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  1. #1
    unaangalia nini? baiskeli's Avatar
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    Is it just me, or are Boston drivers just full of rage (not stereotyping, I drive too). I have;

    While riding, taking the lane because I intend to curve left, driver leans on horn, accelerates around me to the left and swerves missing me by mere inches, and turns RIGHT. Also said driver throws a few choice words.

    While driving, had some idiot in an SUV 1 foot from my bumber and leaning on his horn (this is in a 2 lane road, I am in the right/slow lane doing the speed limit). Then proceeds to pass, throw me a nasty look and then swerve in front of me and slam on his brakes

    While riding (this one really freaked me out even though it happened over 2 months ago) in Belmont, doing close to 27mph downhill see pick-up driver driving in other direction. He looks right at me with not the nicest look. I get a sort of 'tingling' feeling (something bad is about to happen). I feather the brakes and begin slowing down. He makes a U turn and swerves right in front of me (almost went into the kerb), as it is he almost sandwiched be between his truck and a parked car. Stream of insults follow from him. Funny thing I get into work and someone I work with decides to tell me that bikes don't belong on the road since they don't pay taxes and he has no problem with running cyclists off the road (he didn't know what had happened to me that morning). I called him a f*ck*ng idiot.

    While Crossing!!! This one has happened multiple times. I have a walk sign, start crossing and some idiot turns into me (or slowly starts creeping foward). Once almost lost my temper some clown almost barreled into me at speed. I had the walk light, he had a right turn red light (sign clearly stating no turn on red). I raised my hand like WTF and he begins cursing and yelling. I point at the walk sign, the no turn on red sign buts its like talking to a wall.

    Riding Stopped at red light, single lane, no turn on red. Genius behind me leans on his horn and does not let up. I had finally had it, turned around and just looked at him (no words, but I was ready to kill). Light changes (he is the only car), I don't move and he has nowhere to go (I know this was utterly stupid and dangerous but I had had it). Finally stops cursing and leaning on his horn. I then ride off and he passes me
    (idiot was going straight!)

    Week ago, riding home in bike lane, genius roars past me and then PULLS into the bike lane, slams on his brakes and stops, causing me to have to emergency brake. I then go to pass him on the LEFT and he pulls out and almost hooks me into oncoming traffic. He then tells me to 'get the f**k off the road'!!!!. Its a bike lane for crying out loud (and I have rights to the road too)

    This doesn't even take into account the number of times I have been called the N word while riding , had people curse me out, thankfully, have never had things thrown at me (thank God). Granted this incidences are few and far in between however I do everything right, I ride vehicularly, I don't jump lights, when driving, I am very cognizant of other drivers etc. Does Boston have an aggressive driver reporting program?

    Just venting.....


  2. #2
    Bent_Rider
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    I think the high gas prices are making drivers crazy.
    They want someone to blame and can't blame themselvs, so cyclists make a good target.

    It's going to get worse before it gets better.

  3. #3
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    Boston is BAD. I've been away for a year working in Belgium and went home for a week and forgot how crazy it is. I didn't bring my bike back with me but just driving was treacherous enough. Down at the cape I got cut off more then once and got flipped off in the process. As far as I know that's how its always been and it will never change.

  4. #4
    Senior Member kb0tnv's Avatar
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    AMEN! To that...(things not getting better) but fortunately... people won't be able to afford gas as much so there should be less car drivers... but the ones still on the road are going to be a little peaved. This bikers not paying taxes thing is getting old. We don't have to pay for gas because we don't need it. Personal Property taxes and the like go to road funds too. There are other threads I am sure on the tax topic. Even if we didn't pay some taxes... the roads are for everyone... People really forget that... movies haven't helped since they show people driving so fast!

    Keep Cycling,
    "Work to Eat, Eat to Live, Live to Bike, Bike to Work"

  5. #5
    What, me hurry? Boston Commuter's Avatar
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    Are you talking about Boston, or about Cambridge, Somerville, Belmont, etc.?

    I've found drivers in my parts of the actual city of Boston (Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, West Roxbury, Back Bay) to be rather courteous, and I certainly haven't had any deliberate attacks such as you describe. It's alarming to think that the attitude is so much worse north of the Charles (admittedly it's denser up there).

