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Old 08-05-05, 07:14 AM   #1
Ciclo
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I was commuting to work this morning. Approx 6:30am, on a stretch of road with almost no vehicles, where the posted speed is 25 (residential parkway) I was buzzed by a speeding SUV. He pulled way over to the right as to block me from pulling up next to him- not that I normally do that where there is no shoulder. I rode to the driver's side where his window was partially down. I noticed a female passenger. Both were in their mid-40s. I asked that he give me more room next time he passed me. He launched into a profanity ridden word salad how bikes belong on sidewalks, that I'd have more room if I rode further to the right, and a bunch of other nonsense that wouldn't make it past the obscenity filters here. I mentioned that bikes were not allowed on the sidewalks, that I could legally take the lane if necessary, and that there was no traffic and he had all the room in the world to pass me. He argued, the light turned green, and he sped off.



Here is where it gets weird.

I noticed his vehicle, whose plates I had memorized, parked at the donut shop a few blocks away. I rode up to the vehicle, and noticed the woman in the passenger seat. He was apparently in the shop. The it hit me. This was the same man who did the same thing a few months ago while driving a green Ford Taurus- same buzzing at the same stretch of road- same time of day, same donut shop- same reddish blonde hiar- same beer belly- same moustache. I waited a few moments, then resumed my commute without further incident.

At this point, I've been buzzed twice by the same motorist. He holds no remorse and feels justified in his actions. So far I've taken the high road, aside from politely confronting him. I'll admit that I rode around his vehicle as to indicate that I know what he drives, and should I actually be a lunatic, I could have done as I pleased to his truck- but I didn't.

Ironically, last time I was buzzed by this bozo, I posted at another forum, and the advise was to ride a bit further into the lane to force the vehicle to pass properly.

My questions are as follows:

Should I be concerned about future altercations escalating? I feel like I'm dealing with a maladjusted schoolyard bully, and I am fighting my inclination to want to teach him a lesson. He has already done this to me twice. His words indicate that he hates cyclists- even when we are the only two vehicles on the road.

I also feel powerless- since I really have no meaningful legal recourse. He hasn't hit me. Technically he hasn't given me enough space while passing, but I don't see the police doing anything about that. If I play along and act out, it will only give him more reason to up the ante.

I'm too angry at the moment to let this just roll off my back, but somehow, I think that is what I need to do.

I've already fantasized about hanging out at the donut shop and confronting him, assaulting his vehicle, etc... but that is really no solution. I'm counting on the level heads of the advocacy forum to shed some cool (as in not hot-headed) advice.

I guess I had originally thought we could have a civil discussion about sharing the road- as a friend of mine reportedly had with a misbehaving motorist a few weeks ago. I fear I have worsened the situation.


I still can't figure out the woman's role in all this. Most wives have an uncanny ability to keep their husbands in line... through shaming, at the very least. She didn't say a word.

Finally, I'm concerned about future incidents. I don't want a paranoid commute, and there is no alternative route.

Last edited by Ciclo; 08-05-05 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 08-05-05, 07:21 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ciclo
I still can't figure out the woman's role in all this. Most wives have an uncanny ability to keep their husbands in line... through shaming, at the very least. She didn't say a word.
I'm afraid women who are married to or dating bullies are not the type to question their actions or "keep them in line." If he's not physically abusing her, he's probably verbally and/or mentally abusing her. In fact, the same thing is often true with men who are married to female bullies.
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Old 08-05-05, 07:25 AM   #3
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Semi-ignore it...Next time he buzzes you, report it to the police on a non-emergency line. Give them all the information (including that he's done it before and drives vehicle with plate numbers X for vehicle SUX and number Y for vehicle Car. If he buzzes you again, report it again. Don't talk to him, don't even look at him. Likely nothing will happen with the police unless he does hit you, but if he does ever hit a cyclist, there will be a long record of his disregard for their safety.

As to how to ride, ride like you should. As far right as practicable. That also means as far LEFT as you need to be to avoid being doored and avoid road debris.
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Old 08-05-05, 07:31 AM   #4
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Don't escalate, report it. Although I know how tempting this is (i've done it before too).
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Old 08-05-05, 07:38 AM   #5
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I second what DogBoy says, its perfect, (I would report what you have now) I think it is just about all you can do acting as a cool headed cyclist and citizen.

