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  1. #1
    vol
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    Drivers who deliberately give a cyclist a scare with the horn

    The other day I was riding on the street, a car suddenly gave a loud honk right on my left slightly behind me, then squeezed past me, apparently not happy that I was taking the lane. Fortunately I was calm and healthy, but I can imagine another person could have been given a start and fall from the bike (I've read about such real accidents), or could suffer a heart attack. Is there a law that addresses this?
    Last edited by vol; 11-01-12 at 07:40 PM.

  2. #2
    "Per Ardua ad Surly" nelson249's Avatar
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    Depends on the jurisdiction. Might be worth a harassment or nuisance charge. Hard to prove without video evidence even if the cops take it seriously.
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    Senior Member mtbikerinpa's Avatar
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    X2. Document what you can remember and it might happen again. If it does, you have 2 or more incidents to report. Police like details.
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    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Generally it's not legal to use a horn except when warning of a hazard or an immediate threat (such as honking at someone who is pulling out into your path).

    It is probably the least enforced law on the books. I have no idea how widespread it is but I had the feeling it was pretty widespread.
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    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    Anyone who can't hold their line when startled, has no business riding in the street on a big kid bike. Seriously, who worries about this nonsense?

  6. #6
    vol
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebel1916 View Post
    Anyone who can't hold their line when startled, has no business riding in the street on a big kid bike. Seriously, who worries about this nonsense?
    It is not just about riding a bike. Whatever you are doing, if someone sneaks behind you and gives you a start, how would you feel?

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    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    I'm a man. I used to be a boy. Sneaking up on people and startling them was part of the program for many years. It helps teach important skills. Like situational awareness, keeping cool in startling situations and not being a nancy.

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    Family, Health, Cycling Lanceoldstrong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebel1916 View Post
    I'm a man. I used to be a boy. Sneaking up on people and startling them was part of the program for many years. It helps teach important skills. Like situational awareness, keeping cool in startling situations and not being a nancy.
    Wisdom here. I like to say I'm a man, not a gerbil.
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    Senior Member mtbikerinpa's Avatar
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    There is a diff between being a Nancy and wanting people to be considerate.
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    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    The other day I was riding on the street, a car suddenly gave a loud honk right on my left slightly behind me, then squeezed past me, apparently not happy that I was taking the lane. Fortunately I was calm and healthy, but I can imagine another person could have been given a start and fall from the bike (I've read about such real accidents), or could suffer a heart attack. Is there a law that addresses this?
    There is no law that would apply. Even trying to file a harassment charge would be 'iffy', even if you caught it on video. In my county, their excuse, regardless of having it on video is, they actually had to see it happen(which of course they can't). It just translates to, they could care less.

    I used to be bothered a motorist honking at me. Until I had become so use to it, that it no longer phases me. Most recently, a local transit bus was behind me on a two-lane blacktop. The bus driver pretty much sat on his horn, but I didn't stop 'taking the lane'. I didn't let the bus driver pass me, until the went from two lanes, to four. He only passed me because of an upcoming bus stop. The moron wasted gas. Because, just as soon as he stopped at the bus stop, I passed him again. The route he was on, would take him on to another two-lane blacktop, so he couldn't pass me again. I made a left a few blocks later.

    The point is this. You have just as much of a right to 'take the lane', as they do to honk at you. Just know that motorists' will honk at you. Learn to expect it.
    Last edited by Chris516; 11-01-12 at 08:09 PM.

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    I think some of them are trying to be considerate. Warning me that they are about to pass.
    If nothing else thinking this way keeps my blood pressure lower.
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    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbikerinpa View Post
    There is a diff between being a Nancy and wanting people to be considerate.
    He didn't say he wanted people to be considerate, he said he was worried about riders being so startled they fell down or had a heart attack. I said that people, who can be so startled by a horn, on the road, should avoid the road. I'm gonna stand by that.

  13. #13
    vol
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    What I'm talking about is not sitting on the horn. It's a very sudden very loud honk right next to you that gives you a start. I am never bothered by constant honking, even in this case I was fine, as I said. But in a different scenario, if on your right side there is a 18 wheel truck passing by, this start from your left (while squeezing past you) could cause you to instinctively moving to the right and be hit by the truck.

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    The thing is, our criminal justice system for various reasons is the most overburdened in the world. If we start bringing legal charges against people for being obnoxious morons, we as taxpayers couldn't handle the additional costs. There are just way too many of them.

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    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    It is not just about riding a bike. Whatever you are doing, if someone sneaks behind you and gives you a start, how would you feel?
    Absolutely!! It would definitely be scary!

