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Thread: Was I buzzed?

  1. #1
    Senior Member filtersweep's Avatar
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    Was I buzzed?

    I was commuting to work on my fixed gear this morning enjoying a massive tailwind (albeit contemplating the ride home after work) when I approached one of the diciest parts of my commute- a stretch of shoulderless, narrow parkway posted at 25mph with horrible pavement and a tall curb (for the locals, it is the stretch of Minnehaha Parkway between Lake Nokomis and Hiawatha). Anyway, it was about 6:20am- and I can normally make it all the way to the river with maybe a handful of cars passing me- so this is not a high traffic time of day. I wouldn't even consider using this stretch of road during rush hour, since there is no room for a bike to pass a stopped car on the right, and cars back up for blocks during the evening- but this was early morning with light traffic.

    Anyway, I heard a car approaching me from behind, and notice a car driving toward me from the opposite direction. The car behind me wasn't slowing down, from the sound of his tires. I gave the glance over the shoulder to let him know I know he is there. I was soft pedalling at about 20 mph with a mighty wind at my back. The car behind me still wasn't slowing, and while I normally ride about where the right wheel of a car would be, self-preservation took over and I rode a bit closer to the curb- just as the black Ford passed me within a foot of me- probably close to 40mph (where it is posted at 25). It was clear he didn't swerve or anything, but he made no effort to slow or move left to pass. Actually, he couldn't move left at this point anyway, since there was the car coming from the opposite direction. It was a rare instant where the only traffic on the road converged at once.

    As is one of my compulsive traits, I memorized his plates and vehicle description- something I often do to pass the time when I ride. I contemplated chasing him to catch him at the light, but I saw him turn right at the next intersection, which was maybe only two blocks away from where I was passed. I was annoyed, but not irate. Everything was fine- but it was a situation where there simply was no room for error. It was the principle of the matter that annoyed me.

    Imagine my shock when I saw the guy getting out of his car at the bakery on the corner. I did I complete double-take at the mustashioed middle-aged red-headed guy... and I found myself yelling a profanity-free admonition suggesting that he learn how to drive and that he might want to give me a bit more room on the parkway next time. There were several people walking their dogs at the intersection, probably wondering what that was all about. I thought I handled the situation as well as could be expected- especially considering that I had enough tools in my bag to dismantle his parked car.

    Anyway, after thinking more about this encounter, I was left with the uncomfortable feeling questioning how deliberate his actions were. I'd almost rather experience the an unmistakeably nasty encounter than the vague, passive-aggressive, is it/isn't it varitey. On the other hand, he didn't need to swerve toward me because the road was already so narrow- he was already about as close as possible when he passed.

  2. #2
    Guy with bike
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    Why didn't you try talking to him rather than yelling at him?

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    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    I get buzzed (1ft or less pass) like this at least once a week. Sometimes I think the driver just doesn't care, notice or know where the right side of their car (actually usually truck) is. Sometimes, like yesterday*, it is obvious they are being agressive as I get flipped off or yelled at after/during the pass.

    *Yesterday I was riding in a narrow outside lane just inside the right tire track. A sliver jacked up pickup buzzed me very close, like 6" at about 45mph. The driver gave me the finger thru the rear window and then high fived their passenger.

    Al

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    Senior Member filtersweep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thechrisproject
    Why didn't you try talking to him rather than yelling at him?
    That sounds like a good idea- like maybe too sensible- something I'd think of after the fact- I was so surprised to see him out of his car- and at that point, I was on a one-way portion of the blvd.

    Hey- I thought I was doing a good job keeping my wits about me at the time (relatively speaking).

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    Commuting Horrorshow wheezl's Avatar
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    It doesn't matter if it was intentional or not. Negligence kills just as easily as intention. Certainly it's up to you and how you feel you want to handle the situation. I know I swing between the extremes of politely telling people to "Please be careful" to actively damaging thier vehicle. I'd say he got off easy.

    All of that said living in New York my definition of getting buzzed is FAR different than it used to be

    I probably come in physical contact with about 2-5 cars every day on the way to work.. usually just me tapping them to let them know I am there.

  6. #6
    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    He saw you, he disregarded you. I had the same thing happen to me on a four lane arterial highway early one morning. Very low traffic, great visibililty. I hear a truck approaching from the rear. I am at the right side tire mark of the right lane. Nobody is in the left lane. I can tell by the engine sound that they guy is going fast and has not let off the gas at all. Dude almost clips me with the mirror of a 25' long delilvery van.

    Why? because he could. I got the name of the company - and Italian food store - and sent them a letter. Never heard a word back from them.

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    Guy with bike
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    Quote Originally Posted by filtersweep
    That sounds like a good idea- like maybe too sensible- something I'd think of after the fact- I was so surprised to see him out of his car- and at that point, I was on a one-way portion of the blvd.

    Hey- I thought I was doing a good job keeping my wits about me at the time (relatively speaking).
    I can understand that. Maybe next time.

  8. #8
    Commuting Horrorshow wheezl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    Why? because he could. I got the name of the company - and Italian food store - and sent them a letter. Never heard a word back from them.

    *sigh* People!