I want to commend your level-headedness, it is an inspiration to my hotheaded, cursing self which shows up when this sort of thing happens to me. Thank you.
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Old 08-05-05, 07:43 AM   #6
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Wow, so this is what happens to schoolyard bullies who become "adults." If he ever has kids, then it's GIGO.
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Old 08-05-05, 07:46 AM   #7
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I'll join the chorus: report, but do not escalate.
I'm not sure the "buzz job" was intentional. He may have limited awareness of where the four corners of his car are. His driving is careless/incompetant, but may not be malicious.

Paul
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Old 08-05-05, 07:50 AM   #8
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Earlier this week, I attended a meeting at the local copshop. It wasn't about cycling issues, but a large part of it was spent discussing appropriate responses to nuisance and/or harassing behavior that may or may not cross the line to become threatening or unsafe. The sargent in attendance, a shift supervisor, was very clear that they encourage citizens to report incidents of this sort. Further, he encouraged us to climb the chain of command if we didn't get the kind of response we think is appropriate for a given situation. That is, understand that they may not be able to make an arrest or issue a citation on the spot, but if you feel "blown off", call the non-emergency number and ask to speak to a supervisor.

I think this advice applies in this situation. This f*ckwit is threatening you and trying to intimidate you. If it happens again, make a note of the details of the incident (license number, make, model, and color of the car, etc.). Call the non-emergency number of the police and report it. They might ask if you want to talk to an officer; do so and make a report. In some places, they take the report over the phone.

Tell them about the other person in the car, too, in the report.

If you don't get to make a report, ask to speak to a supervisor.

You might not get immediate gratification, like getting to see the guy cuffed and stuffed, but you may make is life uncomfortable, and save a fellow cyclist from being buzzed in the future.

Good luck.
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Old 08-05-05, 07:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulH
I'll join the chorus: report, but do not escalate.
I'm not sure the "buzz job" was intentional. He may have limited awareness of where the four corners of his car are. His driving is careless/incompetant, but may not be malicious.

Paul

I can assure you it was intentional. He wanted to make a point that bikes belong on the sidewalk. If it were merely incompetent, I doubt I would have been greeted with so much anger. The guy has anger issues.
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Old 08-05-05, 08:12 AM   #10
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Other people here have mentioned that in these types of situations, even if the authorities can't do anything about the situation immediately, having the report on file will ensure that if something worse were to happen in the future, to you or anyone else, the fact that he has this history will be documented and could enter into the case at that time.
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Old 08-05-05, 08:12 AM   #11
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I emailed my local PD about just such a problem. Since you know this guy's vehicles and where he hangs out, this is what I would do:

Photo both vehicles with the license plat.

Write a letter to the PD stating the date and times this a-hole has harrassed you. More than likely, they will pay him a visit and give him a little education which should do the trick.

Back in the day I commuted by bike and had the same school bus pass me at the same time just about every day. One day, a different driver must have been operating the bus and he passed me within inches. I followed him into the school, took down the bus number, rode up to his window and told him he was passing to close. I called the puplic school transportation office and voiced my concern. Guy cut a wide swath around me from then on.
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Old 08-05-05, 08:33 AM   #12
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You have good advise here.
Things to remember:

-Do not get confrontational with him, you will always loose. (Dont get me wrong, your attempt at rational conversation, is confrontational to him.) This means do not even attempt any conversation.

-Absolutely, report it to police now, (dont wait for another occurance) with dates and registration nos. driver/passenger descriptions. This will and should create a record of the incidents. Police departments are recognizing the seriousness of road rage and agressive drivers and are starting to crack down on them.

Peace
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Old 08-05-05, 09:13 AM   #13
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If by buzzed you mean he moved toward you while moving at speed do report it, this is assault. If he has done it twice to you he has done it to others.

But do be aware the police may do little about it. But also be aware that does not mean this is not important. MAny departments are overloaded and take no action at all for one complaint, or many complaints from the same person. It is often a different story when a complaint about the same driver comes from a second source.
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Old 08-05-05, 09:58 AM   #14
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The next time this assclown does this, make sure you put something through one of his windows, carry a rock or something and when he passes you throw it through his back window.
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Old 08-05-05, 10:18 AM   #15
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Digital camera. Snap a picture of the driver and both vehicles, including license plate. Email with your report to the police.
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Old 08-05-05, 10:41 AM   #16
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I agree with the advice you've been given (with the exception of the rock through the window.) Report it.

Also, keep a journal. Snap a photo if you can. Write the incident down. Then you will have a record in addition to the police.

