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Being a cyclist in Asheville and Horrific Road Rage(24 posts)

Being a cyclist in Asheville and Horrific Road RageCARBON110
Jun 5, 2003 7:15 AM
Hey peoples,

My girlfriend is allowing me to use her sweet custom OCLV that I put together for her B-day 2 years ago until I replace my bike. I started cycling again on the local Velo-track 3 days ago and Im back using Tuesday night I went down to the rtack to watch the race and ride around with some friends and team mates. My reception was unreal. They announced my return over the mic, I never had a moment where someone wasnt saying "good to see you" or "welcome back how are you?" or "cant wait to ride with you again" It was pretty moving and a big surprise. Here in Asheville there is only one bike lane in the whole city but there is a huge cycling program.
There are about 3-4 group rides every week and everyone stops to help anyone in distress. Its a very organized program as well with good communication and we put on our own stage race. There have been some people branching off of the local club and local team to make new ones and they have been supported by Subuaru,LBS, and the entire club or team they left. There are lots of share the road signs everywhere and its absolutley beautiful alot more depth to being a cyclist

Road Rage
Last week 2 local riders were riding a local climb out side of the city. A woman drove by and pushed them off the road. They gave her the finger so she turned around and attempted to hit them 3 more times. On the last pass they banged their hands on her car since she was so close and they were off their bikes at this point. The driver then went to the sherrifs department accousing them of accousting her. The police followed her back where they eventually found the riders again. After a heated argument the cop put the woman in her car and told her not to move since she was bordering on out of control. No charges were filed. She in turn wen tback to the police department and pleaded with the man in charge there. The cops had revealed during the argument the name of both the woman and the cyclists.
When she was turned away again by the police she told her husband what happened. Two days later her husband followed one of the riders home from his office and got him to pull over. He the beat him with a baseball bat to near death. The rider spent 4 days in the hospitol and is home trying to recover now. The man was charged with attempted murder and his wife will be charged eventually with being an accessory. After the incident the woman who pushed them off the road sent emails to local bike shops waring them that there is a group of people out to get cyclists since they dont pay taxes and shouldnt be on the road. Insane. Be prudent on the road out there people
Must be summer again- nm :(filtersweep
Jun 5, 2003 7:30 AM
another reason I'm getting real sick of NCabicirider
Jun 5, 2003 7:30 AM
In general people here in NC are just idiots the most unreliable untrustworthy, ruddess people I have ever seen in my 40+ years of life get me out of this hell hole
Be Safe Out On The Roads!!!!!!!
Ray Still
Mooresville, NC
try mich!andy02
Jun 5, 2003 7:37 AM
I can deal with the people in NC much better then MI! I rode a lot in NC but it is nothing compared to a state with terrible roads and idiots. to ride in the front around here you can't use your hands they are too busy pointing out holes, dead things (people to if your near detroit), and sudden ending roads and lanes.
just not so!marcmarc
Jun 5, 2003 8:40 AM
I beg to differ concerning your generalized broad range statement here.."hell hole"? You can get the crap beat out of you practically anywhere go live, ride, and especially if you happen upon the insane. It was probably not in these riders best interest or best judgement to act or react like they did. I suggest calling the police in these matters, but that's me. Most road bikers I know just cope and accept the ocassional idiot car driver. I hope the guy in Asv is okay.
w-s, nc
Its getting worse everywhereKristin
Jun 5, 2003 11:44 AM
I've watched road rage evolve to a new level over the past 5 years here in Chicago. Its unreal the way people drive these days. "Get the FRIG outta my way or I'm gonna run you over. And don't think I give a crap that there is a car 5 feet in front of you."

