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Fed up!(25 posts)

Fed up!stacker
Jan 7, 2003 6:47 AM
I've had it. I've been verbally assaulted,sneered at, laughed at, had a handfull of change thrown at my back and been cut off by a pair of hunters with a dead deer on their roll back tow truck all on my last 5 rides! I ride on the shoulder(when there is one)use hand signals to let motorists know where I intend on going and obey traffic signals. I usually ride alone. So there's no concern of my riding partners taking up an extra foot of room on the roadway. I live in suburbia that boarders on some very rural roads with minimal traffic. On my last ride I was buzzed by some a-hole in their Ford Exploder at about 80 miles per hour at a couple of feet away. After I pulled the chunk of Italian leather out of my bung hole that was pinched off by the imediate fear induced slamming shut of said orifice I got very mad. I proceded to search every house along my ride for the offending vehicle to let him/her know of my displeasure with their driving. I had hoped it was a man so I could be a little more offensive which goes against my typically laid back attitude. I'm finding myself getting more and more upset over the seemingly "routine" offensives taken upon me on my "relaxation" rides. I'm actually looking forward to the day when the idiot who just buzzed me pulls over and wants to fight it out. I know that's not the way to be and it doesn't get me or cyclists anywhere but damn I'm getting to the breaking point! Your thoughts??
Oh..I gotta an even better one!MXL02
Jan 7, 2003 7:06 AM
I'm riding through the country lanes this weekend on a 40 miler, and a guy in a F350 duelie with dual flowmasters rumbling out the back, stops, rolls down his window, and asks very politely to speak to me. So I slow down and say sure, thinking he might want some directions. He then goes on to say that he just saw a cyclist get hit by a truck, and he wanted to know why we cyclists insist on riding on roads with no shoulder. (I couldn't believe what I was hearing!) He then goes on to ask me don't I know I could get hit, why do I put myself in harm's way, etc.

I politely tell him, a) I have a legal right to the road, and b)the only way I will get run over is if he or his cohorts run me over.

He just harumphs and drives off.

I don't know the answer... just be tough, be safe, and keep riding.
you had a chance to be an ambassador :-Pkenyee
Jan 7, 2003 7:55 AM
It sounded to me like he was asking a curiosity question rather than a "why don't you get off the road you idiot" question.

You could have said it's great enjoyable exercise, you get to see the countryside and enjoy it, it feels like flying (see Bicyling mag/rag reasons for biking issue), you wish they'd put in more roads w/ shoulders, the shoulders are full of debris that punctures tires, your S.O. is worried about you getting run over too, etc.

Instead, he probably thinks you're a jerk because you lumped him in w/ ignorant/aggressive yahoos just because he drove a truck (you said "he and his cohorts run you over")

Not everyone is out to get you, though it may seem that way all the time. Just MHO...
Trust me, he was not being curious, he was being a jerk.MXL02
Jan 7, 2003 8:06 AM
And I slowed down and tried to talk to him...he wasn't interested in listening. I was there and you weren't so don't assume you know what the hell went on. He thinks I'm a jerk because I wear a funny helmet, tight shorts, loud shirt, and ride on his road. And your right, not everyone is out to get you, and most drivers if treated courteously will respond in kind. This guy was a prick, make no mistake about it.
He sounded curious from the way you told itkenyee
Jan 7, 2003 8:40 AM
My comments were based on the impression I got from your first posting ("politely asked", etc.)...

If he was just doing that to annoy you, you're right in your response...
Yeah- He started out polite to get me to stop.MXL02
Jan 7, 2003 8:59 AM
He was just sucking me into a confrontation. It's hard to communicate the exact circumstances...but here I was riding alone down a quiet, deserted country lane and this guy stops and asks why I insist on riding on this road with no shoulder...like there wasn't enough room for the both of us...it was so absurd to me...he was the only vehicle I had seen for 15 minutes, and it wasn't like there was no room for him to pass.