    As a matter of fact, my commute requires me to make a left turn across Center Street in JP, which I have to do from the right side of the lane due to the streetcar tracks (you have to cross the tracks at a near 90 degree angle to avoid catching a wheel). I give the usual hand signals for "stop" and "left turn", then the car behind me stops, and someone in the oncoming traffic waves me across. Once in maybe 10 days the car behind me ignores my signal and passes on my left.

    Is the cycling atmosphere really that much worse in Cambridge and Somerville? and are you giving hand signals and riding in a sober and predictable way? Or could some of this be a reaction to a bit of guerrilla cycling on your part (which would still not justify the drivers' threats)?

  6. #6
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Commuter
    Or could some of this be a reaction to a bit of guerrilla cycling on your part (which would still not justify the drivers' threats)?
    Don't know Boston nor the OP, but a motorist laying on his horn at a stoplight when there is nothing but a cyclist in front, the light is red and no one can go anywhere... sounds like some pretty pent up motorist rage to me.

  7. #7
    The Zon Is On! Middi-zon's Avatar
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    A Sox hat or logo somewhere goes along way in Boston, wont ride there with out one.
    That's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

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  8. #8
    unaangalia nini? baiskeli's Avatar
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    I am not doing any 'guerilla cycling' as you put it ( I ride predictably, use hand signals, stop at stop signs and never run red lights. I cannot stand cyclists who jump lights, ride the wrong way etc) I drive the same way. As a pedestrian, I wait for the walk signal (most of the time).

    I actually have to admit that Cambridge, Somerville,Arlington are great most of the times, however, the idiot whom passed me on the left and then turned right happened in Somerville (juncture of Somerville Ave and Beacon). When you take a right off of Somerville ave onto Beacon, the road curves left but there is a road to the right. So I indicated left and moved left intending to keep on Beacon. The idiot behind me purposefully (I have absolutely no doubt about this) accelerated, passed me on the left and then took the street on the right to intimidate me. Being narrowly missed by 4000+ pounds of metal is not fun. The bike lane one was on Broadway near Kendall Square. The other incidences in question happened in Belmont (I think it is after turning off Trapelo and taking a left down this long street (I think it is Main st). I still curse to this day that I was too shocked to take his number plate (Absolutely premedidated, as indicated by the insults hurled) The honking idiot behind me happened in Somerville/Cambridge.

    Undoubtedly, these are the minority but all it takes is one careless or malevolent driver. I ride like my dad taught me to do ('Assume everyone on the road is insane and expect anything') but it gets tiring, especially when there seems to be an emphasis on insisting that the cyclist or pedestrian must have done something wrong.

  9. #9
    Senior Member jacobs's Avatar
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    Last week I had a guy in a pickup try and run me into the curb on Nashua St. heading into Leverett Circle. I was on the shoulder of the right lane, avoiding the debris next to the curb, pretty much on the line. With all the construction on that road, the right lane he was trying to pass me in was about to end. He starts yelling and screaming, and then guns it up so he's on my left. He yells "ARE YOU DEMENTED??? WHATS WRONG WITH YOU?? GET OFF THE ROAD!!!". I calmly stated back, "Hey, not only do I have a right to be here, I'm keeping up with traffic!" (I had been 15 feet off the bumper of the car in front of me in the right lane all the way since Haymarket). He then pushed me all the way into the curb, so I hopped the curb, skidded to a crawl, went back behind his truck, cut over to the left lane and gunned ahead to pass him.

    He then pulled into the lane next to mine and attempted to SNIP me with a pair of 24" BOLT CUTTERS out his window. Seriously.

    I rocketed forward, caught a state policeman at Leverett Circle directing traffic and told him what happened. He got all the statey's in the area to come, stop traffic, and pull the guy out of his truck. He claimed he was waving a multimeter, not 24" BOLT CUTTERS, and that he was miffed cause I "scared him". I declined pressing charges or filing a complaint, and the quite respectful and helpful cop gave him a stern warning.

    Watch out out there. They might be wrong, but it won't matter when the pummel you with 5000 pounds of testosterone (or big ass bolt cutters!). If I wasn't a skilled rider who's on his bike 10+ hours a day dealing with downtown gridlock, I probably wouldn't have been able to hop a curb at 15mph, or pass a truck to catch a cop. They're out there, they aren't getting any smarter, and their numbers are only growing.

  10. #10
    militant commuter
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    Good for you for getting the cops involved.


