riding a bicycle, but what it would have been like to have a dad who was beaten down and possibly fatally injured because he was too angry not to fight back””what it would have been like to have a dad who was a victim of his own temper.

So, for him, I vowed to keep that temper under wraps.

And I thought it was pretty much over after that. I was mellower on the bike in reacting to asshole drivers and in turn my son and my next son and my wife and my entire family would get to continue to have me around … the new non-temperamental me. The best guy in the world.

Yeah, right.

A few months back, a friend of mine was asking me if I’d had any recent incidents while out on the road. “No,” I told him. “I’ve been trying to let that stuff go. I kind of realized that there was one consistent element in all those events””me. I figure I’m partly to blame, so I’m keeping it mellow.”

But there we were, literally two weeks after that conversation, cruising into to town after a ride, when a speeding car overtook our group in a sharp turn, crossed the double yellow into on-coming traffic, and then at the last minute swerved back into our group of riders, nearly hitting us. Cue adrenal gland.

Sixty seconds later we rolled up behind the guy as he was sitting at a stoplight. The signal turned green and we rolled past him. Stupidly, but hopefully making him more aware of our presence than he was earlier, I swerved a little into the lane in front of his car.

This set him off and he swerved at me from behind. I was able to push off his car with my hand and get away from him, but only with enough time to get out of the way of his second 45-degree swerve into me and my bike. By this time he’d moved me over considerably onto the shoulder and was now swerving at the group of riders I was with. We all avoid getting run over, only to have him swerve once more, stop in front of us, jump out of his car, and start yelling incomprehensibly. Something about how we’re not supposed to be out there on the roads. I didn’t hear anything else he said because I was loudly reciting his license plate number to him over and over. He eventually got in his car and left. I called the cops.

The officer came and met us, questioned us, took our statements, and said he’d go talk to the guy, but there wasn’t much else he could do. It was our word against his. That was fine with us. We just wanted the driver to know that he’d made a bad move, that it could have been potentially fatal, and to feel a bit of shame in having a police cruiser visit his home.

But almost immediately the guilt began to creep back in like it did after that incident five years ago. I could have avoided this latest confrontation so easily. And in my attempt to force some awareness on an obviously insane person, I almost got myself and my friends run over. Not cool. Not cool, at all.

I’ve since apologized to my friends. They all laugh and say not to worry about it, that the driver was out of line no matter what I did. But I still feel bad. I could have messed things up for about five really good guys and their families with my little swing-back. And that would have been a zillion times worse than any near miss””even if that near miss was only a near miss because everyone on bikes had enough skills to get out of the way of the driver’s first manslaughter attempt.

Still … bad temper. I have one. And it’s not called a bad temper because it’s funny or good or interesting. It’s called bad because it’s bad.

Hopefully with a little age and a little judgment I can learn to use my powers for good, because””even if I do say so myself””the force is strong with this one.

Must not turn to the dark side.

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74 Replies to “Guest Post: Dark Sider”

  1. As someone who has punched his fair share of car windows, this hit home. I’m still young, stupid, with nothing to lose, but I realise that my temper will be the death of me if I allow it to continue. But every time I almost get clipped, every time someone aggressively overtakes me, horn blaring, even though I’m riding at the speed limit, every ‘rider down’ I read, it’s another reason to finally smash someone’s headlight (or worse) with a u-lock. We’re the most vulnerable road users out there, yet we’re treated as if we’re the most dangerous. I wish I could just flip these people the V’s and carry on with my ride, but I don’t think I’ll ever just be able to let it go.

  2. Mindfulness–and let’s just pass right over the idea of compassion for the moment–isn’t easy when it’s hard. When people do things, obviously deliberate things, that put other people’s lives at risk, only because they’re unhappy and want others to be unhappy too, it’s really fucking hard not to react.

    But to paraphrase a friend, whom I know from here actually, and who has deep experience of certain things I’ve been spared, “you only escalate when you have clearly superior firepower and the absolute willingness to use it.” And when does a cyclist have superior firepower? Yeah, never.

    No one with a sense of justice or any attachment to life, health, and (finally) ego finds it easy to maintain equanimity in these situations. But we’re Cyclists, and Cycling is supposed to hard.

    I’m just about to go out and get filthy wet on my bike, and I’m going to spend part of that time meditating on how lucky am I to have done my riding in places more friendly to Cyclists than most. I am very grateful for that.

