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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 should cyclists ride?
1) I think it is NOT OK for a cyclist to violate the Right-of-Way of other users of the road. 66 86.84%
2) I think it is OK for a cyclist to violate the Right-of-Way of other users of the road. 10 13.16%
Voters: 76. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-18-08, 11:34 AM   #1
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Do you believe that cyclists should ride rudely?

I've noticed quite a few people accusing the Advocacy & Safety forum members of being summarily pro-bike, anti-car, to the point of always siding with bicyclists no matter how illegal or rude their behavior.

This is not my impression, so I wanted to do a poll and see what people think.

The two options are:

1) I think it is NOT OK for a cyclist to violate the Right-of-Way of other users of the road.

2) I think it is OK for a cyclist to violate the Right-of-Way of other users of the road.
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Old 11-18-08, 11:56 AM   #2
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I don't think you are going to get the stridently anti-car set to show their colors with this poll. I suspect you will get close to 100% of respondents choosing the first option. The problem is that people have varying ideas of what right-of-way means.

For example, If I'm at a red light and there's a car a hundred feet down on the cross street going 20 mph, I'll consider running the light. In my opinion, I'm not violating his right of way since I'm not in his way, but others would disagree with me.
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Old 11-18-08, 11:59 AM   #3
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I only do so when there is an immediate threat to my safety, and it has to be a pretty big threat, because violating someone's ROW generally puts the cyclist at some amount of risk.

Would you consider going through a deserted red light, after stopping and checking in all directions for motorists, violating someone's ROW? I do this occasionally, usually on my morning commute at ~5 AM.

I certainly don't believe cyclists should ride "rudely". But the riding style that I consider "confident and assertive with respect to my rights and duties as a vehicle" is often thought of as "rude" by motorists. (Meaning that they don't like me taking the lane or simply being on the road with them.) Personally, I couldn't possibly care less what motorists think of me, unless their feelings are exhibited in dangerous behavior towards myself.
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Old 11-18-08, 12:01 PM   #4
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I find that I get better results and feel better about myself if I try to ride friendly.
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Old 11-18-08, 12:02 PM   #5
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I don't think that's the right question. I guess filtering is technically violating other people's right of way, so I do sometimes do that at intersections where it makes sense to me. Otherwise, the idea of violating someone's right of way is as diametrically opposed to the way I operate any vehicle as you can get.
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Old 11-18-08, 12:20 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by zeytoun View Post
I've noticed quite a few people accusing the Advocacy & Safety forum members of being summarily pro-bike, anti-car, to the point of always siding with bicyclists no matter how illegal or rude their behavior.

This is not my impression, so I wanted to do a poll and see what people think.

The two options are:

1) I think it is NOT OK for a cyclist to violate the Right-of-Way of other users of the road.

2) I think it is OK for a cyclist to violate the Right-of-Way of other users of the road.
I think it is NOT OK for a cyclist to violate the ROW of other users of the road... but I also feel that it is NOT OK for others to violate a cyclists ROW. A cyclist moving at 20MPH on a road signed for 50MPH MAX is NOT violating any body's ROW... that first has to be understood. Speed limits are limits, not suggested driving speeds.

Second cyclists generally learn to be rude after being treated poorly by motorists... so "rude" is simply a reaction to day to day reality.

No one initially jumps on a bike with the intent to go out and aggravate motorists.
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Old 11-18-08, 12:22 PM   #7
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hells yes. either ride a bike or GTFO
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Old 11-18-08, 12:23 PM   #8
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Motorists often confuse annoyance and their own anger as a violation of their ROW.
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Old 11-18-08, 12:41 PM   #9
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Motorists often confuse annoyance and their own anger as a violation of their ROW.
Exactly... and then they tend to lash out at the first vulnerable thing...

Just the other day I was behind a city bus, that was moving slowly around a tight curve... the motorist behind me at the first opportunity to pass flipped the finger to me... not the bus. Go figure.
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Old 11-18-08, 01:18 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by apricissimus View Post
I don't think you are going to get the stridently anti-car set to show their colors with this poll. I suspect you will get close to 100% of respondents choosing the first option. The problem is that people have varying ideas of what right-of-way means.