    I think these are words to live by:
    Quote Originally Posted by jacobs
    They might be wrong, but it won't matter when the pummel you with 5000 pounds of testosterone (or big ass bolt cutters!)... ...They're out there, they aren't getting any smarter, and their numbers are only growing.

  11. #11
    Senior Member The Octopus's Avatar
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    Jeez. I always felt very safe commuting in Boston (Southie to the Seaport District or Pemberton Sq. via L/Summer Street). You could always make better time than a car at any time of day, so it was very, very rare that anyone ever gave me slack about occupying the road. Didn't ever ride much north of the river, but when I did I religiously avoided the bike lanes. Believe it or not, Boston is safer for commuting than Columbus, Ohio. The traffic speeds here are much higher and there are so few cyclists that the drivers are not used to having to deal with us.

  12. #12
    Senior Member trackhub's Avatar
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    The Bicycle laws for the commonwealth of Massachusetts may be read here: (if they have not been posted already)

    http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/85-11b.htm

    In discussions on cyclists' rights to the road, nothing beats having factual information at the ready. People may argue opinion all they like, but they cannot argue fact.

    I'm always amused by the "I pay taxes, so I'm entitled to use the road" argument. I pay taxes too. I see it taken out of my pay check every week. Funny, but bicycles were on the road way before the first Model T chugged and clanked off the assembly line.

    I started riding seriously as a young adult in the 70's. Today, as a middle-aged adult, I can say that the attitude of many Boston drivers (make that eastern MA drivers in general) has definitely gotten worse over the past fifteen years. The reasons? Well, all the guesses here are probably right. The high price of gas, the "bully mentality", the high concentration of vehicles into a small geographic area, and all the rest. Not all drivers have this attitude, but there does seem to be an awful lot of them, far more than when I first started.

    baiskeli, I'd be careful of that guy at work. He sounds like the classic high school bully, now grown up but with the same attitude. Sometimes, these guys get what they deserve: They mix it up with someone that is just as much of an A-hole as themselves. Rare, but it does happen.

  13. #13
    unaangalia nini? baiskeli's Avatar
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    Hi Trackhub,

    Thanks for the link, definitely printing multiple copies (and leaving one on idiots desk ). I don't know if he has a bully's personality but normally does not bother me apart from his provocative baiting statements which I usually ignore. However, he chose the wrong day to make those statements as I was all fired up after my near miss. Hasn't said a peep since I jumped down his throat (jeez, if I had realized all I needed to do to get rid of him was bark I would have done it a long time ago).
    You are right, most drivers are considerate, but its the bad apples that stand out.

  14. #14
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    I haven't lived in Boston for a while, only did so for a short time, and never bicycled there, but I believe you. It was in Boston I learned the "Boston left turn", where you stick your car out into the nearest lane of traffic, blocking them, until you can make your turn. Terribly rude, and I broke myself of it soon after leaving, but sometimes the only way to make a left turn in that town, "divide and conquer".

    So in addition to all the other reasons given, I imagine that the rudeness of the drivers to each other in that town also makes them more likely to take it out on someone they perceive as weaker or having less right to the road.
    Quote Originally Posted by MadfiNch on Commuting forum
    What's the point of a bike if you can only ride it on weekends, and you can't even carry anything with you?!
    Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting Meetup

  15. #15
    unaangalia nini? baiskeli's Avatar
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    Absolutely right! The rudeness when driving is a big issue.

    When I am driving, I always laugh at something that I call the Massachusetts 'peel'. Most drivers don't give others way here. Sometimes I do. What invariably happens is that the driver I gave way to (so they can turn left in front of me) goes left, but the 3 or 4 idiots behind him try and rush left too even when they see I have begun moving and then end up blocking me because of traffic in the road they are turning into. I then get people behind me cursing and honking and am staring straight at the clown blocking me who is doing his best not to meet my WTF expression!

    I even once gave some driver way and he then flipped me the bird. My guess is that he meant to wave thanks but since he had probably never used his hand for any other signal when in the car it defaulted to the 'default hand signal'.

    Plus the anger, stuck on Route 93 once and saw 2 guys get out of their cars and duke it out, causing even more traffic!!. Then a few minutes later, when the traffic cleared, guy honks at a van in front of him, van slows down, lets him start passing and then sideswipes his car (hard!) and forces him off the road!

    I've driven in New York and everyone is predictable (apart from cabs), in Boston, its like Forrest Gump said, 'you never know what you're gonna git'.