  3. This is my first post.  I am posting because this hits close to home.  I have been following this site for a few weeks now I really enjoy going back into the archives to “catch-up” on what I have missed over the years.  I cycled competitively from 1992 to 2000.  The long hours of training on the road showed me the very worst in drivers.  I was targeted too many times to count.  I, with a bad temper much like Wilkins, found myself in a some bare knuckle dances.  The last one shook me so much that I stopped riding on the road in 2000, even sold the road bikes.  I took to mt. bike racing and training just to get away from aggressive drivers and to stay out of jail.  This May, I got back on the road after many years of craving.  I hoped I had mellowed, but…

    I have been intentionally targeted at least three times since May.  Each time, run off the road and even “bumped” once.  I try to keep it together, but there is something primal that you can not suppress when assaulted in this manner.  I have taken license plate numbers and phoned the authorities.  About a month ago I filed a written report due to the “bump” incident.  The driver was cited and a court date was arranged.  I attended the hearing and he was fined because of our “three feet buffer law”.  However, I still had to suppress that primal urge to knock him stupid.

    Since that last encounter, I remind myself to follow Rule V.  I train in the rain, wind and cold.  I do hill repeats and intervals.  I enjoy the suffering.  I guess that I have to apply Rule V to idiots in vehicles and accept it as another step to be considered a hardman.

  4. Holy fuck! Anyone have any hot deals on GoPros and helmet mounts?

    Or maybe small firearms and bibshort holsters?

  5. One word, old mate … abridge!

    Fuck me that’s a long article.  I really should read one someday around here.

  6. Wilkins is right about his role in his bike/car incidents.  There’s 2 sides to the equation, always.  As cyclists, we always have some responsibility.  Whenever I have a close call, instead of choosing anger or defiance, I say a quick prayer thanking God that I didn’t get hurt, ignore the driver, and roll on.  If you don’t feed it, it most likely won’t grow.

  7. .2:0.0.0.0″>.2:0.0.0.0.0″>.2:0.0.0.0.0.0″>.2:0.0.0.0.0.0.$end:0:$0:0″>this article has me thinking of how people blame rape victims for getting raped. Why is it that the victim is always made to feel like they are wrong?
  • @Kevin Wilkins I hear ya, bro. I’ve been messed with as well (that diesel truck looks familiar), but every escalation could have been prevented by my own self regulation. Thanks for your wisdom.

  • I think it’s perfectly understandable to want to beat the living shit out of someone who gambles with someone else’s life for “fun.” But it’s more rational to try to do the math on the practical consequences of our responses.

    No moral judgements here. Just asking what it is we want to accomplish and how.

  • @Ken Ho

    One word, old mate…………camera.

    I have thought about doing this… Just have a hard time with the cost.

  • Thankful we don’t have to deal with that!  I haven’t done a detailed survey or anything, but have the impression that our area (Upstate SC and Western NC) has unusually high paved road mileage per capita and good connectivity.  If you’re dealing with heavy traffic and irritated drivers then you’ve chosen the wrong roads and/or the wrong time.  Get a map or a Garmin, figure out what roads and in what directions will be light when you want to ride, be visible, and ride like you mean it.  We have very little trouble.  There are more riders every year too, so the cars are getting used to us.

  • @Buck Rogers

    One word, old mate … abridge!

    Fuck me that’s a long article. I really should read one someday around here.

    You must like mine more, <200 words tops. Who has the time, huh?

  • When I was younger I was more likely to get into it with drivers. I will still flip drivers off if they piss me off but no more chasing them down for a confrontation. When Competitive Cyclists.com, the internet cycle store was based in Arkansas, the spokesman was always pushing kimber-spray. It is a two shot pepper spray that shoots a direct jet rather than a cloud. He was always saying it was great for dogs and people and it made me think, FFS, what is going on in middle America?

    If Kevin had that kimber-spray he could have evened up that fight some. It would teach these imbred fucks a lesson, at least for a few minutes.

  • @Buck Rogers tl;dr version

    Cyclist has rage issues with stupid NE drivers.

    Shit kicked out of him once. 5 years of zen, sees red mist again, nearly gets him plus group killed.

    Good intentions again.

    Wait another 5 years for next instalment.

