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  1. #1
    Guy with bike
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    I was riding home today on Monona Drive in Madison. The section I was on has a 30mph speed limit. I was going between 20 and 25. It's a four lane road and I was in right lane between center and the right tire tread. I was coming up to an intersection when I see a car pulling up to the light on the street that I'm about to cross. They're on my right hundred or so feet up (wild estimation). They were making a right turn. I had a green light. They pulled out in front of me kinda suddenly. I didn't want to swerve into the left lane, so I hit the brakes. I still got close enough to their car to put my foot out to prevent me from hitting it. They turned off immediately into the closest driveway. So did I. We both stop.

    There is a couple in the car and the woman driving. They look like they're about 60 or so. I knock on the passenger side (I figured I might intimidate the woman too much). The guys rolls down the window and I ask the woman, "Didn't you see me coming?" Yes, she did. But I was riding on the street improperly, according to them. I tried to explain that I was riding properly, and that if I was a car I would've probably smashed into them. Things started heating up, the guy gets out of the car. I'm not really scared, because I'm 6'2" and 215lbs, and he's retired, but it seemed confrontational when he got out of the car. He was yelling at me that I should've slowed for them, that I was riding wrong, etc. I remember him saying something about their turn signal (which I couldn't see because I'm coming from the left side of their car and they're turning right). He also said that I was going too fast, then caught his mistake and said that I should have been watching for them better. I said, "No, you were turning right. You have to yield to oncoming traffic. That's how turning right works." He threatened to call the cops to have them throw me in jail, to which I replied, "For what? Following the rules of the road?"

    About this time a person comes out of the house, another older woman they were picking up. They're just telling me to leave. I say I will but that I wasn't doing anything wrong. I apologize to the woman who came out of the house for ruining their good time (I was really sincere about this... a confrontation with a stranger isn't a fun way to start off some social interaction with your friends, I know this) and get on my bike and ride away.

    So... should I have called the cops at all? When they were in the driveway, before I knocked on their windshield, I thought about calling the cops then. I figured I would try talking to them, because I think just automatically calling the police for things like this is silly. Should I have just called the cops as soon as the guy suggested it?

    I feel like I could've been way calmer about this. I don't think that I should've just ridden on and shaken it off. I had a good opportunity to talk to these people who just did something wrong. I wish I had some brochure or something I could've just given them: "Cars, Bikes, and the rules of the road" or something like that.

    I'm realizing now that the reason they pulled out was probably because they thought I was going way slower than I was. Since they were turning into the first driveway on their right, if I had been going slowly they would've already been in the driveway by the time I passed them.

  2. #2
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    It sounds like you handled the situation well. I don't know if I could have been as calm as you were, although I would have tried. Sometimes I avoid confrontations with motorists because I fear my own temper. On the other hand, I also think that confrontation rarely persuades anyone, so I wonder if it is largely a waste of time. I will be reading this thread with interest, as this is an issue I have not fully decided on.

  3. #3
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    Did you have a front light or reflector? Were you wearing light colored clothing? To the old coot you probably blended into the background and weren't noticable. Not an excuse, but it happens.

    When these things happen I find it best to just ride on. If you make contact and they begin getting uppity, no amount of jawing is gonna change things.

  4. #4
    Guy with bike
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    It sounds like you handled the situation well. I don't know if I could have been as calm as you were, although I would have tried. Sometimes I avoid confrontations with motorists because I fear my own temper. On the other hand, I also think that confrontation rarely persuades anyone, so I wonder if it is largely a waste of time. I will be reading this thread with interest, as this is an issue I have not fully decided on.
    I agree that confrontation rarely persuades anyone. I'm sure I didn't persuade these people. That's kinda why I wish I could've just given them some literature. I could've said "You did something dangerous and wrong, and if you read this you can find out why." This guy seemed like the type who would've just thrown it at me, but either way I think that the literature approach has a better chance of succeeding in educating them than any confrontation could, no matter how nicely you try to interact.

