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  1. #1
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    Transference of general anti-bicycle rage?

    I had an odd run-in with a motorist today: the light turned green, and I pulled over a bit to let the SUV behind me pass; it was a fairly narrow road, and I figured, might as well be courteous, the lady's going to try to pass me soon anyway. However, she refused to pass, got irate and honked at me repeatedly, especially when I finally just stopped and tried to wave her past. We eventually got into a bit of a shouting match, and when I pointed out that I was only trying to let her pass, she became even more furious, and said something to the effect that "you people" had better make up your mind about whether or not you're going to insist on the right of way or not. I tried to tell her that I didn't expect special treatment, only equal rights compared to motorists, but at that point she was too angry to listen.

    My interpretation of this exchange is that this person has been harboring angry feelings towards bicyclists for a while now, and I merely gave her an opportunity to vent. In fact, a few of my motoring friends have recently also expressed resentment towards bicyclists, claiming that bike riders have, due to their increased numbers, become "full of themselves."

    My questions are these:
    1. Has anything like this happened to anyone else (i.e., you try to yield your right of way as a courtesy, and the motorist just gets irritated)?
    2. What, if anything, do bicyclists do to engender what I see as a pervasive attitude of hostility among a lot of motorists, even in relatively tolerant places like Seattle? Is it a case of a minority of scofflaws ruining it for everyone else, or is there really a widespread delusional culture of entitlement among cyclists that I've somehow refused to recognize? (Or is it a culture of entitlement among motorists?)

    I'm not saying it's a crisis or anything; on the vast majority of days, I have no altercations with motorists at all. I do seem to get dirty looks almost daily though (especially in Ballard), even though I always follow traffic laws and try to be as predictable as possible. I'm basically just wondering why there's still some hostility out there, despite the best of intentions.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  2. #2
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    People are idiots?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by bragi View Post
    2. What, if anything, do bicyclists do to engender what I see as a pervasive attitude of hostility among a lot of motorists, even in relatively tolerant places like Seattle?
    Cyclists don't as a rule do anything to earn that sort of treatment; car drivers used to rarely see bikes (and were rarely annoyed) but now it seems like they're everywhere, and it gets to be a pet peeve by repeated exposure.
    Current stable: Sun Atlas X-type (mine), Trek Navigator 3 (wife), two Sun Revolution cruisers (wife, daughter)

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    Don't let it eat you up.

    Lets look at the positive side, apparantly there are enough new people riding that people are noticing!
    Yay for more riders!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Falchoon's Avatar
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    I've had similar experiences (maybe not quite as bad). I think the best thing is to just take your right of way except in a case where it is obvious that the driver is not going to let you and to do so could cause a collision.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.

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    it's not really cyclists that are getting drivers angry it's just that we are handy to go off on when drivers are all stressed and angry. driving sucks and makes life stressful. who else to vent on then some fool on a silly bike?

  7. #7
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    IF bicycling really does take off in great numbers, we will see a lot more frustration from automobile drivers and I am sure we will see new laws put in place to restrict bicycle use on roads.

    Even as a bicyclist and a bicycle enthusiast, bicycles can be a nuisance when I am driving a car. Even the best bicyclists take up space and go slower than cars.

    Hopefully, cars will get smaller and take up less space, making more room on the roads for bicycles and automobiles.
    Mike

  8. #8
    Senior Member Brian T.'s Avatar
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    See my sig. There is no way to please everyone, especially those who have a sense of entitlement.
    Never get into an argument with an idiot, they only drag you down and beat you with experience.


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  9. #9
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    It seems you only wanted to make things better, but from the way you've described it, your behavior contradicted your intentions.

    If you don't expect special treatment, only equal rights, why would you pull over on a narrow road when you have every right to proceed on the green?

    It seems to me the driver was just confused because she was expecting you to exercise your equal rights and didn't want or expect to squeeze by you.

    If drivers (or cyclists) can't count on behavior on the road to be uniform and predictable, the whole system falls apart. If you don't want to follow the rules of the road, or want to make up rules as you go, maybe the street isn't for you.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  10. #10
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike View Post
    IF bicycling really does take off in great numbers, we will see a lot more frustration from automobile drivers and I am sure we will see new laws put in place to restrict bicycle use on roads.