  • @ChrisO

    @Buck Rogers tl;dr version

    Cyclist has rage issues with stupid NE drivers.

    Shit kicked out of him once. 5 years of zen, sees red mist again, nearly gets him plus group killed.

    Good intentions again.

    Wait another 5 years for next installment.

    Whew, thanks man.  I mean, Ain’t nobody got time for that.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGxwbhkDjZM

    (speaking of bronchitis, where’s my inhaler???)

  • @therealpeel

    Lots of new products coming onto the market, designed for this specific task.  Can’t name it, but there is an Aussie jobbie that is top helmet mount, with forward and backward cameras, re-writable hard drive.

    GoPro’s are great for what they are, but not ideal for recording road rage/elabow shaves etc.  There have been some notable prosecutions based on camera evidence, one similar to teh above, where a bunch ride was threatened in a similar fashion.  No he said/she said there.

    When I was about 15, I got flogged on the back and knocked into a ditch by a whip aerial wielded by an idiot in a passing car full of yobs.  Back then, I took the rego number to the cops and all he said was, I’ll tell where they live, you can go sort them out.  Typical piss-poor copper response.  They say that only the guilty have anything to fear from police, but that takes no account of corruption, laziness or stupidity.  Collecting photographic evidence is the best way to cool people off, and the best way to get action afterwards if things escalate.

    Personally, I pick my times and places to ride to minimise my interactions with cars.  I still get shaved and stuff chucked at me occasionally, but not very often.

  • @Buck Rogers (with respect) Group ride buzzed by a tour bus.  Located “a” bus 20mins later at rest stop.  Approached driver. “Did you just run us off the road?’  “I didn’t see any bikes”  “Back by the floral clock”  “You guys had plenty of room!”  I thought you didn’t see any bikes.  What’s your name?”  The driver was silent.  Cel phone photo of driver, bus registration, and licence plate. Driver has now retreated inside bus and locked the door.  Subsequent e-mails exchanged with company and driver (supposedly) reprimanded.  Still rule of thumb…don’t tangle with cars and trucks

  • Kevin, I’ve been close to that place with the red mist when my life was put at risk by the arrogant, ignorant or downright aggressive. Now I’m like many others, the occasional middle finger wave but I’m not looking for them to stop further up the road only to throw me on their bonnet “People’s Elbow’ style. That threat worked once way back when and they shot off but I still felt like a dick for saying it. Plus I would resemble Bambi on Ice trying to go toe to toe in lycra and cleats! Being in law enforcement I should know better and I refuse to play that card unless really pushed to the limit. I haven’t reached the 4 thugs in a car scenario yet. Thankfully in Scotland there is also less likelihood of there being a gun or other deadly weapon in the cars on the road.

    Age, some may say maturity and reflection lead me to the same conclusion. Chill, anticipate, avoid and have an obvious helmet camera on the city commute. They don’t know whether it’s running or not. I’ll always lose against a vehicle and hitting a door mirror or bodywork even with carbon fibre knuckle gloves still stings.

    BTW being a cop doesn’t mean that I get any different result when I do report anything worthy of it. I still need the evidence but at last the Scottish courts now appear to be accepting 1 witness corroborated by video.

    Stay safe out there.

  • I can all but guarantee that the cat in the pick up truck with the loud pipes that buzzes ya at speed on the county roads in Alabama is gonna have a gun in the vehicle. Escalation is out of the question. Just have to accept knowing that the dude is in all likelihood an ignorant person, should be provided zero consideration, and promptly forget ’em. For the best of Alabama pick up truck rednecks look for the infamous >>> Keith Maddox Premeditation <<< video on youtube. The dude was arrested after posting the videos on his Facebook page with the classic, "run 'em in a ditch..." tirades.

  • Redneck rolls coal on you or whatever it is he does with his ten-ton pickup.

    What’s the very best thing you can say about him? Somebody thought it wise to give him a loan for his truck.

  • @PeakInTwoYears

    Redneck rolls coal on you or whatever it is he does with his ten-ton pickup.

    What’s the very best thing you can say about him? Somebody thought it wise to give him a loan for his truck.

    What are the last words of a Redneck?

    Hey Bud watch this……..

  • I gave up on road riding in 2007 because of Ontario drivers attitudes. Rather have a CX or Monstercross bike to ride places with no cars or minimal.