    You GO to the store at night and put roaches and mice in the mail slot

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam
    I get buzzed (1ft or less pass) like this at least once a week. Sometimes I think the driver just doesn't care, notice or know where the right side of their car (actually usually truck) is. Sometimes, like yesterday*, it is obvious they are being agressive as I get flipped off or yelled at after/during the pass.

    *Yesterday I was riding in a narrow outside lane just inside the right tire track. A sliver jacked up pickup buzzed me very close, like 6" at about 45mph. The driver gave me the finger thru the rear window and then high fived their passenger.

    Al
    The other clearly agressive indicator is the sudden rev of the engine way beyond all needs. (well there goes 3 bucks... fool!) I was well on the side of the road yesterday (actually in a BL) and just past a freeway off ramp when this truck that was exiting (and had plenty of room thankyou) blasts by me like he owns the local gas station. Happens at least once a week. The real joke is when they do this on a level road and I keep up with them at the next couple of lights. I would love to be able to reach into their cab (seems like it is pickups that do this most often) and tap them on the shoulder... just to let them know I am right there with them.

    The following has nothing to do with me riding on the road, but it just happens to be a interesting picture of driving human nature. Near my office is a small sandwich place where I often take lunch. It is on a corner that has been in perpetual construction... sometimes the road floods, often there is loose gravel and many many pot holes. Watching how the drivers take this corner, while at lunch, is very enlightening. Some simply negotiate it and drive cautiously by applying the right amount of power for the wet conditions and the loose pavement... their vehicles accelerate smoothly and evenly. Others seem to feel that the only solution is gross application of power, they stomp on it and their wheels spin and gravel is thrown about as the vehicle struggles to grasp the wet roadway and often fishtails a bit. Lots of noise, lots of exhaust and little progress.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mpop's Avatar
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    if you are going 20MPH on the road, it is reasonable to go in the center of the lane, I would go in the center of the lane on that road if I were you, fsck the idiots that need to be there "first" and are so self important, the waint might do them good, or get them off the earth as they give themselfs a heart attack, because it is going to take them 1 to 5 minutes longer to get where they are going.
    Michael P. O'Connor
    http://www.mikeoconnor.net

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    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    The real joke is when they do this on a level road and I keep up with them at the next couple of lights.
    I often hear these stories of folks catching up to drivers who did bad. I have never come close to this experience, probably because the roads I ride are 45-50mph with traffic lights every 0.5-1mi apart. Even riding 25mph+ which I always do I never/rarely have a chance to catch up. Rarely as in someone could harrass me right before a red light, but this has never happenened or when it does they are in far left lane and me in right lane with cars between us.

    Al

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    Bent_Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    Others seem to feel that the only solution is gross application of power, they stomp on it and their wheels spin and gravel is thrown about as the vehicle struggles to grasp the wet roadway and often fishtails a bit. Lots of noise, lots of exhaust and little progress.

    MMM. Sounds like the Bush's foreign policy.

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    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    Others seem to feel that the only solution is gross application of power,.
    I have neighbors that owns two jacked up trucks. They live across the street and a few houses down. The son drives one, the father the other. They both squeal the tires every time they turn to leave their driveway and floor it, engine roaring to reach the stop sign 300 or 100yds (depending which way they go)down the 25mph street . I'd say they are going at least 40mph before they hard brake to a rolling stop, then rev. squeal their tires again.

    I've thought about saying something, but its obviously ingrained in them and they already view me as the weird cyclist.

    Al

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    無くなった HereNT's Avatar
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    In that situation, I would have slowed way down as soon as I saw the oncoming car if it looked like all of us were going to pass at the same time, so the car behind me had room and time to pass me safely before the oncoming car got there. With all three of you in that tight of a road, he probably didn't have anywhere to go without getting into a head on collision... True he could have slowed, but so could you. If there was no oncoming traffic and he still passed that close, then I'd say you were buzzed.

    I was buzzed last night, but I wasn't riding, and it was an entirely different thing

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    the dog ate my earbuds KirkeIsWaiting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HereNT
    buzzed.

    I was buzzed last night, but I wasn't riding, and it was an entirely different thing


    lol

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    Senior Member filtersweep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HereNT
    In that situation, I would have slowed way down as soon as I saw the oncoming car if it looked like all of us were going to pass at the same time, so the car behind me had room and time to pass me safely before the oncoming car got there. With all three of you in that tight of a road, he probably didn't have anywhere to go without getting into a head on collision... True he could have slowed, but so could you. If there was no oncoming traffic and he still passed that close, then I'd say you were buzzed.

    I was buzzed last night, but I wasn't riding, and it was an entirely different thing
    I hear you, and that is along the lines of "walking away to live another day" principle... and that it does no good to engrave "I had the right of way" on my tombstone- but damn- I'm just as entitled to the road and it is his responsibility to pass me safely- and on the Parkway, it isn't like I can just ride off into the grass or step off the road- it has a nasty curb.

    It is insanely poor design- considering the city owns all the property around there and it would take nothing to widen the road.

    It really hasn't been the same since crosstown was cut down to one lane- people use the parkway as a residential freeway.

