Are commuter cyclists really the regular victims of extreme road rage, inspired merely by their presence? Why?
In a previous thread
, several people claim to have been the innocent victims of car driver rage simply for the fact that they have the gall to ride a bicycle on public roads. Is this a common experience, in US or other cities? What could possibly be motivating these people (the aggro drivers)? I'm a daily commuter and I've come across inconsiderate or just plain bad drivers many a time, but not openly, pointlessless hostile ones. Occasionally, someone will beep me for absolutely no reason, and I wave and smile. But why would someone try to threaten a person just for riding a bike? I'm genuinely curious, this isn't a secret cyclists are betta! thread, pop psychologists and amateur anthropologists please go right ahead (just don't mention virility.
posted by wilful to society & culture at 11:24 PM PST ( cycling roadrage )
Not common for me, but I have on a few occasions been swerved into slowly by drivers who want to hit me with their mirrors as I wait at a traffic light. Interestingly, these few occasions have been on the same narrow, bike-unfriendly street in Philadelphia.
I know it's deliberate because they're looking at me with that goofy, half-hate-filled, half-who-me? look while they drive up to the light.
The kicker is that when I get hit, they look surprised, as if it was my fault they hit me with their side mirror.
After the second time, I now fall into the side of their car and hope to leave a scratch or two before I pedal off. Call it kcarma.
posted by Rothko at 11:33 PM PST on October 11
in jersey city nj, more than once on near-empty roads have I seen people change over 2 or 3 lanes merely to try to force me off the road (onto the sidewalk "where I belong"?)
in hoboken nj on one-way one-lane residential streets, people behind me would get utterly pissed off because I insisted on riding in the middle of the lane (streets are fairly narrow, often double parking gah, no way am I going to get doored thankyouverymuch; speed limit is 25mph, I am more than capable of sustaining 25+ mph) -- if it was some slow driver in a car in front of them they might tailgate a little. but put a bike there instead, and it's all horn and not-quite-running-you-over.
I think the rage comes down to ignorance and not wanting to share what's "theirs".
however, in boston and manhattan I have not had anywhere nead as bad experiences, in fact people were fairly decent.
posted by dorian at 11:38 PM PST on October 11
I've never been in a serious road rage incident (honked at numerous times, one guy pulled over when I flipped him off after he nearly hit me when he passed, we had a semi-heated discussion, but left both a bit wiser).
In my experience, the rage some motorists feel towards cyclists is a result of most Americans thinking of bicycles as toys. As such, they don't belong on the street. Many people seem to actually think it is illegal to ride on the street. I've had more than one person tell me they hate cyclists who don't ride on the sidewalk. They were surprised to learn that in the urban center of many cities, that is actually the crime.
[Aside: One coworker of mine saw me getting off my bike outside work one day. He later told me, quite gleefully, that he went out of his way to try and hit cyclists with his mirror when he passed one on the road. ****ing prick. He seemed to like me, and it did not occur to him that there might be a problem telling his friend that he would try to injure him if they happened across each other on the way home.]
But that gets at most of what it is. People are tense in their cars already, generally. Add to that the fact that many folks believe a cyclists is committing a grave offense by riding a bike on the city street, and there are bound to be enough folks incensed by it to do something stupid.
Folks also generally feel an elevated level of anger when they see a bike break the rules (particlualry if it's getting the bike adead). Thus there can be a feeling of outrage that the bike is there at all, coupled with a feeling of jealousy that cyclists can get away with flaunting traffic laws.
And then add to that the fact that there are genuine ******* cyclists out there that go out of their way to piss auto drivers off, and anyone that is feeling ill disposed towards bikes already is going to remember an encounter with such a person above all else.
It all ads up to make a certain segment of the population ready to enforce what they see as vigilante justice, in the form of intimidation and road rage and the like.
posted by teece at 11:55 PM PST on October 11