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What is it about cycling that pisses off drivers?(42 posts)

What is it about cycling that pisses off drivers?bnlkid
May 15, 2002 12:20 PM
I know this has been posted before in some form or other, but I can't help expressing my displeasure with certain fellow residents of a nice midwestern city. Twice yesterday I had what I would call an ear buzzing experience with a vehicle passing me. The first was a large Ford F150 that didn't bother to move over as he passed, then proceeded to turn right 200 feet after passing. The other, and more frustrating experience was a minivan(driven by a redneck and his buddy) that passed me within about an inch of my head. I swear I could feel the mirror buzz my ear. This was on a recreational parkway that is supposed to be bike friendly. After the van passed me, it moved all the way to the right and slowed down to about 15 mph. It maintained that pace for about 1/2 mile purposely trying to piss me off. I couldn't pass him on the right so I broke left to pass him, he moved left and sped up, then slowed down and moved right again. I yelled something(I think I called him a F***ing jerk, but I don't really remember). He slammed on the brakes like he was going to stop, get out, and beat the tar out of me. I was actually welcoming a confrontation because there were 5 cars behind me just as pissed off as I was, not to mention the 6 or 7 onlookers walking on the sidewalk. I think the guy realized this and sped off. I don't understand the mentality behind some of these jerks. I'm thinking about turning his license number into the police and just stating this guy was a menace. Not sure that would help. Thanks for listening.
don't think about it, do it. maybe too late now, though. nmJS Haiku Shop
May 15, 2002 12:26 PM
turn him inmr_spin
May 15, 2002 12:41 PM
The guy is clearly a menace and you have a responsibility to turn him in. He probably does this crap to other riders. Tell the police you want him charged with vehicular assault, ADW, or some other category of assault. That's what it was.

I've heard about incidents where drivers purposely try to cause my friends to crash, so I would have no mercy on someone who tried to do it to me or someone I was riding with.
The cyclist strikes back...tronracer
May 15, 2002 12:47 PM
Carry a tiny ulock with you and whip it out whenever you need something to whack a redneck with. (The ulock works on cars too) I always like to slam the side view mirror shut. Course, I ride in the city.

Just my two cents
The cyclist strikes back...chopper
May 15, 2002 1:07 PM
At one point I thought of designing a little basket that attaches to the top tube that would hold a golf ball. Someone pisses you off and you have a nice little handy projectile.
I usually bring along a special friendAllisonHayes
May 15, 2002 1:53 PM
He has a zero tolerance policy for these idioso homeboys. It works much better than flipping 'em the bird.

Oh well, so much for my imagination....but that is what I would like to do.
what if the driver is mothra? nmmr_spin
May 15, 2002 2:29 PM
I tell you there are a lot of weidos out thereAllisonHayes
May 15, 2002 2:43 PM
and there are a lot of mothra f!@k!@rs out there too. The worse is when it is really early or really late, nearly dark and you have some of these jokers hanging around.
...or more likely, the Smog MonsterMe Dot Org
May 15, 2002 6:18 PM
re: What is it about cycling that pisses off drivers?PhatMatt
May 15, 2002 2:30 PM
I was riding last year and a blazer full of kids through a bottle at me. It went just behind my head and I heard it but did not fully see what it was. The driver of the car just behind them took there plate number down and stopped let me use his cell and call the cops. So I guess there are good ones and bad ones.

re: What is it about cycling that pisses off drivers?filtersweep
May 15, 2002 2:52 PM
I love it when it is a car with a bike rack driving idiotically...

Say what you will, but I seem to get much more respect on my roadbike when I'm dressed for the part.

When I drive, I quickly lose respect for individual bikers (usually not road bikers) who drive slowly in traffic, causing me to slow considerably until I can change lanes, then they pass me on the right when I'm stopped for a red, maybe they even blow the red, and I have to pass them again- this time not as carefully. There are too many of these idiots that give all cyclists bad names.
It's this I think...MrCelloBoy
May 15, 2002 2:57 PM
1.) We're doing something that looks far more fun than driving a car.

