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  1. #1
    scourge of the motorists
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    traffic argument rebutting

    So I had a 2nd mild road rage incident today in a little less than a full year of commuting (they happen much less frequently than this board originally led me to believe).

    Basically the guy honked at me 3 times while I riding, pulled up next to me at a red light and told me that I should let cars pass me. I told him no, that I was allowed to use the lane, and there was another lane going in the same direction anyway. He told me not to act to tough, to which I simply reinstated that I'm allowed to use the lane. He drove off and muttered something that I couldn't hear. Probably "**** you, you think you own the road, but you're wrong, I own the road."

    Anyway this got me thinking... A red light doesn't give you much time, but it certainly does allow for short conversations (most of the ones I've had were much more pleasant). So I was wondering what sort of calm, rational arguments can be offered to the drivers who initiate these kinds of idea exchanges. Obviously, they also need to fall into the category of "elevator speech" regarding time.

    For example, my personal favorite is "you dont pay taxes" to which I think kin kifer's response is best: "public property can be used by anyone, regardless of who pays for it."

    Thanks everyone, I hope to get some good insight out of this.

  2. #2
    bac
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    Quote Originally Posted by driveshaft_bass View Post
    So I had a 2nd mild road rage incident today in a little less than a full year of commuting (they happen much less frequently than this board originally led me to believe).
    I get that on every single ride. Consider yourself very fortunate!

    ... Brad

  3. #3
    scourge of the motorists
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    Quote Originally Posted by bac View Post
    I get that on every single ride. Consider yourself very fortunate!

    ... Brad
    that sucks, dude. But I have found that after both of these incidents, my confidence in riding has actually increased. So I think the more it happens, the quicker I'd learn how to manage the situation effectively and thats one of the reasons why I started this thread.

    Although according to my theory, all that road rage experience should make you like the james bond of commuting.

  4. #4
    avoiding my car
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    Bullet point comments: "I have a right to the use of the lane. It is safer for me to ride in the lane where I was riding. You can pass me safely in the other lane. There is no problem here. Have a nice day"

    I've seen posts on forums by cyclists who actually carry motorist education fliers and give them to people at stop lights (or put them under the wiper).

    I once initiated a conversation with one who almost hit me racing to a red light. I was able to explain my right to be in the lane, the three foot rule, and the silliness of endangering me to get to the red light first... the conversation even ended with pleasantries, well before the light changed. I only hope it has a lasting effect.

    If you ever have the chance for a longer conversation about who pays for the roads, there's a great post on the FBA blog to arm you with info.

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    Seriously, you guys really ought to stop posting about all the problems that result from "taking the lane". I mean, I think it's funnier than hell, but it really isn't helping your cause.

  6. #6
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    Seriously, you guys really ought to stop posting about all the problems that result from "taking the lane". I mean, I think it's funnier than hell, but it really isn't helping your cause.
    Very true. The 'problem' is that 99%+ of riding is totally uneventful and makes for zero interest BF discussion. Those rare 1-2x per year incidents are far more engaging to discuss. Of cousre there are often another 10x per year positive/sappy experiences discussed too, most often on the commuting forum.

    So much like local TV news.

    Al

  7. #7
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by driveshaft_bass View Post
    So I had a 2nd mild road rage incident today in a little less than a full year of commuting (they happen much less frequently than this board originally led me to believe).

    Basically the guy honked at me 3 times while I riding, pulled up next to me at a red light and told me that I should let cars pass me. I told him no, that I was allowed to use the lane, and there was another lane going in the same direction anyway. He told me not to act to tough, to which I simply reinstated that I'm allowed to use the lane. He drove off and muttered something that I couldn't hear. Probably "**** you, you think you own the road, but you're wrong, I own the road."

    Anyway this got me thinking... A red light doesn't give you much time, but it certainly does allow for short conversations (most of the ones I've had were much more pleasant). So I was wondering what sort of calm, rational arguments can be offered to the drivers who initiate these kinds of idea exchanges. Obviously, they also need to fall into the category of "elevator speech" regarding time.