    Even as a bicyclist and a bicycle enthusiast, bicycles can be a nuisance when I am driving a car. Even the best bicyclists take up space and go slower than cars.

    Hopefully, cars will get smaller and take up less space, making more room on the roads for bicycles and automobiles.
    here is proof that Mike is Not Really a Cyclist
    Last edited by randya; 01-04-09 at 07:51 PM.

  11. #11
    Randomhead
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    To the OP: I think it a generalized rage that is being transferred to bicyclists. Although your experience is pretty unique. There is another thread where the subject of discussion is motorists improperly yielding their right of way to cyclists. In general, it's not a good idea, although I have been guilty of it.

  12. #12
    Resident Car-Nut Atlantian's Avatar
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    When I walk or bike and see a car, to yield for them, I just go off path and pretend I am just going the other way, that way, situations of confusion like these won't happen.

    But I do appreciate it when bikes wave you by when you are driving on a narrow road and trying to get past him/her... Several times today. I remember thinking "Why can't every rider do that?" (sometimes people just bike in the middle of the road, look back, and keep biking, as if they will just out bike a car)

    Oh, btw, off topic, but if you are going to be taking a Sunday walk on West/East Mercer Way, don't walk in the center of the road and on the wrong side. In fact, walk as if you are driving, on the right side of the road, on the shoulders... It is annoying to have to swerve into the next lane to avoid a family. (Because I will just go at a constant speed and honk the horn next time, not kidding)

  13. #13
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    It seems you only wanted to make things better, but from the way you've described it, your behavior contradicted your intentions.

    If you don't expect special treatment, only equal rights, why would you pull over on a narrow road when you have every right to proceed on the green?

    It seems to me the driver was just confused because she was expecting you to exercise your equal rights and didn't want or expect to squeeze by you.

    If drivers (or cyclists) can't count on behavior on the road to be uniform and predictable, the whole system falls apart. If you don't want to follow the rules of the road, or want to make up rules as you go, maybe the street isn't for you.
    + 1000. The Lady was waiting for you to go in front of her.
    You should have pulled completely off the road if you wanted to stop and wait for cars to pass.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
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  14. #14
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    It seems you only wanted to make things better, but from the way you've described it, your behavior contradicted your intentions.

    If you don't expect special treatment, only equal rights, why would you pull over on a narrow road when you have every right to proceed on the green?

    It seems to me the driver was just confused because she was expecting you to exercise your equal rights and didn't want or expect to squeeze by you.

    If drivers (or cyclists) can't count on behavior on the road to be uniform and predictable, the whole system falls apart. If you don't want to follow the rules of the road, or want to make up rules as you go, maybe the street isn't for you.
    Let's not get ridiculous. Being courteous does not in any way count as being unpredictable, nor would any rational person who witnessed the situation describe my behavior as contradicting my intentions. I certainly wasn't making up rules as I went. My actions were very, very easy to interpret. I've done this many times (pull as far right as possible without stopping and wave motorists by), on this same stretch of road, and no one ever became irate before; in fact, a lot of motorists clearly seemed to appreciate the courtesy. I see no contradiction between exercising my right to use a public road on a bicycle and being polite to other road users when possible.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  15. #15
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    obviously the motorist you encountered had had a very recent encounter with a militant VC cyclist who was less inclined than you to exchange courtesies and politenesses and she was still a bit shell shocked.

  16. #16
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike View Post
    IF bicycling really does take off in great numbers, we will see a lot more frustration from automobile drivers and I am sure we will see new laws put in place to restrict bicycle use on roads.
    If there are ever so many bicyclists that they seriously impede car traffic (which I seriously doubt), won't it be politically impossible to get them off the streets? Bicyclists vote and pay taxes, too, and in some places they're fairly well organized. I imagine that if bicyclists continue to get more and more numerous, there will be more regulation of bicycles, maybe even restricting them to bike lanes on busy arterials, but, because of greater demand, there will also be more road space dedicated to exclusive use by bicycles, i.e., more miles of bike lanes on busy arterials.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  17. #17
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that. - George Carlin