In my own little experiment, I'm finding there are not more compulsively angry people with drivers licenses; but rather there are more people responding negatively to bad driving. For example, recenly a woman jumped on my tail while I was in the fast lane--which was moving only slightly faster than the lane she was in before. I was watching her, and I could tell she was agitated. Just my luck, there was a gap behind my car. So at the moment my rear bumper cleared her front bumper she was on me like white on rice. Now that makes me really nervious and I get upset. I gave her about...hmmm...10 seconds, to get off my tail before I tapped my brakes. Well, you would have thought I shot a gun at her. She started charging my bumper and slamming on her brakes. As soon as she got the chance she swerved around me and pulled up next to me. So I flipped her off. (Yes, I am suposed to be a Christian...I know...) Then she cut me off and locked her brakes, almost causing a crash. Now, how much of that would have happened if I'd just ignored her to begin with? The road would have been safer for me and others if I'd just let her be.

For the past 2 weeks now I've been experimenting. I ignore people who jump on my bumper. All but ONCE, the person backed off to a reasonable distance within 5 minutes. There will always be nutcases on the road because the don't give psych tests to license applicants; but I believe that we can help road rage. If we can calm ourselves a little when we encounter these people, and not respond, then road rage problem would subside a bit. Anger is like cancer, it spreads aggressively. It's super hard to turn it around; but I believe American's are up to the challenge.

Responsibility is a slippery slope. The man who beat the cylist is responsible for his choices, and I hope he goes to jail for what he did. But would it have gone that far if the riders had not responded in a way that provoked the woman? In my world, I'm finding that flying the bird never subdues a hostile environment. Then I have to ask, "Do I want to be part of the problem or the solution."

I'm not blaming here...just food for thought.
Try thisMel Erickson
Jun 5, 2003 12:58 PM
There's even a question related to cycling. Lots of other info on safe driving. I think you're even in the test!
Took itKristin
Jun 5, 2003 4:19 PM
I only got 2 wrong on the test. But I am appearantly a high risk driver, based on their other test. Hmmph. Well, I live in Chicago and compared to 90% of the people I share the road with, I'm a safe driver.

I saw the question about tailgating, and their little answer, "From time to time you may experiece someone following you to closely..." What??? From time to time? Lets see. This morning I drove 40 miles in heavy stop and go traffic for 1 hour and 15 minutes. I was seriously (frighteningly?) tailgated no less than 4 times during my journey. And that doesn't include my trip home. Oh, and the concept of the passing lane is completely lost. Grandma and grandpa are doing 52 MPH in the left hand lane because they got an IPASS for their Buick. So Junior is weaving his souped up Civic in and out of the other two lanes.

Slow down, and let the tailgater pass? Where? Its wall to wall traffic on both sides. And tell the authorities? I tried that on 3 separate occasions--when people did some really scary crap. That was a waist of my time. They don't give a sh$t what people do unless they see it. So... I'm gonna try some meditation before my commute and see if that helps me any. Otherwise I'm gonna get an ulcer. Driving in Chicago used to be okay. Now it totally bites. I'm not sure if I changed or other people changed or both; but something sure has changed.

Okay, I've got to go get on the highway and drive another 30 miles. At least most people are home having dinner now.
My condolencesMel Erickson
Jun 5, 2003 7:21 PM
My commute is 5 minutes, 10 minutes by bike. In 75 minutes I can be at the cabin on the lake having a beer on the dock with a line in the water. I also got two wrong but didn't take the test for risk. I'll have to do that. I couldn't stand the drive you do. My bro-in-law lives in Libertyville and takes the train to work in the Loop. He reads the paper and tells us about the unwritten train etiquette. Pretty weird. Eau Claire is big enough for me!
Jun 5, 2003 7:32 AM
The cyclist should have asked to press charges the first time. She was in a car they were not, if she had done that to a cop on a mountain bike she would have been in jail to start on attempted murder the first time. That is the reason I keep a cell phone with me on rides.
re: Being a cyclist in Asheville and Horrific Road RageThe Human G-Nome
Jun 5, 2003 7:43 AM
god, how i wish people like this were merely an aberration. the police should have arrested the lady the first time she came in to complain that "when i tried to run them over several times with my car, they just wouldn't cooperate and die for some reason. and then they hit my car."
I'll pass on both....philippec
Jun 5, 2003 7:43 AM
I don't live in the US though I have in the past. I remember that many cyclists there had an almost "touchy-feely" (for lack of a better word) approach to what they viewed as the cycling "community". Perhaps that has changed as cycling has grown there, but I often see posters wistfully say that cyclist should act in solidarity to each other (e.g. wave and acknowledge every wave, etc...). I could never buy into that when I was there (when I am out doing hard intervals, the last thing I want to do is wave at every cyclist I pass!), but I could see the resons that many American cyclists have a "circle-up-the-wagons" attitude. The above post clearly highlights the little respect and outright abuse that american cyclists get from their fellow citizens.