2.) We're causing them to have to exert more effort than just cruising on their merry way.

The problem drivers are basically just damn impatient. A bike on the road causes them to have to slow down for interminable amounts of time (seconds).
re: What is it about cycling that pisses off drivers?2cflyr
May 15, 2002 3:02 PM
check out the latest dirt rag- there's an article about urban commuters. some great stories!! good pick-me-up, especially if youve recently been threatened by a 2 ton murder machine
I'm convincedmwood
May 15, 2002 3:06 PM
that many of the antagonistic drivers know (but would never admit) that they can't handle the physical exertion and dedication required to ride a bike any distance.
There reaction to cyclists is an expression of their frustration with themselves.
I'm convincedlemmy999
May 16, 2002 5:30 AM
I think that may be a problem with some people, but not most. I think the problem is that in high traffic areas, people just get frustrated with a bicycle holding up traffic and having to go in to the other lane to get around
them (and on a curvy road this can be a little dangerous). Where I live, most of the roads have no shoulder and you have to hold up traffic to ride on most roads. When you are in the middle of nowhere with no traffic, I just think it is just morons that are bored and have nothing else to do (already picked up the welfare check and a 6 pack, the wife ain't home to beat and it ain't deer season, so they pick on the rider).
and they breed too...theBreeze
May 15, 2002 3:28 PM
Two weeks ago a car passed and an 8 year old kid threw a handful of marbles at me. Leaned right out the passenger window to do it. I can't imagine what the parent might have been thinking. Luckily they weren't tacks, and just bounced around harmlessly on the road, but jeez...
If you don't mind adding a part to your bike...Lone Gunman
May 15, 2002 3:58 PM
you could attach a fiberglass rod like the kind that you place at the end of your driveway to the underside of your handlebars with zip ties or bar tape in the horizontal position so that it extends about 1.5 feet to the left. Make sure it is nice and bright so it is easily seen and put a serrated edge on the tip of it. Anyone gets too close to you is going to get "marked". I tried this once but had an orange flag on the end of the stick and it made too much wind noise. People definitely gave me more room with that marker.
I knew a guy who did this...Breakfast
May 16, 2002 1:16 AM
...and it used to piss me off and I'm a bike rider and cautious motorist!

Adding an extension to try and give yourself more room is going to backfire, Believe me. I personally thought this was pure arrogance on the part of the rider. Driving or riding behind this dude and his "stick" made it difficult to gauge just how far the thing was sticking out. Drove me nuts on the bike, fortunately he was slower than molasses and easy to pass.
I do this on my touring bike!Alexx
May 16, 2002 3:51 AM
Of course, I mount it under my seat, and use an old screwdriver blade hose-clamped to the end for collecting 'paint samples'. The next SOB that tries to run me off the road on my morning commute is gonna get 'keyed', and I'll have evidence for the gendarmerie!
Just try it, SUCKA!!!!
I'm just going to remember what they look like, then,Mike P
May 15, 2002 4:17 PM
40 years from now when I'm almost 80 and can't see and can't ride any more, I am going to sell my bike and buy a Mac Truck. . . Just the cab part. Then I am going to go open a bucket of revenge on everyone that ever messed with me just because they were driving something that could kill me at the time. Then, when I put my teeth in the glass on the sink I'll most likely break loose with a big toothless grin.