I've started carrying my cell phone in a little bag within easy reach so I can snap a photo easily should something like that happen to me. If nothing else I might be able to read the license from the photo because I'll never remember it.
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Old 08-05-05, 10:44 AM   #17
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Quote:
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Digital camera. Snap a picture of the driver and both vehicles, including license plate. Email with your report to the police.

I think this is the best option. I really don't want to incite further incidents- it is fun to think about slashing his tires... or letting all the air out while he's at a donut run... or belittling him in front of his spouse- or even hand to hand combat But reality dictates that I'd likely be the one cuffed and hauled off- or that I'd end up with tire prints on my chest. I'm in my mid-30s-- trying to be a responsible adult- professionally employed in an industry that requires background checks!
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Old 08-05-05, 10:49 AM   #18
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If you call the police while it is happening, they might be able to pull the guy over right then and there.
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Old 08-05-05, 11:06 AM   #19
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Quote:
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If you call the police while it is happening, they might be able to pull the guy over right then and there.
Do the mentioned reporting. Then, the next time it happens, just pull over with your cell phone and report it on the spot. This will have two fold action. You will report what is happening, AND the jerk will see that he was just reported.

That should be your only retaliation.
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Old 08-05-05, 11:30 AM   #20
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Agree with the above advice. Report and carry a dig camera or camera phone. Two other things:
1)Where are you located,and give a better discription of the vehicles. You don't need to post plate #'s,but year/brand/model/color will give other riders in your area a heads up. He may have buzzed others.
2)Maybe look into a video camera? If you had say,a helmet cam,you would have good evidence the next time you have an encounter with him. Then if the PD did nothing,you could always go to the local news.
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Old 08-05-05, 12:26 PM   #21
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many dig cameras also do video - my kodak 7330 does
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Old 08-06-05, 04:30 AM   #22
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You DO have legal recourse,
reckless driving, intimidation, failure to yield and possibly road rage.

Drivers can get ticketed for passing within +/- 6 inches of a bike, purposeful 'buzzing' is harrasment, cutting you off and yelling at you is road rage.

Second, DO call the cops, explain that this has been happening continuously. They may have other complaints, be looking for this guy for other unrelated stuff, and it will help you later if you have an altercation.

Third, it sounds like this is already escalating. If this guy was having a bad day this would have blown over. Get the cops involved before this jerk pulls over and shoots you.

Last traffic altercation i had (and the last time i ever flipped someone off) the driver went diving back into his car yelling how he was going to mess me up.)

I cross posted my suspicion that road rage is road rage. We're no more likely to experience it than in a car (more car drivers get shot than bikkers.) Since we're no different we need to act the same, if you were driving to work and someone buzzed you and cut you off, yelled obsenities and did this aggressivly for months, you'd call the cops right? Same deal.
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Old 08-06-05, 06:10 AM   #23
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A quick story:

Once on a ride, I noticed a car moving up rapidly RIGHT BEHIND ME. At the last minute, he hit his brakes, honking and yelling at me. When he passed, he gave me no room but I got through. He then did the same thing to two riders up about 500 ft. I rode up to them to tell them he did the same thing to me. We caught the SOB at a drawbridge. When we approached, he pulled out a knife and told us to leave him alone. A police station was just on the other side of the bridge and we managed to get him stopped when a sheriff's car was sitting out front.

It turned out the guy had a long history of harassment and public assaults. I'm not sure if us turning him in did any good but at least it felt like the right thing to do. Of course nothing would have mattered if he had jammed us over into the cheap seats. Nevertheless, we (and I have become friends with one of the two other riders) have never seen this clown again.

This stuff can be really frustrating. I find comfort in the fact that, at 54 I pay lots of taxes and feel justified in my rights to ride on the road. More importantly, I find much more satisfaction in the fact that I am in far better shape than the idiot I describe above and, because of this, I arguably enjoy a better quality of life.

Do not hesitate to report the guy!!! It may cause him to adjust his behavior.
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Old 08-06-05, 06:16 AM   #24
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Does your jurisdiction have bicycle cops? Does this guy make his empty carbos at the donut shop a regularly scheduled appointment? It might pay to meet a cop there and have him explain the law as it pertains to cycles on the road to this chump.
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Old 08-09-05, 01:54 PM   #25
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If someone threatened me with a deadly weapon, I'd call the police on my cell asap. No second chances. Make the cop take a report. I have a tiny camera that I started to carry on rides. Get a whistle or something loud to attract attention if he or she becomes irrate. I have found whistles are good because motorists think that there might be a cop and you can imatate the motorists' honk with your whistle.
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