    However, the behavior is relatively localized. I used to live in Methuen near the NH Border if I got a flat while riding almost EVERY driver would stop and ask me if I needed help. Worked in Boston though so my commute sucked!.

  16. #16
    Senior Member trackhub's Avatar
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    baiskeli, how did that guy react to learning that there are actual laws pertaining to bicycle use, and that bicycles are recognized as vehicles?

    I try to point as many people as possible to that marvelous piece of factual information. The reactions have varied. On two occasions, people have thanked me. ("I never knew any of this!") Sometimes, the reaction is a blank stare. And sometimes it's this: "I don't give a crap what that says, bikes don't belong on the road!!" And yes, I have heard the "I pay insurance, I pay taxes,,," a few times.

    Nothing beats having real information, as opposed to what I call "entrenched mis-information". (i.e. "You should ride on the left, so you can see the cars coming!!")

  17. #17
    Why Cars? myates1980's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    Don't know Boston nor the OP, but a motorist laying on his horn at a stoplight when there is nothing but a cyclist in front, the light is red and no one can go anywhere... sounds like some pretty pent up motorist rage to me.
    Unfortunately I think I might know why that guy would have been pissed. There are two types of traffic signal sensors (that I know of) the pressure sensors, and the induction loops. Bikes contain neither the mass nor the electromagnetic interferance to set these sensors off. The driver may have been pissed about the fact that the light was probably NOT going to change for you two with a bicycle on the sensor. This is still no excuse for his actions though.
    ==========================
    Q: How is a raven like a writing desk?

    A: They both have inky quills.

  18. #18
    unaangalia nini? baiskeli's Avatar
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    Actually, this light is timed (I'm pretty familiar with the intersection). I know a few around here that need a car to trip so if I am the first to the light I move way over and let the car behind me come foward.

  19. #19
    unaangalia nini? baiskeli's Avatar
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    Most times that I have corrected people they have pretty much told me to 'f**k off!!". Nowadays if a driver is being aggressive I don't even bother. A friend of mine said "A bully is a bully no matter where they are.". His point was that there are certain types of people whom take pleasure in intimidating anyone they see as smaller than themselves or different. I have had a few drivers whom when corrected acknowledge their mistake but they are few and far in between.

  20. #20
    unaangalia nini? baiskeli's Avatar
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    Hi trackhub,

    He has not replied yet (I doubt he will). Sent him the link though.

  21. #21
    i am batman gregtheripper's Avatar
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    Boston drivers are, for the most part, the craziest and worst drivers ever... and I grew up driving in New Jersey! For the most part, though, I haven't had any bad incidents. Once one of those tourist trolleys forced me into a concrete divider on Atlantic ave, and some guy ran me off the road going through Brigham circle.. I stay pretty much in the same area though (fenway/back bay/roxbury) and there are a lot of bikers around so I guess drivers are used to it.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    Given the majority's ruling, the only safe bicycle in Illinois is a stationary exercise bike located in one's home or at the gym. ----Illinois State Supreme Court, Boub V Wayne

  23. #23
    Senior Member trackhub's Avatar
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    Yes Boston, and its surrounding areas, can be pretty nasty. I no longer ride on Saturday mornings. Reason: Over the past ten years, Saturday morning has become one of the worst times for riding. Everyone is getting "caught up" on chores such as going to the bank, or ferrying the kiddies to soccer practice. (Lord forbid they should bike or walk)

    Some of the worst areas I have heard about: ("Heard About" being important here)

    Dallas / Ft. worth.
    Austin.
    Colorado springs. (Friend lives there, describes road riding as "very dangerous". He has since gone to mountain biking only.)
    Orlando, general vicinity. Ditto Miami area. (other parts of Fl. are supposed to be great for riding.)

    Oh yes, let's not forget "The Denver Incident"

    http://www.bikeleague.org/mediacenter/medprs20.htm

    I would not suggest that this is how all denver citizens are, but we all know there are few more out there.

  24. #24
    yak
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    Zircon Encrusted Tweezer yak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trackhub
    The Bicycle laws for the commonwealth of Massachusetts may be read here: (if they have not been posted already)

    http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/85-11b.htm
    ...
    Dang, we don't allow choppers here?

  25. #25
    The normal school
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    I found that if you take a apple and insert light-anywhere matches all over the surface area it becomes a nice distraction for motorists especially those with shiny finishes.
    TOSS AWAY!

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