  • @Teocalli

    @PeakInTwoYears

    Redneck rolls coal on you or whatever it is he does with his ten-ton pickup.

    What’s the very best thing you can say about him? Somebody thought it wise to give him a loan for his truck.

    What are the last words of a Redneck?

    Hey Bud watch this……..

    I thought they were “Jesus…  Jesus…?  JESUS…?!”

  • I too am known to have a particularly short temper. Closely linked to the Rules of Engagement I have lived and fraught by in the past. However that didn’t have anything to do with me getting bumped into the ditch early one morning and left unconscious by a hit and run. Since that day I have used a “Fly6” camera. I have since been able to report two separate incidents where a car has hit me, ID the driver and license plate. better still is the assholes that deliberately try to run you down or harass you- the moment you point out you have a camera, they back right off. Like puppies, when they are being watched they behave. Just look how people behave at intersections with cameras, opposed to the ones that don’t. Red-light city. 

  • @Endurimil

    I gave up on road riding in 2007 because of Ontario drivers attitudes. Rather have a CX or Monstercross bike to ride places with no cars or minimal.

    I respect your decision Endurimil, but I don’t think giving up something you love due to the ignorance of others is the answer either. I’ve been riding arguably some of the worst roads for cyclists on the planet here in Southern California for nearly 30 years (man, am I really that old?) and was grazed by cars 3 times when I was younger. I’ve had close calls since then but have yet to make contact again (knock on wood fenders). Over the years I got involved in some local and regional meetings to improve bicyclist safety and am happy to have seen what seems to be an improvement in the overall climate for us riders.

    It’s still not perfect though, and I have found myself on far too many memorial rides over the years. I also have a number of friends who still consider road riding too deadly a pastime and like your self keep their rides confined to the trails, but I do believe that we can work together to educate the driving masses and help us all keep the rubber side down.

  • years ago had a passenger jump out and pull a knife on me after my mate gave the car/driver the finger for missing us by millimetres. Nowadays I tend to let things go if no contact is made. Near misses I give a wave as in “I’m here!” Me thinks Karma will sort idiot drivers out down the track.

    New road rules have been made in Queensland Australia that will have to change drivers behaviour to cyclist. http://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/thegoldcoast/cycle-safety-23077.html

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aW3SlQrJL7Y

  • @Ken Ho

    When I was about 15, I got flogged on the back and knocked into a ditch by a whip aerial wielded by an idiot in a passing car full of yobs. Back then, I took the rego number to the cops and all he said was, I’ll tell where they live, you can go sort them out. Typical piss-poor copper response. 

    Holy shit are you kidding me?! Your banter and this story tells me you don’t live in the states, because there’s no way in hell any cop would give out this info here. I would LOOOOOOVE to find out where these assholes live. Not to knock on their door in broad daylight and try to be scary. Oh hell no. But to sabotage their car and plant narcotics and child porn in their mailbox. Fuck me, that would be AWESOME. 

  • @ChrissyOne

    No, I don’t live in the USA.  I live in sunny Queensland.  I was about 15 at the time, and I’m 50 now.  I was a skinny kid on a push-bike.  I would have been slaughtered.

    About a decade later, there was a massive inquiry  into the endemic corruption in the Qld Police Force, which changed things a lot.  Systematic corruption in our police goes back to the colonial days, of the Rum Corps.  Things have changed a lot, but sadly our police services still attract a lot of bullies and yobs.  I have been elbow-shaved by a Police car as recently as a couple of years ago, and our mandatory helmet laws are still used as “gotcha” laws, a bit like the old “dull tail-light” to pull people up and hassle them if they are in the mood.  As noted above, there are new minimum passing laws being trialled here, which at least puts a driver definitely in the wrong if they hit and kill you.  That was prompted by a jury acquittal of a truck driver who killed a guy in Brisbane at a pinch point.  His defence was “I thought I had enough room”.  Murder by carelessness, and no punishment.  Which explains why I run a mirror, Frank’s loony objection, be damned !!

    Both Oz and the US have adopted the stance that a bike is a vehicle.  In Europe, bikes are treated more like pedestrians, which makes a whole lot more sense, and has resulted in much better outcomes.  In Oz/US, the roads and road rules are indisputably biased toward the commonest user, the car.

