Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

View Poll Results: How do you respond to honking?
Ignore it. 46 35.38%
Honk back and/or give the one finger salute. 34 26.15%
Look behind you to see what the situation is (even though it might be the last thing you ever see). 45 34.62%
Assume your life is in imminent danger and leap onto the roof of the parked car next to you. 5 3.85%
Voters: 130. You may not vote on this poll

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 05-08-07, 04:08 PM   #1
makeinu
Banned
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 2,294
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
How to respond to honking?

Honking is supposed to warn other vehicles of imminent danger. Unfortunately, nine times out of ten it's used simply to let out frustration and piss other people off.

This puts us in a bit of a pickle, as the best way to respond to people trying to piss you off is to not respond at all, which the best way to respond to imminent danger is with drastic and immediate action.

That being said, how do you respond to cars honking at you (from behind)?
makeinu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-07, 04:11 PM   #2
Turtle Jack
Cantre Member
 
Turtle Jack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: NW Ohio
Bikes:
Posts: 99
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I wave, I figure it's meant as a friendly warning.
Turtle Jack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-07, 04:17 PM   #3
natelutkjohn
Cheesmonger Extraordinair
 
natelutkjohn's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Bikes:
Posts: 417
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Middle Finger 100% unless its a quick, 0.5 sec honk - they get dirty looks, or 2 taps - then I assume friendly.
natelutkjohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-07, 04:21 PM   #4
Helmet Head
Banned.
 
Helmet Head's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: San Diego
Bikes:
Posts: 13,075
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turtle Jack
I wave, I figure it's meant as a friendly warning.


I didn't vote because "wave, smile, nod" was not one of the options.
Helmet Head is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-07, 04:21 PM   #5
lima_bean
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Chicago, IL
Bikes: Jamis Nova
Posts: 714
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by makeinu
Honking is supposed to warn other vehicles of imminent danger. Unfortunately, nine times out of ten it's used simply to let out frustration and piss other people off.

This puts us in a bit of a pickle, as the best way to respond to people trying to piss you off is to not respond at all, which the best way to respond to imminent danger is with drastic and immediate action.

That being said, how do you respond to cars honking at you (from behind)?
Its a very regional thing.

Growing up in Texas, the only time i EVER heard honking even when cycling was if an accident was about to happen.


Living in chicago now, people honk to say hello, they honk to say goodbye, they honk all day long, they honk while they sing this song.
lima_bean is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-07, 04:54 PM   #6
Keith99
Senior Member
 
Keith99's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 5,866
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Last time someone honked "at me" was right after I had gone through a cloud of dust blown up be 'gardeners' with leaf blowers. I was pissed off already as it was both nasty and dangerous (the cloud of dust).

I turned and cussed out the car. They passed me slowly and the passenger politely told me that they were honking at the jerks making the cloud, not me and that I was fine as far as they were concerend.

Hopefully in the future I'll take a little longer to be sure just who the horn is aimed at.
Keith99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-07, 05:05 PM   #7
natelutkjohn
Cheesmonger Extraordinair
 
natelutkjohn's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Bikes:
Posts: 417
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith99
Hopefully in the future I'll take a little longer to be sure just who the horn is aimed at.
I have been know to apologize to drivers at red lights after saluting them for thinking the honk meant something that it didn't - but my general feeling is that a honk on a busy road is dangerous to me as a cyclist, so please, NEVER do it for any reason unless my life is in danger due to your brakes failing and/or your steering locking up.
natelutkjohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-07, 05:19 PM   #8
rando
Senior Member
 
rando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Tempe, AZ
Bikes:
Posts: 2,967
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
^^^ what he said. it scares the @#$% out of me when it's right next to me.
rando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-07, 05:36 PM   #9
genec
genec
 
genec's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: West Coast
Bikes: custom built, sannino, beachbike, giant trance x2
Posts: 24,633
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 164 Post(s)
I try to give a big friendly wave and grin... and yeah, I look. However, my response does vary, based on the situation... if someone just cruises by and lets out a honk, they get the wave and grin... must be a long lost friend. If someone is trying to squeeze me and is being dangerous doing it... I will try to give them a piece of my mind... if they are not likely to stop and are just being a JAM... they get the one finger salute.

