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Old 05-22-12, 06:30 AM   #1
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A coping strategy that seems to help me

I have had my issues in dealing with near misses, collisions, abuse, threats of violence, spitting, lit cigarette ends, the usual set of stuff that gets thrown at an urban cyclist.

Recently I realised that I needed a strategy that enabled me to stay sane and less angry about the situation and now I have devised a way to handle things which I try and follow.

1. Aim to keep my temper and stay respectful but assertive from the outset.,
2. Observe all safe measures in any pursuit - my priority is to ID the vehicle and remember details now.
3. Only if safe engage with driver, by all means placing myself in their path in order to ensure a discussion. Open Window at stopping place also good, but with care.
4. Keep paper and pen with me and accessible to document incident fresh.
5. Call out reg. and state offence loud and clear (EG KLY05 XYZ - observed running red light)
6. If they stop and are available for sensible communication invite their explanation or apology.

Often at 6. they may say sorry - if this is the case I am usually happy to leave it go and hopeful that they wil learn to be more careful next time.

7. At signs of aggression to myself stand my ground, do not provoke, look for witnesses and stay in public space.
8. If no admission of wrongdoing take notes on paper with all details and ID and any witness if possible to law enforcement - require them to log and process.
9. Pursue or allow to drop according to advice received, the time I have, how much it matters
10. If injury or damage inflicted seek legal redress, a whole new ball of wax!

I wonder what other folks may have evolved to and what they may think of the way I now handle things?

I still remember vividly the time I took issue with someone and they produce a tyre iron from under their drivers seat and proceeded to give chase (I had local knowledge and managed to give them the slip by heading down cycle only routes at speed, but it was not a pleasant experience, they fully intended to inflict grievous bodily harm on me!).
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Old 05-22-12, 09:01 PM   #2
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I like it. I think I wouldn't put a lot of stock in the notion of 'educating' idiots and I wouldn't expect a lot of apologies or regret from them. Of course you'll occasionally get, 'my bad....sorry' from people. But these people aren't idiots. They're normal folks who made a mistake and are willing to acknowledge it.

My own definition of a 'jack-ass', by the way, is someone who is wrong and who is bound and determined to stay that way. Bicyclists run into them all the time, of course. And the worst of them will run you over. I don't think it's a good idea to confront them. I won't deny your right to do so, but please remember that doing so is not 'playing the odds' very well. We all need to calculate these odds on a case-by-case basis. And we need to be careful when doing so since our very lives are on the line.

I'm more impressed by your determination to document stupid behavior. Having pen and paper ready, for instance.

And I also agree with the notion of legal redress. I've instructed my wife (and I hope she's taken it seriously) to 'take 'em for everything they've got' if some jerk ever kills me because he was too selfish to make a bit of effort to avoid it. With my luck, he'll have nothing. But even if he doesn't have, say, 3 million bucks he can darn well owe 3 million bucks. And maybe I'll win the lottery, so to speak, and it'll be someone who actually does have some wealth. Then my wife and kids would be taken care of. I'm not really ready to die for that, but it would be better than dying and leaving them with nothing but my somewhat-more-than-scanty-but-not-very-impressive insurance.
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