For example, If I'm at a red light and there's a car a hundred feet down on the cross street going 20 mph, I'll consider running the light. In my opinion, I'm not violating his right of way since I'm not in his way, but others would disagree with me.
Now I know there is a lot of discussion about nuance when it comes to politeness, as well as the rules of ROW. But it is my impression that in general, almost all forum users disagree with riding in a way that forces other drivers to give up their ROW.

Yet, I often see posts decrying the scofflaw messenger-style bike rider (which I have yet to see much of outside of YouTube), and accusing the forum members here of advocating that kind of behavior.

On a side note, from a legal perspective, ROW issues can only exist when the intersecting of two paths would cause interference. Your example of running a red light cannot technically be said to be a ROW issue unless the driver must alter his behavior because of your crossing the issue.

Another example: A person has stopped (in bike or car, no matter) at a stop sign, and is now preparing to cross the intersection. Cross traffic has no stop sign, and therefore ROW, generally speaking. If the person crosses because the intersection appears completely clear, only to be hit by a second person that is traveling much faster than the speed limit (and so reaches the intersection much more quickly than the first person would have anticipated), the law normally sides with the the first person.

---

Quote:
Would you consider going through a deserted red light, after stopping and checking in all directions for motorists, violating someone's ROW? I do this occasionally, usually on my morning commute at ~5 AM.
Would I personally do that? Absolutely. The goal of the law is the safety and equal convenience of all road users. I personally have zero issue with someone whose behavior is based on meeting these goals, even if it technically violates a law. If there are no other vehicles present, ROW cannot said to be broken.

I'll give you real-world example. At a small, lighted intersection, a bicyclist is waiting at the line to turn left (no separate turn lane, or protected green arrow when the light changes), with lots of cars waiting behind him. There is oncoming traffic waiting at the opposite side to go through. Cross traffic has a green light, but there is zero traffic for as far as the eye can see.

The law-abiding cyclist would wait for the green light, and then wait for a gap in the opposite traffic before turning left. In the meantime, the other drivers would be forced to wait behind him until that gap appeared, and the cyclist would be sitting for an extended period exposed at the intersection.

Following law here violates the spirit of the law in that it is less convenient and safe for all road users. The cyclist could easily and safely turn against the red light, and be out of danger, and out of the way of the other users.

Of course, many would vehemently disagree with me, and that's their prerogative.

---

Quote:
A cyclist moving at 20MPH on a road signed for 50MPH MAX is NOT violating any body's ROW... that first has to be understood.
Absolutely.
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Old 11-18-08, 01:41 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by zeytoun View Post
I've noticed quite a few people accusing the Advocacy & Safety forum members of being summarily pro-bike, anti-car, to the point of always siding with bicyclists no matter how illegal or rude their behavior.

This is not my impression, so I wanted to do a poll and see what people think.

The two options are:

1) I think it is NOT OK for a cyclist to violate the Right-of-Way of other users of the road.

2) I think it is OK for a cyclist to violate the Right-of-Way of other users of the road.
ESPECIALLY since cyclists are a minority group on the road I think that ANY cyclist who would violate the Right-of-Way of other users of the road would be very bad for the image of all cyclists in general.
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Old 11-18-08, 01:43 PM   #12
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but I also feel that it is NOT OK for others to violate a cyclists ROW. A cyclist moving at 20MPH on a road signed for 50MPH MAX is NOT violating any body's ROW... that first has to be understood.
Sorry, you lost me there. If your peloton is taking up an entire lane of a 50mph road, you deserve what you get, (I hope it's only a ticket, and not run over by some hapless motorist who was obeying the law.)