I give out a lot more waves. I talk to a motorist about twice a year. The rest get what they deserve.
genec is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-07, 05:55 PM   #10
chipcom 
Infamous Member
 
chipcom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ohio
Bikes: Surly Big Dummy, Fuji World, 80ish Bianchi
Posts: 24,366
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Look, if a response is needed for safety, do it, if not, ignore it, or, if it's a jerk and I've had a bad day, give em the good ole American bird.
__________________
"Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey
chipcom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-07, 06:17 PM   #11
ChipSeal
www.chipsea.blogspot.com
 
ChipSeal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: South of Dallas, Texas
Bikes: Giant OCR C0 road
Posts: 1,026
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My choice isn't available on the poll: big smile and wave.
Honking usually makes me angry, but I want to hide that reaction. If the JAM sees his aggression is mis-understood, perhaps it will piss him off more than an angry reaction would.
I try hard to be glad that they honk at me: It means that they see me!
ChipSeal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-07, 06:29 PM   #12
EthanYQX
Why not?
 
EthanYQX's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Canada
Bikes: Giant STP 2
Posts: 845
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Yeah, smile and wave. If it's an angry honk, it generally means I'm doing something wrong so in that position I'll run through my head and see what I'm doing that could be better
EthanYQX is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-07, 06:30 PM   #13
makeinu
Banned
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 2,294
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by natelutkjohn
I have been know to apologize to drivers at red lights after saluting them for thinking the honk meant something that it didn't - but my general feeling is that a honk on a busy road is dangerous to me as a cyclist, so please, NEVER do it for any reason unless my life is in danger due to your brakes failing and/or your steering locking up.
That's the whole problem though. You're asking people to honk only when your life is in danger, but if they actually did so then you'd probably die anyway (since you would assume they are just honking to be an ******* like everyone else).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChipSeal
My choice isn't available on the poll: big smile and wave.
That's not the point. The point is that by not responding to honks by leaping to the side of the road, cyclists are nullifying the only legitimate reason for honking at all and, in fact, putting themselves in danger by inappropriately responding to legitimate honks. On the other hand, 99% of all honking is illegitimate, so it would be a huge waste of time to respond to all honks as if they were legitimate.

It doesn't matter if you honk back, wave back, smile back, etc. For the purposes of this conversation they are all the same. They all spell death for the cyclist if the honk is legitimate (for example, if the driver's shoe got stuck under the break pedal or some such).

What I want to know is how do you people deal with that? Horns are a necessary safety precaution, but by not interpreting honking as grave danger we are effectively removing that safety precaution.

Last edited by makeinu; 05-08-07 at 06:47 PM.
makeinu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-07, 06:54 PM   #14
tomg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: south jersey
Bikes:
Posts: 1,206
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
wave back! Thanks for noticing me!!
(depending on the honk) like ksyox stated above.
tomg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-07, 07:53 PM   #15
2skinnywheels
Senior Member
 
2skinnywheels's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 118
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
If they are coming up behind me and pop the horn, I assume they are just letting me know they are there and I give them a "thank you" wave. The things that motorists do that amuse me the most are when they have to get on the gas and damn near drop their transmission trying to pass me. Now, what pisses me off is the motorcyclists on crotchrockets that want to wind it out as they pass me. But I get amusment out of making vroom vroom noises when I see them at the next gas station up the road fueling up.
2skinnywheels is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-07, 08:08 PM   #16
Machka 
Long Distance Cyclist
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: I ride where the thylacine roamed!
Bikes: Lots
Posts: 45,760
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 89 Post(s)
I wave and smile brightly.

More honking = more waving and smiling.

Even more honking = even more waving and smiling.


I really don't understand people who immediately assume that honking means something negative. I take it as a "way to go!". And even on occasions when I'm pretty sure it was something negative, my waving and smiling has gotten many drivers to wave and smile back. They can't help it.