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    Senior Member filtersweep's Avatar
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    BTW- how about the wind today? I'll have 20 miles against it after work...

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    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HereNT
    In that situation, I would have slowed way down as soon as I saw the oncoming car if it looked like all of us were going to pass at the same time, so the car behind me had room and time to pass me safely before the oncoming car got there. With all three of you in that tight of a road, he probably didn't have anywhere to go without getting into a head on collision... True he could have slowed, but so could you. If there was no oncoming traffic and he still passed that close, then I'd say you were buzzed.

    I was buzzed last night, but I wasn't riding, and it was an entirely different thing
    I disagree.

    It's to difficult to check a car approaching from the front and one from the rear and try to adjust your speed so all 3 of you don't meet at the same time plus keep your eye on the road.

    I think if you were out in the lane farther, you would have been safer. You may have also motioned with your hand out that it was not safe to pass. 9999 out of 10000 nobody is going to hit you from the rear. The driver threaded the needle between you and the oncoming car because he could fit between - not by much - but he could fit. If you made the space smaller, he would have had to slow down.

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    Sounds like the guy was just trying to get around, and to be courteous.

    I consider getting buzzed something like within 6 inches and it has to be intentional - otherwise it's just another unaware driver.

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam
    I often hear these stories of folks catching up to drivers who did bad. I have never come close to this experience, probably because the roads I ride are 45-50mph with traffic lights every 0.5-1mi apart. Even riding 25mph+ which I always do I never/rarely have a chance to catch up. Rarely as in someone could harrass me right before a red light, but this has never happenened or when it does they are in far left lane and me in right lane with cars between us.

    Al
    I am talking about 35MPH roads with lights perhaps .5 mi apart... with enough traffic so that the average speed is perhaps 30MPH or so.

    Anything beyond that and they are long gone. It just amazes me that some motorists go through such "effort" to pass me, and in reality end up sitting and waiting at the next couple of lights right in front of me. This certainly shows that I am not holding up their progress.

    This is not the drag strip type of traffic I know you can experience at times... I have no suggestions for that other than what we have discussed at length on other threads.

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam
    I have neighbors that owns two jacked up trucks. They live across the street and a few houses down. The son drives one, the father the other. They both squeal the tires every time they turn to leave their driveway and floor it, engine roaring to reach the stop sign 300 or 100yds (depending which way they go)down the 25mph street . I'd say they are going at least 40mph before they hard brake to a rolling stop, then rev. squeal their tires again.

    I've thought about saying something, but its obviously ingrained in them and they already view me as the weird cyclist.

    Al
    Now now... that is no way to be... Bet neither truck has ever seen any real dirt.

    Of course a night commando raid to let the air out of the tires might be good karma.

    Rest assured that those tires cost them a pretty penny apiece.

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    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    It just amazes me that some motorists go through such "effort" to pass me, and in reality end up sitting and waiting at the next couple of lights right in front of me.
    I've nearly wiped out my legs/lungs trying to catch up to a vehicle that buzzed me, I see they get stopped at a light in the far distance and wanting to 'show them' I put everything into catching them, sometimes hitting 30mph even with a slight headwind, only to get to the light just as it turns green and missing giving them 'a look' by 10sec. 'Someday' I think.

    Al

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    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    Now now... that is no way to be... Bet neither truck has ever seen any real dirt.

    Of course a night commando raid to let the air out of the tires might be good karma.

    Rest assured that those tires cost them a pretty penny apiece.
    I know one of them hasn't seen dirt, its an extended cab, clean white parade queen with a shiny bed. The other is more of a beater with mud tires and 'used' looking side panels and brush guards.
    But just because someone uses the capabilities of the truck, doesn't mean I respect them, many folks don't go anywhere practical with the 4WD, but just go out to public lands off of established roads and tear them up for fun. Guys who peel out and drive agressively in the city with such trucks give me the (probably right) perception they do the same in the desert to the detriment of existing legal roads and worse to places with no roads at all.

    Al

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    無くなった HereNT's Avatar
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    BTW- how about the wind today? I'll have 20 miles against it after work...
    Yeah, I think I'm going to take the light rail out way south and turn it into a tailwind after work

    It's to difficult to check a car approaching from the front and one from the rear and try to adjust your speed so all 3 of you don't meet at the same time plus keep your eye on the road.
    You don't ride brakeless or fixed, do you? I do that like 10 times a day it seems.

  25. #25
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam
    I know one of them hasn't seen dirt, its an extended cab, clean white parade queen with a shiny bed. The other is more of a beater with mud tires and 'used' looking side panels and brush guards.
    But just because someone uses the capabilities of the truck, doesn't mean I respect them, many folks don't go anywhere practical with the 4WD, but just go out to public lands off of established roads and tear them up for fun. Guys who peel out and drive agressively in the city with such trucks give me the (probably right) perception they do the same in the desert to the detriment of existing legal roads and worse to places with no roads at all.

    Al
    "All hat and no cattle" as they would say in Texas.

    Just like the wide Hummers here in La Jolla... Makes me laugh when I see these things with "Jill's Nail Salon" on the side. Obviously a wise investment.

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