I am in agreement with drivers who dis rude riders. Big pelotons who take up the whole road and won't let drivers pass, riders who run lights and stop signs with auto traffic active at the intersection, etc. But most of us work hard to exist harmoniously with drivers...hell, we are motorists also, for crying out loud! Its big fat cowboys in big fat pickup trucks that just don't seem to understand that they HAVE to share the road with law abiding cyclists. It's the law!
to get to the other side?kenyee
Jan 7, 2003 12:45 PM
I'm kinda curious what he would have said if you asked him "why the road didn't have a shoulder because he'd have to park in the road to change a tire" or "if he knew there's lots of broken glass on most shoulders that would easily blow your tires"? Would have made him think...maybe :-)

But if he really wanted a confrontation, it'd be moot. It's an odd way to get a confrontation though....being polite and all. You'd think if he wanted one, he would have started by being rude or flipping you off...
Don't blame youFrith
Jan 7, 2003 7:07 AM
For wanting to take you're anger out on somebody physically. Plenty of people on this board will commend you for keeping your cool and condemn you for losing it. I'm typically pretty laid back too but that doesn't stop me from wanting to kick dents in car doors and heads of drivers for doing some of the stupid sh*t they do.
The worst thing you can do is stop riding the same routes. Don't let them win.
Spit in his eye & ride away quicklyStevieP
Jan 7, 2003 7:42 AM
Thats what I did when I got cut up a few years back. After me politely telling him that he should be more careful he showed so much ignorance and blamed me (??!!) that I flobbed a big green un in his face without any thought whatsoever.

He chased & caught me and wanted to make more of it so he got out of his car, swung a punch and missed but in the process caught his suit jacket on my levers and ripped it!

When threatened with an assualt rap and with lots of witnesses to the punch attempt (but not the spitting I might add) he fled in a hurry. Ha! One up to me and, yes I woudl do it again if some a$$hole wants to blame me for his bad driving. I mean, how rude?!?!

I am mild mannered unless pushed which is when I get aggressive. I think it comes from years of commuting in traffic. Bottom line for me is to have a go if they are giving you grief but if they are bigger than you then be prepared to get whatever they want to give you!

I live in the UK and I often moan at our miserable unpredictable climate and wish for summers like you boys in the US but at least over here we don't get anywhere near as much grief as you seem to from motorists.

Keep riding - don't give in and carry some pepper spray just in case (see earlier thread relating to this subject).

Good luck.
Preaching to the choir...biknben
Jan 7, 2003 8:06 AM
We all know what it's like. I put the blinders on and ignore most everything. Horns, buzzing, ignorance, etc. are part of the daily routine. Horn blowing is often intended to be helpful. Getting buzzed is the result of someone not realizing how close they are or narrow roads, etc. We get cut off all the time because motorists misjudge our speed. We get no respect because we are such easy targets. I don't enjoy this stuff but it has become commonplace in my mind.

I draw the line at intentional harmful acts against me. If you're gonna throw something at me, try to run me off the road or something else to hurt me, you had better kill me in the process. I have made it a practice to memorize license plates and vehicle descriptions. I wouldn't hesitate to stake out an intersection for weeks, waiting for someone to return to the scene of an offense.

I have been very fortunate during my years of riding and haven't had something bad happen in a very long time. Although, I don't think it is just dumb luck. I know the rules of the road and abide by them. I ride aggressively but within the law. I am polite and respectful but display a no BS attitude. I believe motorists notice that and don't mess with me.
In Asheville........CARBON110
Jan 7, 2003 8:46 AM
Despite the place being the most " cyling aware " city i have been to, we stil have major rednecks. Seems every weenie likes to impress us by peeling tires, laying on the horn, or sign language. We have a common response, by just waving like they said hello or something. I have not yet entirely adopted this but when you wave it does make you feel better since your doing something, the other guy probably doesnt understand why your waving after his action,and it feels good that you made a smart choice. But, If there are projectiles or you get hit by a car.... no one will hesitate to call police and a lawyer for a FULL prosecution. You see there is no queestion on what to do about it, people behind the wheel are behind the wheel and responsible for everything on the road. Driving is about decision making sklls, and if you fack it up your accountable. A good friend of mine is prosecuting some teens for attempting to push him off the road by leaning out the window. He picked up his cell phone, stopped on his bike since they didnt push him over and called the police. The coppers nabbed the idiots and now they are going to court in additon to fines and tickets for careless and reckless driving. I often feel the way you do when so many instance occur in a short period of time but I would get a grip on it since it will ruin your bike rides as well as put you in danger. Try the wave thing it works :)
In Asheville........biknben
Jan 7, 2003 9:03 AM
Not sure if you intended to respond to me or the original poster but I also use the wave technique. It goes along with my very sarcastic sense of humor.