I'm afraid I don't cycle assuming that all drivers want to kill me.
Machka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-07, 08:23 PM   #17
natelutkjohn
Cheesmonger Extraordinair
 
natelutkjohn's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Bikes:
Posts: 417
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by makeinu
That's the whole problem though. You're asking people to honk only when your life is in danger, but if they actually did so then you'd probably die anyway (since you would assume they are just honking to be an ******* like everyone else).
Definitely a possibility *shrug*
I do however look over my shoulder all the time and double so when I hear a honk - I'm not completely oblivious out there when I hear honks - just VERY beligerant when I do
natelutkjohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-07, 12:03 AM   #18
travisthomas
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Seattle, WA
Bikes:
Posts: 27
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I was riding on a two lane road that opened up to four lanes about 15 yards ahead of us, with my buddy. We were riding side by side, chatting and moving along at a pretty decent rate--either way, the road had only just narrowed and opened up again soon, and there was no bike lane, so if we were in file the people behind us would still have to wait--when the guy behind us honked five or six times. I looked, and seeing that he was just impatient and rude, flipped him off; he pulled up beside us when he could and sputtered before yelling for me to get off my bike so he could assault me (he said it in a few more words). What a jerk. I just laughed and have delighted in making fun of him for the past couple days.
travisthomas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-07, 01:03 AM   #19
1000 oaks
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Bikes: Gary Fisher
Posts: 21
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I ignore all honks that are behind me. They do not convey any useful information.
1000 oaks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-07, 03:46 AM   #20
JeffB502
Arrogant Safety Nanny
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Santa Maria, CA
Bikes: 2007 Trek 7.2 FX, 2008 Trek Madone 5.2
Posts: 554
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
lol nice one oaks.

Usually when the honker is a JAM they don't do it until they're right on my rear tire or they're passing me. I can usually tell when somebody is going to do an "anger honk" before they do because I'm always keeping an eye on my rear view mirror. These ones get a friendly wave and/or a smile.

If a vehicle were coming at me from behind at high speed, laying on the horn, and not slowing down, I would assume there was a problem and do whatever possible to get out of the way (I've never had this happen).

Sometimes people I know will honk as they pass by. One time I wasn't paying attention and it scared me, but I just held my path since I was in a bike lane with a curb/light posts to my right and the honk came from my left. That taught me to pay more attention. The next time I see a friend that honked while I was riding I try to make it a point to ask them not to again.
JeffB502 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-07, 04:45 AM   #21
Daily Commute
Ride the Road
 
Daily Commute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Bikes: Surly Cross-Check; hard tail MTB
Posts: 4,059
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I agree with Machka, genec and others. Smile and wave.
Daily Commute is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-07, 06:02 AM   #22
chipcom 
Infamous Member
 
chipcom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ohio
Bikes: Surly Big Dummy, Fuji World, 80ish Bianchi
Posts: 24,366
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
To all the 'smile and wave' folks...I get this mental picture of someone honking and hollering to warn you of something about to hit you, and your response is to smile and wave...right up to the time you go SPLAT!!!

Smiling and waving is a nice response - AFTER you re-check your situation to ensure you are not missing something that may be putting you in danger.
__________________
"Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey
chipcom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-07, 06:12 AM   #23
slowandsteady
Faster but still slow
 
slowandsteady's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Jersey
Bikes: Trek 830 circa 1993 and a Fuji WSD Finest 1.0 2006
Posts: 5,979
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have never had someone honk at me as a warning, so I do the same thing as I do with my child when she is whining that there is nothing to eat just after I spent $300 at the supermarket...I ignore it.
slowandsteady is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-07, 06:41 AM   #24
Jolt
Senior Member
 
Jolt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Central MA
Bikes: Early or mid '90s Giant Nutra women's hybrid
Posts: 116
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Haven't had anyone honk at me as a warning, but when I hear a honk I always check it out. If it's just somebody being a butthead I ignore it. If it turns out to be a friend passing by who's honking, then I'll wave. However, I'd rather they didn't do that as it is pretty startling.
Jolt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-07, 08:24 AM   #25
flipped4bikes
ROM 6:23
 
flipped4bikes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Coastal Maine
Bikes: Specialized Tricross Comp, Lemond Tourmalet, Bridgestone MB-5
Posts: 1,713
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I honk back with my AirZounds!
flipped4bikes is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:50 PM.