While motorcycling a couple of months ago near my home, I came across a traffic jam on a 50mph two-lane road. There was a line of cars stuck behind this wannabe Giro D'Ipstick AND SOME OF THE RIDERS WERE EVEN SPILLING INTO THE SOLE REMAINING LANE. There was naturally plenty of honking and fingers exchanged but somehow I don't think any of the car drivers were convinced of the error of their ways.

I prefer a non-confrontational approach: I pulled my carbureted motorcycle directly in front of the peloton, fully engaged the choke on my motorcycle and rode slowly ahead of them for a mile or two. The resulting fumes smell bad, are highly carcinogenic, and IMO entirely deserved.

Being in a brightly-colored, hostile little mob doesn't excuse you from road courtesy.
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Old 11-18-08, 01:50 PM   #13
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Gene:
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A cyclist
You:
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peloton
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Old 11-18-08, 02:01 PM   #14
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Sorry, you lost me there. If your peloton is taking up an entire lane of a 50mph road, you deserve what you get, (I hope it's only a ticket, and not run over by some hapless motorist who was obeying the law.)
Why? If one slow motorist was using the lane, they would be using just as much road and be just as legal. One cyclist has as much right as one motorist to use the road. Now typically if the road is multilaned, there is NO provision for pulling over to give way to any built up traffic.

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While motorcycling a couple of months ago near my home, I came across a traffic jam on a 50mph two-lane road. There was a line of cars stuck behind this wannabe Giro D'Ipstick AND SOME OF THE RIDERS WERE EVEN SPILLING INTO THE SOLE REMAINING LANE. There was naturally plenty of honking and fingers exchanged but somehow I don't think any of the car drivers were convinced of the error of their ways.
OK they were rudely using more than one lane. And in doing so, may be violating laws.

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I prefer a non-confrontational approach: I pulled my carbureted motorcycle directly in front of the peloton, fully engaged the choke on my motorcycle and rode slowly ahead of them for a mile or two. The resulting fumes smell bad, are highly carcinogenic, and IMO entirely deserved.
Oh, so abuse of cyclists and the air that others breath is "legal and morally correct"? And it is hardly non-confrontational... your local air resources board might be quite interested in your technique.

Quote:
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Being in a brightly-colored, hostile little mob doesn't excuse you from road courtesy.
Going slow is not a violation of most state laws... especially when there are more lanes available. Dressing in brightly colored clothing is not a violation of laws, and doing so to be noticed only makes good sense. Driving a brightly colored car gives one no more "rights" over the road either.
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Old 11-18-08, 02:02 PM   #15
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Well, there is some conflict between motorists and bicyclists. But the bicycle was around first. The League of American Bicyclists have been petitioning for wider roads since 1934.
We the bicyclists could be petitioning for lower speed limits, within the realm of the laws of physics pertinent to bicycles. But we choose to ask for wider roads, therefore we are helping the motorists, whether they realize it or not. Is this a conflict of interest? The fact is, most cyclists have cars.

I hate to block traffic. I always let cars and trucks pass me when I'm on my bicycle.

I have an Electric Bicycle, and I would like to see more electric bikes that can go faster that the mandated twenty miles per hour.

I also have built bikes with fairings. Aerodynamic improvements can help a bicycle go about forty seven MPH. At 47MPH, I just couldn't spin the pedals any faster, and I never got that BIG chainring I wanted.
But my fairing designs were compromised by crash-protection and cargo carrying factors, which increased the weight of the bike.

We are always helping the motorists. We have cars ourselves and would like to pass other cyclists safely when we drive. Instead of asking for lower speed limits, I went and built a faster bicycle.

I haven't seen any kamikaze motorists in a long time. I used to see them on a regular basis, except it always looked like the same two or three motorists... Always the cars would drift haplessly across the white fog line which defines the travel portion of the roadway.

Today, I ride with a rear-view mirror, always keeping a look-out.
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Old 11-18-08, 02:03 PM   #16
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Do unto others as you would have them do unto you...

or before they do it to you...I always forget which way it goes.
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Old 11-18-08, 02:10 PM   #17
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The golden rule always sounded a bit naughty to me...
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Old 11-18-08, 02:20 PM   #18
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I doubt anyone on here will say they believe it is right to take the right of way, But we all know there are some out there who act that way. The disagreement I've seen in this forum doesn't seem to focus on whether that's wrong or not, but whether it's relevant to cyclists as a whole.