Mike Ihopemymemorydoesntgofirst Pugh
If I had a bulldozer...Lone Gunman
May 15, 2002 4:21 PM
everything would go my way....
Like this one?PdxMark
May 15, 2002 5:28 PM
re: What is it about cycling that pisses off drivers?Bacco
May 15, 2002 4:58 PM
It seems to me that most drivers do try to "share the road" with bikers, but they simply don't know how they are suppose act in many situations. For sure, there is a very tiny percent of drivers that are actually malicious and intentionally try to scare or hurt bikers (I have had three minor experiences in 10 years with such people). I believe that there is a sizeable fraction of drivers that are careless without mal-intent (those who are talking on cell phones, eating, or otherwise preoccuppied or spaced out) that scare the heck out of me because I don't know which way they are swerving next. I think that if local police or bike clubs would start databases to track instances (recording license numbers, vehicle descriptions, etc.) of near misses, hits, or abusive behavior against bikers, it would help to support criminal charges and civil suits against malicious or careless drivers that repeatedly threaten bikers. The same careless or aggressive drivers that scare me on my bike also scare me when I'm driving my car, so it's a bigger problem than just "sharing the road". Legislation and education are both needed to begin to tackle this problem. As for teenagers who act like they have no brain and throw bottles at bikers or worse, well, we can only hope they mature quickly and don't kill us before their brains catch up with their bodies!
Intolerance of someone different...PdxMark
May 15, 2002 5:20 PM
It's the same intolerance that is the root of bigotry, religious hate, homophobia... Intolerance dictates that difference must be hated simply because one person is different from the intolerant one... Difference itself denotes the other person is wrong (by virtue of a different choice, life, belief, skin color, vehicle)..., and so can or must be hated. It's best illustrated in some interpretations of religion, where non-believers deserve derision, attack, or death...

Where does intolerance come from? Who knows. Sometimes it's ignorance. Sometimes it's sanctimony. Sometimes just plain meanness...

Drivers who hate/attack cyclists see nothing other than difference or delay. In the self-centered worlds of those drivers, difference or delay is an imposition that warrants attack. So what do we do about the intolerant? We can try to show and teach them that we cyclists are just people... or we can drag their fat a$$es from their cars and beat the daylights out of them...
Exactly! (nm)Spoke Wrench
May 16, 2002 4:46 AM
Long-winded philisophical response....speed-chump
May 15, 2002 6:19 PM
I know it doesn't always work this way, but twice I've
caught some of the more malicious ones at a light, taken
out my cell phone, displayed it to them and said - "You
know, it's not that hard for me to memorize your plate

Even the most dense motorist understands the implications.

Most agressive drivers will "flick" you because they think
they can do it without consequences. Simply pointing out
their actions might possibly have consequences usually
settles them down. They are cowards, trying to intimidate
you simply because they feel they have the upper hand. Turn
the tables and everything changes.

Sometime's people just need to have it pointed out to them
that they are not, in fact, "king of the road". Their time,
safety, and convenience is no more important than yours. But
there's a basic animal territorial instinct that many have
not risen above - "might is right, and I'll screw you just
because I can." To a certain extent you have to expect it.
We are animals, and many of us are, frankly, incapable of
exerting self-control. The civil way for us to counter this
behavior is simply to show that cyclists are not, in fact,
easy pickings, and that agressive drivers may actually be
held accountable for their actions.

Stay out there, stake out your space, and defend it. You
have a right to it. Carry a phone, not a projectile. A
threat of violence feeds their agenda - "might is right".
Whereas a phone is a simple reminder that we live in a
(somewhat) civilized society where agressive antagonistic
behavior has repercussions. Don't curse. The bystanders
are the undecided majority. If you act rationally while
the agressor does not, you are earning points for all
cyclists in their eyes.

Believe me, I know it's hard to remain calm when some moron
is threatening your life, but flying off the handle is
merely mimicking their uncontrolled behavior. It's possible
to rise above their level while making your point, rather
than simply rolling in the mud with them.

Good luck. Be safe, don't allow yourself to be intimidated,
and most importantly - BE THE BETTER MAN. That is what is
most important for all of us. ladies included ;)

Zachary Broussard
Nicely saidkenyee
May 15, 2002 7:27 PM
Though I'd have to say that reporting them and asking an officer to give them a call at home is really needed. It'd also help a lot more if the media reported incidents like this and the police action so that there is publicized proof that people do get caught for doing stupid stuff like this.