    For example, my personal favorite is "you dont pay taxes" to which I think kin kifer's response is best: "public property can be used by anyone, regardless of who pays for it."

    Thanks everyone, I hope to get some good insight out of this.
    I wouldn't bother. This was recently posted on the chainguard VC advocacy yahoo group:

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Sullivan
    ...
    One poster even said there is no way he can communicate with an
    unsafe passer unless he can catch up to him at the next traffic light.
    What's the point of that? With all the uneducated bike-passers in the
    world, one might as well go about swatting mosquitos in a swamp.


    There is a time and a place to educate drivers, and a time and place to
    cycle. Rarely is there a time and place to do both.
    The only
    information I want to impart on a driver behind me is to let him know
    that I am aware of him, and that I will accommodate his passing as
    soon as it is safe for me to do so. Once he is past me, if he was rude or
    unsafe, I just want him to continue distancing himself from me.

    There are plenty of battles to fight. I like to pick mine, and to seek
    harmony everywhere else.

  8. #8
    Banned.
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    A 30 second red light is plenty of time to whip out your manhood and ask the person in the car if they think it resembles a turtles neck.
    That usually ends all talking right then and there.

  9. #9
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by driveshaft_bass View Post
    So I had a 2nd mild road rage incident today in a little less than a full year of commuting (they happen much less frequently than this board originally led me to believe).

    Basically the guy honked at me 3 times while I riding, pulled up next to me at a red light and told me that I should let cars pass me. I told him no, that I was allowed to use the lane, and there was another lane going in the same direction anyway. He told me not to act to tough, to which I simply reinstated that I'm allowed to use the lane. He drove off and muttered something that I couldn't hear. Probably "**** you, you think you own the road, but you're wrong, I own the road."

    Anyway this got me thinking... A red light doesn't give you much time, but it certainly does allow for short conversations (most of the ones I've had were much more pleasant). So I was wondering what sort of calm, rational arguments can be offered to the drivers who initiate these kinds of idea exchanges. Obviously, they also need to fall into the category of "elevator speech" regarding time.

    For example, my personal favorite is "you dont pay taxes" to which I think kin kifer's response is best: "public property can be used by anyone, regardless of who pays for it."

    Thanks everyone, I hope to get some good insight out of this.
    None. I have never had a calm rational conversation with anyone at a stop sign or stoplight. Their minds are made up and so is yours.

    I have had calm rational conversations in parking lots however. The point being that if you approach someone, you should be calm and rational about it, and be prepared to illustrate your points with a flyer or card that outlines the point of law you want them to be aware of... otherwise it is simply he said/they said.

    I made up and carry small cards that have the CA laws, that pertain to cycling, printed on them.

    Regarding "you don't pay taxes," it depends on your area, but in most areas, home owners pay taxes that contribute to the construction and maintenance of public streets; motorists pay only a small share of gas tax that generally goes to interstate freeways... which cyclists don't use. But there is no way to convey that argument in a 1 or 2 minute red light.

  10. #10
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Of course a quick snappy comeback is always "Would Jesus drive like that?"

  11. #11
    Prefers Aluminum Sprocket Man's Avatar
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    Unless it's someone asking for directions or paying me a compliment, I don't respond to comments made by people in cars. Why bother? Maybe I'm cynical, but nothing good ever comes out of these kinds of conversations.

  12. #12
    Corduroy bike shorts?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sprocket Man View Post
    Unless it's someone asking for directions or paying me a compliment, I don't respond to comments made by people in cars. Why bother? Maybe I'm cynical, but nothing good ever comes out of these kinds of conversations.
    +1

    The only response I give anymore is "If you think I am breaking a law, call the police."

  13. #13
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    What ever happened to the clean, simple, "F*** you..."?