  • When I was just starting out I had a car towing a boat buzz me really close at high speed as the passenger yelled something incomprehensible. Scared the shit out of me.

    As I continued on it dawned on me that they must be heading to the nearby boat ramp. I arrived just as they were putting around the headland so I gave them a wave. Then I found their rig in the carpark and promptly kicked in the boat trailer taillights. Such satisfaction. But even then I knew it was a step in the wrong direction. I keep quiet now with that “don’t feed the trolls” approach….almost always…

  • Now I know this is tempting fate, BUT the road users around here seem very tolerant of each other. Maybe because we have lots of tractors going about and tourism is a big industry. As for the waving, that is the way forward, if it is safe for someone to pass I will wave them on, if there is someone on a motorbike coming towards me with the knee down I give them a big thumbs up. If you give others the benefit of the doubt you can bring out the best in them. And anyway carrying guns or even knives is illegal here! Worst comes to worst I will take my clippy cloppys, as my wife calls them, off and give them a slap round the side of the head, don’t tell me a look cleat to the side of the noggin wouldn’t hurt.

  • Here in Dubai/UAE driving can be very reckless but is not deliberately targeted or aggressive for several reasons.

    First, road rage is virtually unheard of here for legal and cultural reasons. It is a criminal offence to insult someone and it’s not just some strange law nobody enforces. There have been a number of cases of people giving the finger and ending up in jail. Tell the most useless call-centre operative they are an idiot and you are likely to have the police pay you a visit.

    So you get used to just ignoring the most crazy, lethal driving at 150km/h on a motorway. Accident and fatality rates here are on par with sub-Saharan Africa. It is common to see kids jumping about unrestrained in vehicles at any speed. This has been explained to me partly as the “inshallah” factor – if God wants you to die then you will, regardless of what you do. I don’t know how true or conscious that is in people’s minds.

    Second and more benign is the lack of any sense of gain and loss which I think is behind much driver-cyclist aggro in other countries. What cycling courses and paths exist are separated and cycling is mainly recreational or training. Nobody pays direct tax so there is no sense that anyone owns the road or has paid for someone to enjoy something they can’t. We rarely get in the way of cars or make them slow down or wait so they don’t hate us.

    Finally there is also the ‘boss’ factor if I can use the term, which is that when I’m out training and a bus or van is coming up to an intersection if you tell them to stop they usually do. It makes no difference who has right of way. Putting it bluntly if a bloke from Bangladesh runs me over the chances are he might lose his job or be fined or suspended. At the very least hell have a load of trouble from the police. Being in the right will give him no satisfaction if he doesn’t have a pay check to send home next month. So I’m alive and he’s employed – win, win. This doesn’t work with Range Rovers, Nissan Armadas or Dodge Silverados who have a greater sense of entitlement but the other rules still apply.

    I wouldn’t try cycling to commute or in some busy areas. It’s not only drivers but just the roads are set up completely for cars in terms of directions, lanes and so on. Having said that the RTA is building more cycle paths so maybe it will pick up. It’s just not very joined up now. I could cycle 80% of the way to work but at one end have to cross a 14 lane freeway and 8 lanes at the other. And have no shower or security facilities.

    @Harminator You have lived my dream. Just to have done it once would be enough.

  • @the-farmer

    How very intolerant of you. Here in enlightened sunny Qld, it’s perfectly legal as well as being often the safest option, to ride on footpaths.   A bicycle is much more like a pedestrian that it is a car.

    I do not share the “I am a vehicle” delusion. I’m a vulnerable road user and if you hit me with your metal cage, all the red stuff will run out and make sad face on the road.

  • A few years ago I did my motorbike test and the instructor sensed my aggression toward thoughtless car drivers and he pulled me to one side and in one phrase calmed me down “you’re right, they’re wrong, but they’re bigger than you and will do more damage to you, so walk away from it”. And to this day (mostly), I stick to that!!

  • It seems as though I lose more and more respect for my “fellow man”. I fail to have what it takes to wrap my head around people who *purposly antagonize* a cyclist or cyclists, then get pissed off if you as much as call them out on it With nothing more than some sort of jesters of acknowledgement (no, not the “#1″…just a simple “hey…I see what you did there”).

  • @justindcady

    I think it’s a power thing.  On other general forums, I have read threads about how there is a perception that any grown man on a bicycle can be considered as having post his licence for DUI.  More generally, the car is teh modern representation of teh horse, historically a symbol of power, both economic and military.  The cultures that were first to master the horse, ruled the world.