  16. #16
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
    The thing is, our criminal justice system for various reasons is the most overburdened in the world. If we start bringing legal charges against people for being obnoxious morons, we as taxpayers couldn't handle the additional costs. There are just way too many of them.
    Exactly. The U.S. is the most litigious nation on earth.

  17. #17
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    Exactly. The U.S. is the most litigious nation on earth.
    Heck some cyclists want to call down the law because they might get startled by a car horn. I imagine some motorists might want to call down the law because they (thought they) saw a cyclist doing something that startled them and requiring them to blow their horn to avoid an accident.

  18. #18
    Senior Member mtbikerinpa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    There is no law that would apply. Even trying to file a harassment charge would be 'iffy', even if you caught it on video. In my county, their excuse, regardless of having it on video is, they actually had to see it happen(which of course they can't). It just translates to, they could care less.

    I used to be bothered a motorist honking at me. Until I had become so use to it, that it no longer phases me. Most recently, a local transit bus was behind me on a two-lane blacktop. The bus driver pretty much sat on his horn, but I didn't stop 'taking the lane'. I didn't let the bus driver pass me, until the went from two lanes, to four. He only passed me because of an upcoming bus stop. The moron wasted gas. Because, just as soon as he stopped at the bus stop, I passed him again. The route he was on, would take him on to another two-lane blacktop, so he couldn't pass me again. I made a left a few blocks later.

    The point is this. You have just as much of a right to 'take the lane', as they do to honk at you. Just know that motorists' will honk at you. Learn to expect it.


    That has not been the experience in PA. The few that have honked have not been attempts to be courteous and have been liable to answer for it according to the codes. That said, I have not chosen to pursue many on it because it is not the dogs that bark that concern...
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  19. #19
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    From a thread I started. I have done this before.

    I know I will get negative feed back on this. I usually let this stuff go, but was in a feisty mood.


    Rode a fast 26 miles and was headed home in rush hour traffic through my smaller 'burb. Was cruising up main road through town, St Rt 3 in Westerville. We have all had the goofy person shout or blow their horn as they pass us to put a scare into our ride.

    Well a teenage boy and his mom passed me and this happened, teenager shouted at me and made me jump even though we as riders expect this to happen, it stills shocks us. Just their luck that they were caught up in traffic just a couple block up and not expecting me to ride by.

    I did nothing but smack the back window of the car sitting and waiting for the light to change. Was juvenile, but I did get a kick out doing this. Made them both jump in their seats. Mom did not look to happy.
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  20. #20
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbikerinpa View Post
    That has not been the experience in PA. The few that have honked have not been attempts to be courteous and have been liable to answer for it according to the codes.
    If the driver claims that he was being careful by alerting the cyclist of his presence because the cyclist "looked" like he was unaware or swerving - what code would the driver have to answer to?

  21. #21
    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    If the driver claims that he was being careful by alerting the cyclist of his presence because the cyclist "looked" like he was unaware or swerving - what code would the driver have to answer to?
    It's an imaginary code. Followed by a few whiners and wimps.

  22. #22
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebel1916 View Post
    Anyone who can't hold their line when startled, has no business riding in the street on a big kid bike. Seriously, who worries about this nonsense?


    It's bad enough when a motorist's dog barks right next to me, let alone having the motorist blast their horn. Though not much, I still flinch at times, and swerve a few inches to a foot depending how badly I was caught off guard.

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    Monday I had roughly what happened to the OP. Two lane each way, me in left lane, van holding down on horn passing me in right lane. Called the West Richland police and the officer I talked to said they would have to witness it to be able to do anything. AND, excessive honking is not illegal.
    I guess it is HTFU time.

  24. #24
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akrejci View Post
    Monday I had roughly what happened to the OP. Two lane each way, me in left lane, van holding down on horn passing me in right lane. Called the West Richland police and the officer I talked to said they would have to witness it to be able to do anything. AND, excessive honking is not illegal.
    I guess it is HTFU time.
    Not so much, harden to it. Just that, once you get used to it, it gets' old. I even started wondering, if all the people that honked, could join together, and play some kind of tune, with their car horns.

  25. #25
    MUP World Champ adamhenry's Avatar
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    Unnecessary use of the horn is illegal in CA.

    CVC 27001. (a) The driver of a motor vehicle when reasonably necessary to insure safe operation shall give audible warning with his horn.

    (b) The horn shall not otherwise be used, except as a theft alarm system which operates as specified in Article 13 (commencing with Section 28085) of this chapter.

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