Some believe that the impact of these cyclists is minimal (to the point of irrelevant) in the 'big picture'.

Others believe these cyclists DO have an impact on the public perception of cyclists, and that this impact can and should be addressed along with the other problems we face.

I fall into the latter camp. I think the real difference in paradigms is focused on perception of motorists - Many cyclists seem to have fallen into a mentality of opposition, believing that motorists as a group are essentially "out to get them". I believe "cagers" are people too, just like us, and that the majority hold no ingrained malice toward cyclists - but that general opinion, driven mostly by misconception and lack of education, but contributed to by a few "bad apple" cyclists, leads them to honestly believe cyclists do not belong on the road.


I think we can all agree that the real key to the problem is changing that belief among motorists. Our opinions differ, though, about whether addressing lawlessness among some cyclists would help.
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Old 11-18-08, 02:26 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by zeytoun View Post
If there are no other vehicles present, ROW cannot said to be broken.
That seems to fit in well with this definition of ROW:

Quote:
The term right of way...refers to a preference of one of two vehicles..., asserting the right of passage at the same place and time. It is not an absolute right, however, since the possessor of the right of way is not relieved from the duty of exercising due care for her own safety and that of others.
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Originally Posted by zeytoun View Post
The law-abiding cyclist would wait for the green light, and then wait for a gap in the opposite traffic before turning left. In the meantime, the other drivers would be forced to wait behind him until that gap appeared...
Rather than advocating law-breaking, controlled intersections can be replaced with designs that allow travelers to proceed whenever there's a big enough gap.
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Old 11-18-08, 03:30 PM   #20
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It's rude to ride rudely and it's not right to take the right of way.

And it's against the law to take the law into your own hands. - Barney Fife
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Old 11-18-08, 04:09 PM   #21
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You have to be a fool to violate another vehicles right of way on a bicycle, because if the other vehicle doesn't give the right of way to you, you could get hit and rule number one of bicycling is DON'T GET HIT.

First of all, what is the definition of violating someone's right of way? To me, yeilding the right of way is making sure that no one, driver, ped or cyclist, has to alter their movement in any way because of my actions. As long as they haven't had to slow down, stop, speed up or alter their intended travel line because of my actions, I have not violated their right of way.

Now, lets not confuse violating the right of way with violating a traffic regulation, the two are NOT the same. I can run a red light and if there is no traffic, I haven't violated anyones right of way even though I failed to comply with a traffic law.
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Old 11-18-08, 04:46 PM   #22
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I do not think your poll is valid. Primarily, you have chosen two options that are complete opposites, the results are 'highly' predictable and therefore of little value.

Interfering with someone else's right-of-way, is not just rude it also introduces unnecessary personal risk. Your poll answers the question; "what percentage of respondents are mentally challenged". (can anybody see the ambiguity in my quoted question).

If a motorist sees you jump out of the path of a speeding train and into their right-of-way, they will likely think that was exactly what they would have done in the same circumstances, that it was sensible and not at all rude.

An equally loaded poll question would have been "is binary optical communication (middle finger) rude". Other than pulling the obvious troll imbecile out of the woodwork (peleton hater) it serves little purpose.

Slightly better, but still dubious, would have been to ask if riding assertively is likely to be construed by cagers as rude. A long time ago I found myself ill-equipped to handle an unwanted homosexual advance from a workplace superior (FYI I am straight) - these days it would/should not happen. In a similar sense, most motorists are ill-equipped to judge whether a cyclist riding assertively is being sensible or rude.