    Don't let it get to you. Tomorrow is another day. Ride on!
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  18. #18
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bragi View Post
    . . .
    My interpretation of this exchange is that this person has been harboring angry feelings towards bicyclists for a while now, and I merely gave her an opportunity to vent.. . . .
    I think you just met one of your fellow A&S posters.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bragi View Post
    Let's not get ridiculous. Being courteous does not in any way count as being unpredictable, nor would any rational person who witnessed the situation describe my behavior as contradicting my intentions. I certainly wasn't making up rules as I went. My actions were very, very easy to interpret. I've done this many times (pull as far right as possible without stopping and wave motorists by), on this same stretch of road, and no one ever became irate before; in fact, a lot of motorists clearly seemed to appreciate the courtesy. I see no contradiction between exercising my right to use a public road on a bicycle and being polite to other road users when possible.
    Despite your intentions, the motorist clearly didn't interpret your actions as courteous.

    From what you've written, and from over 40 years of riding in a city, I can understand how what some may intend as an act of courtesy, can be seen differently.

    I've had all kinds of things taken in the wrong way and you just have to accept that's going to happen and not let it bug you. There's nuts in cars. Just as there's nuts on bikes.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  20. #20
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randya View Post
    obviously the motorist you encountered had had a very recent encounter with a militant cyclist ... and
    she was still a bit shell shocked.
    Fixed it for you! (Happy now randya)

    Well, after coming across Zoo Bomber idiots, what do you expect from this poor driver?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvCf_...eature=related

    Here you can see the poor driver having to pull to the side of the road (time 1:51) to keep idiot Zoo Bombers from smashing head-on into her:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4AHj...eature=related

    Then she comes across a cyclist not behaving according to the standard rules of the road.
    Last edited by CB HI; 01-07-09 at 04:15 PM. Reason: To make randya happy, since randya seems way too upset

  21. #21
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bragi
    widespread delusional culture of entitlement among motorists that I've somehow refused to recognize?
    edited in bold; yes, i think there's the problem. and here's at least anecdotal evidence in this thread.....

    Quote Originally Posted by mike
    bicycles can be a nuisance when I am driving a car.
    For all the rest of you who HAVEN'T had a motorist peeved at a courteous gesture (like during an infamous "4 way stop standoff"), i'm perplexed why you haven't. Are you not being courteous on occasion or not riding much with motorists?
    Last edited by Bekologist; 01-05-09 at 09:44 AM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  22. #22
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    There is likely a confusion among motorists as they encounter more and more bicyclists on the streets, in the lane, moving around a city at a more sedate pace. I know there are more of us riding Seattle, and taking the lane on a lot of cross town arterials that are not well designed for multiple mode use coupled with high ADT.

    Speed differential presents much of the conflict between motorists and bicyclists- along with the 90 years of steering public streets away from all types of use to the near exclusive use of motor vehicles.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  23. #23
    holyrollin' FlatTop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randya View Post
    here is proof that Mike is Not Really a Cyclist
    Because he doesn't hold a mindlessly partisan opinion?

    My opinion is that sharing the road means cars and bikes. Both sharing, by which I mean with consideration for each other.

    Instead of raking people over the coals for not being extremists, maybe we ought to foster a little bit of empathy, both for drivers and riders.

  24. #24
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    Well, after coming across Zoo Bomber idiots, what do you expect from this poor driver?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvCf_...eature=related

    Here you can see the poor driver having to pull to the side of the road (time 1:51) to keep idiot Zoo Bombers from smashing head-on into her:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4AHj...eature=related

    Then she comes across a cyclist not behaving according to the standard rules of the road.
    fair warning - if you're going to edit my quote/misquote me, it is polite to say 'fixed it for you ' or something similar, otherwise you are committing a reportable infraction and I will report you to the moderators next time it happens.

    PS - zoobomb isn't from or in Seattle, so your whole premise is stupid BS, typical of VC hyperbole.

    PPS - it must suck to be you, as you appear to be someone who doesn't know how to have fun with your friends on bikes.
    Last edited by randya; 01-07-09 at 03:45 PM.

  25. #25
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlatTop View Post
    Because he doesn't hold a mindlessly partisan opinion?
    no, because coming across slow moving bicyclists when he is driving annoys him.

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