When I moved back to France it was welcoming to go on rides and not be made to feel like every fellow cyclist was one of a marginal yet enlightened brotherhood/sisterhood. No waving, no need to talk to each other at lights (unless you wanted to), no need to make cycling anything more than it is -- a sport that most of the country practices.

A normal sport.

What a breath of fresh air!

To those huddling together in non-cycling friendly places - may the day come fast when the banality of cycling does away with the cycling "community".



P.S. Okay, having read over what I just wrote, let me just say for the record that I, in no way, shape or form condone cyclists not waving at each other, talking to each other, rubbing each others backs, engaging in group hugs, fornic... oh well, you get the idea. etc... All I am trying to say is that the faster cycling becomes as normally accepted a sport as, what, NASCAR?, baseball?, US football?, golf? (pick one), the faster such egregious transgressions of normal civil norms as described above (and in many other posts) will go away.

Bon courage!!!
There is always a certain percentage of the population....MR_GRUMPY
Jun 5, 2003 7:48 AM
that are just plain NUTS. You just can't let it bother you.
Aren't all wives accessories?Stampertje
Jun 5, 2003 8:00 AM
But I have to agree with Philippe -
I lived in the Chicago suburbs for allmost two years and while I have never encountered serious road rage someone would yell at me from their truck at least once a week. As a result, I started seeing every cyclist as someone who was "on my side". Now that I'm back in the Netherlands, it's nice to know that you're not unusual for riding a bike and most drivers are well accustomed to driving around cyclists.

A lot of cyclists here could learn something from the American situation, though. Perhaps my eyes have just been opened during my stay in the US, but drivers are getting more aggravated at cyclists hogging the roads, jumping red lights and cutting off cars here, too. I rarely nodded or waved to people before I had been away, but now that that's become a habit I find that I get a lot more respect or at least a friendlier response from other road users than before.
Wow, what a sad storyrollo tommassi
Jun 5, 2003 8:15 AM
I'd be interested to see any links or updates on this story, especially on how the community responds to these nutcases.
???? Since when don't cyclists pay taxes???TNSquared
Jun 5, 2003 8:30 AM
Last time I checked, I was paying the same as everyone else, bike or not.

In fact, when motorists tell me to get off the road, my calm, smiling responses is typically "hey, I pay the same road tax as you."

I guess if I didn't own any registered automobiles, I might not pay road tax specifically, but why would anyone assume that no cyclist owns a car. And even if I didn't, it's still a public access road.

I just don't get what makes some people so bitter, hateful and unable to function with even one iota of compassion or common sense - in any setting.
???? Since when don't cyclists pay taxes???pdg60
Jun 5, 2003 9:08 AM
That one always gets me too.

I am a homeowner, car owner, biz. owner, etc. I pay my fair share of taxes like anyone else. Those ignorant f*&!s!

I would argue that we cyclists actually "pay more" in taxes in the transportation context. When we ride our bikes on the local roads which are maintained, etc. via these taxes we do less damage than any car or truck.

Thus, IMO our (cyclists') tax dollars paid for our actual usage of said infrastructure is skewed out of our favor.

???? Since when don't cyclists pay taxes???moo2
Jun 5, 2003 10:35 AM
> but why would anyone assume that no cyclist owns a car.

Why? Because to these people, a bicycle is just a way to get from point A to point B, and nothing more. This is the same way they think of thier cars. Just a tool.