I think it's the bullies from school that grow up to be the rude idiots you see on the road. Same bad attitudes about how to live in society, within its laws. Same behavior towards the "weaker" species.
Long-winded philisophical response....vitusdude
May 16, 2002 4:28 AM
Beautifully said.
In principle, I wish it could always work that way.Leisure
May 16, 2002 7:40 AM
My experience is, the way the system works, the only way you can be the "better man", as you put it, is to be a helpless victim. I want to start reading more experiences where reporting these kinds of threatening behaviors yields some sort of productive outcome. From what I've read so far over almost a year now, quite the minority has actually seen the law do anything for them in these situations. What I've seen and experienced, first hand and through the pipeline of coworkers who were former officers, the law doesn't help you. IMO, you are more likely to get punished for asking them to do their own damn jobs. You cannot be the "better man" without endlessly turning the other cheek. As long as you keep turning your cheek and saying "thank you" as the "justice" system brushes you off, noone gives a damn. Until you react. Then suddenly they have to step in and "break it up". Turning the other cheek? I left that mantra behind a long time ago. And while I can keep trying to look for better, more peacefully assertive methods of approaching these situations, the fact is these are (primarily) malicious cowards we are talking about, that get off on tormenting someone they think is helpless. Between a rock and a hard place, there's not always a right answer, or even a good answer. But you try to find the best answer anyway, because that's all you can do. I speak this having been through an ugly situation where I didn't know any good way out, and made a decision I don't feel good about, but can't decisively argue a better way to have done it. So I'm in limbo on the issue. Sometimes I feel it's resolved, others I feel paranoid about it. I guess what I'm saying is, sure you and I can keep trying to be the "better man", but it's a vague ideal you're chasing and there sure doesn't seem to be a whole lot of reward in it.
Most drivers are courteousMe Dot Org
May 15, 2002 6:33 PM
Yes, there are people who are overtly hostile. Yes, there are people who are just not aware. (How many people have had a car pass you only to make an unsignaled right turn right in front of you?)

But most drivers are courteous. It's just that when you deal with a driver who is not courteous while driving a car, you are surrounded by a couple of thousand pounds of steel and glass. Some people have a lot of hostility, and the temptation to use the bulk of their vehicle as a weapon is just too much to pass up.

Actually, what I like to think what I would have done in your situation is to get off my bike. Not worth it.
re: Do it!JL
May 16, 2002 4:32 AM
Similar thing happened to me last year. We charged the guy, but I never heard a thing since. So be prepared for nothing. It feels right to turn the a**hole in though, but like someone else said it may be too late.

Happier riding.

re: Do it!lemmy999
May 16, 2002 5:25 AM
You had better be careful taking some of the advice here. I had a friend that was riding a bike in the city and a guy almost hit him. My friend yelled at him or flipped him off. The huge guy got out, came up grabbed his bike and stopped it with one hand and punched him with the other. This knocked him out cold for about 5 minutes. When he woke up the ambulance was coming and the guy was gone. He said the guy had no shirt, was huge and looked like he had just gotten out of prison. He felt he was lucky the guy didn't have a gun or knife on him. Throwing golf balls or cursing or flipping them off can lead to worse things. Unless you are carrying a small hand gun and know how to use it. I would suggest just trying to avoid conflict if at all possible.
Cyclists routinely piss me off...TJeanloz
May 16, 2002 5:30 AM
I've put a lot of miles on the road on a bike, and quite a few in the car (as I think is the case for most people here). Actually, last year was the first year I put more milage on my car than on my bike, but my perspective isn't that it's a driver/cyclist problem, it's a personality problem.

In my years of riding on the road, all over the world, I've never had a driver do anything remotely like what I hear about. Never had anything thrown at me, never had any car sideswipe me (I've been hit by mirrors and whatnot- but always in a city setting where the road was too narrow to do anything about it). Never had drivers yell at me. But I have been a driver too. And I have been VERY frustrated to be behind a group ride that's riding three abreast on a road with no shoulder- and stuck behind them for miles. A lot of cyclists say "no big deal, it only cost you 5 minutes." This is true, but it's a matter of courtesy. They don't want me blocking the road anymore than I want them to. It is, in my mind, a lack of courtesy on both sides that causes the problem. Keep in mind that, as a driver, I get just as upset at a grandmother who's driving 15 mph and not letting anyone pass as I do a cyclist who's doing the same thing.