Pretty much across-the-board in life, being educated (or trained) results in people being properly equipped to handle the majority of life. Alas we live in a dumbed down society where stick and carrot philosophy is deemed superior to education or training. This is simply so that the powers that be, can remain in power and do what they do (e.g. turn a blind eye to the fraud that is the Federal Reserve System, sic.) In the meantime 48,000 people pay every year on American roads with their lives.
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Old 11-18-08, 04:46 PM   #23
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You have to be a fool to violate another vehicles right of way on a bicycle, because if the other vehicle doesn't give the right of way to you, you could get hit and rule number one of bicycling is DON'T GET HIT.

First of all, what is the definition of violating someone's right of way? To me, yeilding the right of way is making sure that no one, driver, ped or cyclist, has to alter their movement in any way because of my actions. As long as they haven't had to slow down, stop, speed up or alter their intended travel line because of my actions, I have not violated their right of way.

Now, lets not confuse violating the right of way with violating a traffic regulation, the two are NOT the same. I can run a red light and if there is no traffic, I haven't violated anyones right of way even though I failed to comply with a traffic law.
I tend to agree with this... but lets look at your comments a bit further... "As long as they haven't had to slow down, stop, speed up or alter their intended travel line because of my actions, I have not violated their right of way." So what does it mean when someone else (OK, a motorist) does speed up or alter their intended travel... because you did something "normal" like take a lane or put your arm out in a signal.

The classic case I am thinking of is you needing to make a left turn... and you put your arm out to signal based on seeing that the way appears clear... but a motorist speeds up, cutting you off... did you have ROW in the first place? (BTW I see this happening motorist to motorist on freeways too... )

Or say you are taking the lane, and are nicely destination positioned for going straight through at an intersection... but a motorist speeds up from behind you, does a swooping pass and then cuts you off...

Or of course the classic right hook where a line of travel is changed because you are there and the result is again, you get cut off...

Now would any of those situations tend to make you act rudely toward that motorist?
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Old 11-18-08, 06:13 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
I tend to agree with this... but lets look at your comments a bit further... "As long as they haven't had to slow down, stop, speed up or alter their intended travel line because of my actions, I have not violated their right of way." So what does it mean when someone else (OK, a motorist) does speed up or alter their intended travel... because you did something "normal" like take a lane or put your arm out in a signal.

The classic case I am thinking of is you needing to make a left turn... and you put your arm out to signal based on seeing that the way appears clear... but a motorist speeds up, cutting you off... did you have ROW in the first place? (BTW I see this happening motorist to motorist on freeways too... )

Or say you are taking the lane, and are nicely destination positioned for going straight through at an intersection... but a motorist speeds up from behind you, does a swooping pass and then cuts you off...

Or of course the classic right hook where a line of travel is changed because you are there and the result is again, you get cut off...

Now would any of those situations tend to make you act rudely toward that motorist?
You are perfectly right. But in your scenario, its a situation where the cyclist has the right of way legally.

In my statement, what I meant was, in a situation where I don't legally have the right of way, as long as I don't interefere with anyone else, I haven't violated their right of way. For example, if I have a red light and a car on the intersecting road is three blocks away from the intersection, he technically has the right of way because he has a green light, but as long as I get across the intersection without making him alter his driving in any way, then I haven't violated his right of way.
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Old 11-18-08, 06:54 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
You are perfectly right. But in your scenario, its a situation where the cyclist has the right of way legally.

In my statement, what I meant was, in a situation where I don't legally have the right of way, as long as I don't interefere with anyone else, I haven't violated their right of way. For example, if I have a red light and a car on the intersecting road is three blocks away from the intersection, he technically has the right of way because he has a green light, but as long as I get across the intersection without making him alter his driving in any way, then I haven't violated his right of way.
Yeah I see your point... does it count if the motorist flinched a bit as you dashed in front of them.

My point is that all those scenarios I presented are situations in which the cyclist has ROW and it is taken away by a heavy handed (footed) motorist... which results in cyclists "riding rudely" as a defense mechanism.

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So back to the OP; I don't believe that cyclists start out rude, but are created that way by the environment in which they ride. I think there are fine lines between assertive, aggressive, and rude...
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