They might expect to get the finger but instead they get a friendly wave. A negative response provides statisfaction for the motorist. Diffusing it with a friendly wave takes all the fun out of it for them and they may be less likely to bother next time. At least that's what I hope for.
Not every time...JL
Jan 7, 2003 10:05 AM
I used to do the wave thing, but now I just put the blinders on and move on like another poster said. I had an incident with someone and did the wave thing. Long story, short he stopped and tried to run me off the road. I pressed charges with the cop that responded (I took his license plate #), but the case never made it to court. It's hard, very hard sometimes, but now I think it's better just to shake your head and keep on moving.

No response frustrates most just as much or more than A response.

Happy riding.

John
On riverside drive,thatsmybush
Jan 7, 2003 10:23 AM
the stretch that time forgot, was shot at by a kid (standing next to his father, or brother or both) with a BB gun. Will never forget that one.
Listen to Biknben:Fredrico
Jan 7, 2003 10:30 AM
And don't misjudge motorists who honk or pass too closely. The guy in the pickup truck was trying to make a statement, and being polite with him was appropriate when showing him your point of view. Maybe he took your argument to heart and has a better attitude about sharing the road with cyclists.

Most motorists I've encountered in my 18 years of riding are actually afraid of us. They don't want to hit us, but get anxious about what were going to do as they approach. That's why, as Biknben says, "ride aggressively but within the law." Show respect for motorists, but also show them that you know what you're doing, and they'll respect you and not mess with you.

I too haven't had any bad experiences in the last few years with hostile motorists, largely due to the reasons above. So don't give up on riding the roads, or give in to obnoxious motorists. Most are perfectly willing to share the road with cyclists, and it's been getting better year by year, as cycling is seen as a solution to congestion, pollution and obesity--rather than a problem.
re: Fed up!GileyD
Jan 7, 2003 8:38 AM
As StevieP said, you guys in the US do seem to suffer more from meatheads giving you grief intentionally than we do in the UK. We suffer bigtime from inconsiderate, careless and at times downright dangerous driving, but rarely get abuse unless it follows an altercation, i.e. a rider criticising a driver's ability.

Nearest I had recently was after suffering a rear wheel puncture in the rain. As I was fixing it at the side of the (busy) road a car full of late-teens drove by honking the horn and laughing at me out of the window. Not impressive but hardly a big deal. Where we live in Bristol there are a lot of good trails only 2-3 miles from the city centre, so there is a quite big MTBer population. Plus that fact we have a large university so there are lots of students who get about by bike, so drivers are used to seeing cyclists about the place on a regular basis.

From what I've heard on the Continent cyclists get treated so differently to the UK, or the US. People love bikes over there and think people who ride them are cool. It just seems that their culture is so much more bike-orientated. This has been brought home to me twice when I have hit the top of a big climb (once in the Lake District, once nearer home) to find a party of French tourists sight-seeing at the top. Each time they clapped and cheered me for riding the climb!!! I can't imagine a British person (non-cyclist) ever doing that , they just look at you like you're weird!!
Hang in there...joekm
Jan 7, 2003 8:40 AM
Years ago, after dealing with a lot of this same crap, I hung up my road bike and purchased a mountain bike. I even tried to sell the road bike back then. For a long time, I was strictly off road because I'd just had it with being run off the road, having things thrown at me, even shot at with a BB gun once.