They can't imagine that someone would be riding a bicycle for any reason other than to get somewhere. I guess our spiffy outfits don't have any effect on that idea.
Info for people considering moving to NC:Alexx
Jun 5, 2003 9:52 AM
I've been down to this area many, many times, and my best friend from HS days has lived there for better than a decade now. Still, for any northerners considering relocating to the are, you have to realize that this is still hillbilly heaven. Once you get outside of the cities, it's white trash heaven-trailer parks and backwoods shacks galore!
Sick event. Sick person. But we can do things to helpPaulCL
Jun 5, 2003 9:53 AM
the situation of cyclists vs. motorists.

The guy I ride with regularly blows thru red lights and stop signs in front of cars. I think it is stupid and embarrassing. He even did it blatantly in front of a cop, but the cop didn't do anything. This really pisses motorists off -if we want to be respected as a 'vehicle' then we have to follow the rules. Everytime.

Also, I have learned to NEVER flip anyone off while on the bike. Its' just plain stupid to put yourself at risk by pissing off some nut in a 4000lb car. I learned the hard way when some billy bobs jammed their pickemuptruck into reverse to come get me. Luckily, they were more show than go.

In a group ride, don't ride 3 or 4 abreast and block the road. You can almost feel the rage building within the motorist stuck behind a big group. I've read too many stories on the board of someone plowing into a large group of cyclists.

There is no excuse to try to hit one of us, but if we follow the rules, maybe the frequency will decline. We can never protect ourselves against individual nutcases. The guys in CARBON110's recount were truly victims of a really sick couple. I hope the cyclist recovers soon.

Just my $.02 Paul
wrong defense, IMHOseamus
Jun 5, 2003 11:37 AM
That thoroughly sucks, and there's no excuse that things like this should happen in a supposedly "civilized" culture. BUT. Cyclists are a persecuted minority of sorts, and we place ourselves in harm's way whenever we ride. Many, many people don't like us, and some a-holes don't mind voicing that or even threatening our lives. It sucks but it's pretty common.

I think the only way to keep from escalating situations like this is to simply not react, even to overt threats. Just keep riding. It's damn hard to do, but it's not like you're going to win a fight with a driver/car in most cases, and even flipping cars off makes us ALL look like punks and spawns even more resentment. Think about it...if you pulled ever rude driver out of his car and punched him, you'd have a lot of pissed off drivers with bloody noses, looking for revenge on other cyclists.

I know how it is, in my 18 years of riding I've flipped off and yelled at drivers and gotten in plenty of roadside confrontations, but now I try my hardest to ignore the a-holes of life, count to 10 and keep pedaling and looking over my shoulder.

Besides, people usually lose interest in harrassing people if they don't react. Aggressive people need to feel dominant, and if you don't react, they think they won.
File a complaint the legal way.the Phantom
Jun 5, 2003 2:50 PM
In Massachusetts we have our share of sicko nutcases who hate cyclists. I had a road rage insident last year where a fat woman with an SUV literally pushed me off a narrow road. She rear ended me while swerving left to right fully intentionally. All this while on the phone and shouting out the window. I went to the local small town police who thought it was the crime of the century. She was arrested promptly and charged with a list of offenses. This case, the cops did their job well. BTW, she is a town official too, this was increadibly embarassing to her. Many states have a form that can be filled out to report offending drivers that starts the ball rolling to a liscence suspension or at least driving to endanger with ten points against their 'privilage' to drive. Get this form from the local police or DMV. The only drawback is that you will be required to make a personal statement against them in a court hearing. I have seen the offensive woman again, shouted 'driving to endanger' to her, she woke up promptly with a force feed new opinion for cyclists.
Well Done! nmserbski
Jun 5, 2003 5:51 PM
Visit your local NC policeman!Alexx
Jun 6, 2003 3:21 AM
And, here's his pic, if you need to find him!

(BTW, Mayberry was supposedly Mt Airy, NC...)