    So, someone on a bike can easily be seen to be inferior to a man in a car. This is why it’s important to have an expensive bike.  A $10 000 bike plainly declares that it’s owner is a man of means and power, not a homeless alcoholic with mental health issues.

    That we choose to ride, when most of us have more than adequate cars at home, is either lost on others, or a further insult, in that someone with time to cycle is clearly not in the same hurry that everyone else is.  A man on a bike is a man of leisure, and in today’s frantic world, that is just plain offensive.

  • It has always appeared to me that the kind of compensatory violence we’re talking about is motivated by feelings of frustration, powerlessness, confusion, inadequacy, or some toxic combination of these toxins.

    People who are happy do not do these kinds of things.

  • @Ken Ho

    @justindcady

    I think it’s a power thing. On other general forums, I have read threads about how there is a perception that any grown man on a bicycle can be considered as having post his licence for DUI. More generally, the car is teh modern representation of teh horse, historically a symbol of power, both economic and military. The cultures that were first to master the horse, ruled the world.

    So, someone on a bike can easily be seen to be inferior to a man in a car. This is why it’s important to have an expensive bike. A $10 000 bike plainly declares that it’s owner is a man of means and power, not a homeless alcoholic with mental health issues.

    That we choose to ride, when most of us have more than adequate cars at home, is either lost on others, or a further insult, in that someone with time to cycle is clearly not in the same hurry that everyone else is. A man on a bike is a man of leisure, and in today’s frantic world, that is just plain offensive.

    I don’t think it had anything to do with any of that. It’s more a simple issue: someone on a bike is an obstacle to the driver in a car and nothing more. It has stopped being surprising to see someone pass me while risking a sideswipe with an oncoming car rather than wait 10-15 seconds and be able to pass safely. I think the most dangerous person is the one inattentive one, not the malicious douchebag. You can usually figure out who that is, the other is more stealthy. The texting teenager isn’t so obvious in their approach.

  • I suspect you have over thought this one Ken. I can’t attribute that level of reasoning to most of the dropkicks we encounter out there on the road. I see it as a bit of they don’t see the risk coz they are not the ones going to get hurt. A bit like those big bubble things you get inside and roll over a cliff on, the car kind of bubble wraps the user and they simply don’t perceive the threat to us coz they are alright.

    Ccos is right, the malicious one will scare the crap out of you but they are in control of the situation and don’t actually want to run you over. The drunk, texting, poor sighted, mum reaching back to belt little Jaxxon that plows straight through you, they are the ones killing people..

  • @Daccordi Rider

    I can’t really disagree with any of that, but I think it goes in hand with what I said.  People in cars have this overwhelming sense of importance, to the extent that the thought of slowing to avoid an up-coming situation does not even occur to them.  People will swerve into on-coming traffic to avoid something in their lane, but not realise that it’s their lane, and therefore their responsibility to slow down or God forbid, actually stop, rather than just barge into the on-coming lane.

    I often feel that the basic problem is that people typically leave themselves too little time to complete any given journey, and then go ballistic over any delay.  That becomes a habit, so even when they are not in a hurry, the smallest delay sends people batshit crazy.  Others are just plain batshit cra-cra or perpetually angry.  I gave the bird to some dude one day who carved me up coming into a roundabout.  Old mate then slammed on the brakes, got out of his car, leaving it in the middle of the roundabout, and proceeded to rant dangerously at me for several minutes, while traffic backed up in all directions.  He was not a nice man, and clearly had issues way beyond my presence on the road.

  • And yes, texting is the new DUI.  We were safer when people were allowed to talk on their phones.

    And yes, I avoid school zones and soccer Mums like the plague.  I have every faith in their tendency to be in a hurry and to be distractible.  I’ll never forget the news story about the soccer Mum who blew through the same speed camera three times in a day, well over the limit, without even seeing it.  She was complaining about her subsequent loss of licence.

  • I took have a bad temper… I have a solution though.

    Remember these dudes?

    They have become a mascot of sorts. I have/am learning to bite my tongue, to not react. This applies to things beyond motorists, but life in general.

    “Smile and wave boys, just smile and wave”

    Works for the rude and the nice folks.

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