I'm back on a road bike now and glad to be back. The mountain bike is an old hardtail that I now use to ride my son around. When he's old enough to ride on his own, it will be strictly around the neighborhood and off-road trails . I'll probably use that as an excuse to convice the wife I need a free ride frame so I can follow him.

Anyway, maybe this would work for you as well. Get yourself a cross country mountain bike and do some trail riding for a while. Reduce your road riding temporarily or restrict it to group riding (safety in numbers and all that). Don't give up your road bike, but perhaps a short vacation from the four-wheeled-assholes out there would help you re-center yourself.
re: Fed up!gregario
Jan 7, 2003 9:07 AM
In Michigan it's now legal for the general public to carry a concealed weapon with a permit, as long as you pass muster. I'm not kidding in saying that I've seriously considered it, and I've never owned a handgun.
get plate numbers, (police might not care???)nmwheelsucker
Jan 7, 2003 9:16 AM
re: Fed up!commuterguy
Jan 7, 2003 10:20 AM
I can certainly empathize with your frustration, and I have the past posts to prove it. I have also felt the urge to retaliate, but so far (fortunately) I have not. When I am calm, I try to think through the consequences. I am pretty sure that unless you are clearly and unambiguously engaged in self defense (i.e., a motorist or other person is out of their car, and is trying or credibly threatening to do you physical harm), fighting/throwing objects/etc. will lead to bad outcomes: trouble with the law, possible civil suits, bodily harm to yourself, etc.

Please note that I am NOT an attorney. This is just my understanding of when it is and isn't legal to physically harm someone. Verbal abuse, buzzing, getting cut off, etc. don't rise the level of justifying violence. There have been a number of news stories involving "ordinary" (generally law abiding) people who get caught up in road rage, which sometimes ends in fatalities. It must be very hard on the children/families of such people to know that mom/dad/son/daughter is dead/jailed over an argument with a stranger about being cut off in traffic.

That said, I try to use the following coping strategies, which aren't perfect but are better than losing control. First, I try to stay as calm as possible: de-escalation is vital to any emotion-charged confrontation. Most of my on-road biking is in fairly affluent areas, so calming pointing out that a motorist who tries to run a cyclist off the road has committed a felony tends to end the confrontation on my terms with the motorist shamed-faced (and worrying about losing their 401(k) in a civil action). When the offender merely offends and then motors off, I find that a long stream of unprintable comments about their car, taste in cars, probable profession, IQ, etc. also helps restore my mental balance.

Regarding the subcategory of harassers who pull over and start out quasi-politely before launching an insult or thinly veiled threat: I always try to cold, but polite. I.e., a printed transcript would reveal nothing out of the ordinary, but the harasser would be sure that I knew what he was up to, and that I wasn't falling for it. It also helps to have a ready response, appropriate to the situation. ("Sorry, why don't you ask somebody else driving a pickup truck: they seem to be the only people out here looking for [homosexuals].")

Personally, I think carrying a firearm would be a huge mistake, unless the cyclist doing so is a law enforcement officer. Even pulling it out of your pocket, whatever the provocation, might be a prosecutable offence (if no one hears the threats you are subjected to, but a lot of people see you brandishing a weapon, that could be bad).