It just seems to me that too many cyclists have this: "bikes belong" attitude, which is true to a point, but it isn't a case where bikes get to show an "I own the road" attitude.
Where do you live?Leisure
May 16, 2002 6:31 AM
Just wondering where my next residence should be. ;-)
I'm with you on this.bnlkid
May 16, 2002 7:12 AM
That's why I try to ride as much courtesy as possible. I will wait my turn at a stop sign, move as far right as possible, etc. I don't like the 3 abreast ride situation, either, but I see it all the time. What really gets me about the situation I described above, is that I was being courteous, minding my own business, not doing anything to upset this guy and out of nowhere he starts being a jerk. Keep in mind this was on a parkway that is used by just as many bikes as cars. There is even a section that has a bike lane. I would understand the behaviour a little more if it was a busy street. It was also the first beautiful day in over a week, so everyone should have been in a great mood. :)

Maybe I was able to just ignore these things before, but since my surgery, I am a little more concerned about a crash. I could end up right back in the hospital if I feel on my hip wrong. Even a quick jump of the bike might injure it.
Most frustrating:TJeanloz
May 16, 2002 7:16 AM
My single biggest pet peeve: you wait for a while to have ample space to get around a cyclist on a narrow road, you reach a stop sign, stop and the cyclist cruises through on your right, so that you again, have to wait to pass them. I bet 9/10 times, the cyclist doesn't even realize what they've done.

But how would you feel if the cyclist was a car- you pass them on a narrow road because they're going to slow, and then they work themselves around you at the intersection, and you have to pass again?
Most frustrating:bnlkid
May 16, 2002 7:29 AM
I know what you mean. I actually feel guilty when I pass cars on the right in a bike lane even though cars won't have to wait to pass me. I am so conscious of this that I make sure I wait my turn at stop signs, lights, etc. I even had another cyclist get a little miffed at me because I was blocking the road on the right side waiting for the line of cars and he couldn't get passed.
Most frustrating:biknben
May 16, 2002 7:40 AM
I think this is what puts most drivers over the edge. Having to pass a bicycle can be a real hassle on a narrow road. Then having to do it all over again just pisses them off. Two reasons: They realize a bike is going faster then they are in their car. Also, they become more aware that the traffic is the reason and they get frustrated.

Personally, I find it gratifying when I keep up with or pass traffic. At the same time, I don't taunt motorists in this situation, especially when on a narrow road. I mind my own business and obey the laws. If they get pissed it because of them, not me.
I'm all for passing,TJeanloz
May 16, 2002 8:20 AM
If I'm on my bike, in a city-type environment, where the bike is going every bit as fast (or faster) than cars, it's fine to pass. As long as you're going to stay in front of the car you pass. It's asinine when you pass a car that has to stop legally, and you ignore the law to jump around, just so that they have to re-pass you.

This also goes out the window if there is a dedicated bike lane- then you have your own lane, and passing shouldn't be an issue.
Cyclists have just as much responsibilityAllisonHayes
May 16, 2002 7:29 AM
Whatever happened to "car back?" 3 abreast or even 2 abreast when there is traffic is inexcusable and only draws unnecessary wrath from drivers. Don't fuel the fire is my philosophy.

2 penny's worth Allison
has anyone ever been fined for passing cyclist in nopass zone?nmcyclopathic
May 16, 2002 10:25 AM
Texas rednecksMSA
May 16, 2002 7:31 AM
It always amazes me that even in Lance's home state, redneck pickup truck drivers enjoy harassing cyclists. Last weekend, someone even dumped a box of tacks on our usual route!!! I even know a former road racer who used to carry a gun when he road in the country. Its really a shame.