    Actually, if someone did attempt to demand that I get off the road (it hasn't happened for over a year now, and at a stop light, only once in my life back around 8 years ago), I'd just ask: "Who the hell are you?" And leave it at that.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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  14. #14
    This Space For Rent Stujoe's Avatar
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    Truthfully, you might as well just say 'F*** You' or 'Have A Nice Day' depending upon your preference. I think either of those will change the opinion of the driver in the exact same manner as a well thought out response or rebuttal. In other words, neither approach will have any effect whatsoever on the thinking of the driver.

    Save your breath for the ride.

  15. #15
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Just smiles. These folks are not generally receptive to learning.

    I do curse at folks, but for my own good which always happens to be when they are out of earshot.

    I communicate intents and direct and give positive feedback to other drivers heavily while commuting - signals, waves, thanks you's, etc. That will do more to show folks that I am doing what I am doing with purpose and being thoughtful about my place in traffic vs. some mutterings in an attempt to be explain while trying to adjust from a 'cycling in traffic' mindset to a 'talking' mindset, which ends up more like "uhh, what your problem, i'm, i'm, its the legal, uuhh, umm, no, uhh, thats dangerous, you move."

    Al

  16. #16
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    I had a guy honk at me once while I was walking my bike across a pedestrian cross walk one early morning.
    I was in the mood to fight so I walked up to his car - he rolled the window down - right as I was about to let loose a most evil spell of profanity on him all I could think about was how much this guy looks like John Holm; the 70's long curly hair, the thick moustache... it was too much. So all I said (in a loud voice of course) was "what the **** are you, the ghost of John Holms?". He must have gotten it right away because he started laughing about as hard as a clown on crack, then I started laughing, then he apologized and said he was having a bad morning. We exchanged a pleasantry or two and then off we went our seperate ways.

  17. #17
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    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  18. #18
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    I don't really have problems with cars, but if somebody honks, I wave in a really funny, big, happy way. Don't bother debating car-idiots.
    Not too much to say here

  19. #19
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    Seriously, you guys really ought to stop posting about all the problems that result from "taking the lane". I mean, I think it's funnier than hell, but it really isn't helping your cause.
    Where do you ride where every road is wide enough to share? It sounds idyllic.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  20. #20
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pleen View Post
    +1

    The only response I give anymore is "If you think I am breaking a law, call the police."
    That works till you get "I am the police." (Happened to me once.)
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Of course a quick snappy comeback is always "Would Jesus drive like that?"
    I had a dad honk repeatedly at me one Sunday morning, in a spot where he could have easily passed. After he had "made his point" and passed me, I saw him, wife & 2 kids all dressed up in Sunday best. About 1.5 miles up the road, I saw this family walking into the church doors. All I could think of was the irony.

  22. #22
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    That works till you get "I am the police." (Happened to me once.)
    Then you would respond "then write me a ticket"

    I had one spitting mad at me a couple years back, and he WOULD NOT write me a ticket. And he kept wanting to know if my camera was on ( it was) and why the woman in the car behind me had a camera ( we were making a video).
    I thought he was going to blow a gasket. I know he wanted to beat me.
    Not too much to say here

  23. #23
    "Per Ardua ad Surly" nelson249's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    That works till you get "I am the police." (Happened to me once.)
    Retort to that is (especially if the cop is off-duty and in mufti): "Since you are a police officer, perhaps you ought to have more than a passing familiarity with the law."

    People can say anything they want and unless they prove it by producing a badge, warrant card etc. they can get stuffed.
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  24. #24
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Of course a quick snappy comeback is always "Would Jesus drive like that?"
    In my list of top ten bumperstickers of all time: "Jesus would have used his turn signal"
    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

  25. #25
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    Seriously, you guys really ought to stop posting about all the problems that result from "taking the lane". I mean, I think it's funnier than hell, but it really isn't helping your cause.
    More often than not, my taking the lane at a red light has the positive result of avoiding right-hooks. I've made up a "baseball" game where I count how many cars immediately in front of me (remember I'm in the center taking my space) plus immediately in back of me turn right, while I go straight. That's the number of potential right-hooks I've successfully avoided by taking the lane. Refer to 1 as a single, 2 double, etc. and you've got a mildly entertaining traffic game.

    Is that positive enough for you?
    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

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