Finally, I hope the trend towards nano-technology continues, to the point that cyclists will be able to have, mounted ontheir handle bars, a video and audio recorder. It would be great to be able to email to the relevant authorities an irrefutable record of the abuse that is visited upon us. This would greatly ease criminal and civil actions, and would help make the worst, repeat offenders virtually uninsurable.
Thanks everybody !!stacker
Jan 7, 2003 11:09 AM
To answer a question one of you had posed about riding my mtn bike as opposed to the road bike: I do ride a mtn bike as much as I ride my Pin. Each one has it's own personality, just like road riding differs from mtn riding. I love each discipline for what it is and don't plan on augmenting my training rides thereby giving in to the a-holes. Although the idea of carrying a handgun seems appealing at times, the practicality of it may be lost if I survive a fall only to have my sidearm accidently discharge and shoot me! Everybody who suggested their own form of dealing with idiots: Thanks, I plan on trying each one at least once before I lose my cool and do something I may regret. Funny thing about the whole thing is I notice that no matter what kind of community you live in, wether it be affluent or low class, redneck etc cyclist will still see some sort of harrasment. I too live in a fairly affluent area and was looking forward to less abusive motorists on my rides when I moved there!! Oh well, tomorrow is another day.......
I've had similar things happen to meS-U-B
Jan 7, 2003 1:22 PM
as the original poster. Beer bottles, people screaming at me etc. to the point I wasn't going to take it anymore. I was riding with 2 other friends on a straight road with no other cars and this redneck intintionally misses my head with his mirror by no more than 6 inches. We were about a half mile from the next town and I decided if I saw his truck I was going to open up a can on ass. I had been hoping to have the opportunity for a while and this was my chance, because his truck was parked out in front of a store, and I could see cowboy hat in the checkout line. My friends were scared and continued on as I circled the parking lot waiting. He came walking out and I rode right up to his door before he could get in and asked him somewhat politely if he had seen us on the road. His response was "yeah, that is why I didnt hit you". What he meant by this was "your only alive because I allowed you to be" and that was the wrong thing to say to me at that point. I verbally tore into this guy for a couple of minutes and was hoping he would come at me. I think he took a look at me, I'm 175 and very fit, and he decided better of it. The best part was that about ten people were standing in the parking lot and I made this guy look like a complete asshole, pardon my french. I know that I shouldn't have stooped to his level, but I draw the line at someone threatening my life, and I would have gladly beat this guy to a bloody pulp. If myself or one of my friends had swerved to the left just a couple inches, we would have been dead, and that is not something I can let go. I guarantee he will think twice about doing it again.
endurance athletes, pro *and* amateur, get NO repspectserbski
Jan 7, 2003 4:26 PM
It's odd that my primary sport of choice (running) and my cross-training sport of choice (road cycling) really seem to bring something out in motorists/passers-by. I can not even begin to tabulate how many times, and in how many cities (I travel as part of my job) I've been screamed at or had something thrown at me while running. Mind you, outside of the U.S. this is not really an issue, why I do not know. Unfortunately with cycling the issue goes beyond simple insults or the odd can/bottle hurled as poor driving, projectiles and threats become a lot more serious when one is going one on one with a car (and will invariably lose). I just don't get why people are literally *angered* by seeing someone *excercising*. Why do people, always young males, seem obligated to shout insults, invariably aimed at one's sexual orientation (and running/cycling clothing is not an excuse in my mind, I mean look at football players' pants for chrissakes!). To be honest, as a Los Angeles resident, if someone shouts "f@ggot" from a passing car I now take it as a compliment as most of the gay men I've ever known are well-dressed and pretty damned fit! I don't even know what my point is other than why the hell are people so intolerant of a frigging *sport*?! People don't get hounded while playing football or street hockey? Endurance sports just seem to make people see red not to mention that most "sportsfans" find said activities to be *non* sports anyhow. We do seem like an uncivilized lot sometimes here in the 'States I must confess...
one more thingS-U-B
Jan 7, 2003 5:36 PM
I forgot to put this in my previous post, but I think some of it is resentment. They see us out there doing something they know they should be doing, and we make them feel guilty. What do you think? I'm not even going to get into how insecure someone has to be to do any of these things.
Take a look...serbski
Jan 7, 2003 6:02 PM
at what media and society portray as the "average guy" vis a vis such things as "The Man Show" or any commercial on TV: a chubby/fat/balding mid-30's male. Now, I have no control over my receding hairline nor do I even really have a problem with the aforementioned programming etc., but I don't have to look like Tom Arnold or any other of the myriad of "schlub" types that we are bombarded with! I also don't mean to say that all cyclists or runners should or do look like Mario Cipollini/Lance Armstrong/whoever but they're all out there doing their best, striving for something beyond the average. Some a-hole in a car can only justify his flabbed-out Burger King existence by yelling some banality as he drives past the "wimp" on a bike. The guy/girl climbing up some gnarly, miserable mountain road has more balls any day!