  5. #5
    Guy with bike
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    Quote Originally Posted by dobber
    Did you have a front light or reflector? Were you wearing light colored clothing? To the old coot you probably blended into the background and weren't noticable. Not an excuse, but it happens.
    I have a front light but I didn't have it on because it was light out and I didn't think about it. I should've had it on, though. I think I should probably have it on whenever I ride on a busy street like that. I also had on darkish clothing (red/blue shirt, black pants). Normally I wear a white jacket but it was warm out today so I didn't. I think you're probably right, they didn't notice me. I know it's not an excuse, but I really should be more conscious of those things.
    When these things happen I find it best to just ride on. If you make contact and they begin getting uppity, no amount of jawing is gonna change things.
    It's true, jawing ain't gonna change it. That's why I'm thinking the literature based response might work better, or have a better chance than the jawing.

  6. #6
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thechrisproject

    It's true, jawing ain't gonna change it. That's why I'm thinking the literature based response might work better, or have a better chance than the jawing.
    Have had confontations with folks when I was doing everything right and then I handed them some literature (used to carry it in my panniers). Still didn't do any good... they don't read it and insist that you were in the wrong.

    I think part of that comes from them being shaken up that they almost hit you. They want plausible deniability: "I didn't see you," "it was dark," "you were going too fast," "bikes belong on sidewalks," etc.

    You caught them in their effort to avoid guilt when the tried to change the story...

  7. #7
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Calling the police would pretty much be a waste of time. The best you could hope for would be the officer to issue a citation for an illegal turn. Chances are he wouldn't even do that since there was no crash and he didn't witness the violation.

    You made your point. Best to ride on and forget about them.

  8. #8
    Senior Member geeklpc1985's Avatar
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    I don't take Monona Drive anymore I was going down the hill going about 40ish, the one going thought South Towne Dr. when some hit rod pull out almost hit the guy thank you for v-brakes. I hit the side streets now.

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  9. #9
    EmperorNorton II norton's Avatar
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    I'm a retired 35 year transit bus driver.....During the last 15 years of my career my daily route took me back-&-forth along an increasingly overburdened 2-lane corridor road between Northampton & Amherst....30 years ago, this road passed through bucolic farmland....Negligible cross traffic....beautiful scenery.........Now....a Walmart mall..J C Penney et al mall..3 minor-league strip-malls.......Coming....Home Depot..Lowes....Many, many curb-cuts....cross-traffic out the wazoo.....


    Now, bus drivers have a good healthy fear of running into things....19 tons is a real good battering ram...so most of the time we keep a safe following distance....leading to....you guessed it....driver's pulling out right in front of us......If I only had a nickel.....


    You learn to smell these people coming.....When it happened, I would say to my co-pilot passenger sitting sideways next to the door........"I'll bet you a buck they'll drive real slow, turn off in less than a 1/4 of a mile......&.....be an old crock..."

    I did NOT lose money!


    These people grew up in a different era....drive only once in a while....are scared when they do....feel like the world has gone to hell (I know this because that's the way I feel... ).....& if something happens....It's not their fault!....After all, it's the world that's gone to hell....not them....


    So.....Your Tale of Woe brought back happy memories.....

  10. #10
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    I don't think interactions with drivers ever goes well. In their minds, they're right, you're in the wrong. F*** 'em.

  11. #11
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    Giving them as much benefit of the doubt as possible, it could be that they either didn't see you or just made a bad decision. However, I would blame them for needing to shift the blame onto you instead. Maybe the husband felt he needed to protect his wife, the driver, from liability, or to reassure her emotionally that it wasn't her fault.

    Or maybe they really did think you were in the wrong. To me, that would be the most discouraging of all.
    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?!
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  12. #12
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    I think most motorists that are not cyclists don't get it. It's doubtful much will change their mind, they don't care. I think under the circumstances you did about as well as possible.

    Have you ever walked a half block away from a cyclist dressed like you with a similar background to see what it looks like. In many situations the cyclist just blends into the background. Itís scary how much sometimes. Some cars and motorcycles have been made with lights that are on all the time. I believe that research has proven this is safer. Maybe a light would help.

  13. #13
    cab horn
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    Occupants of car leave car, your key meets car sidepanel, sidepanel loses.

  14. #14
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    Occupants of car leave car, your key meets car sidepanel, sidepanel loses.
    That's mature.

  15. #15
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Now I understand the following: On a club sprint, I got a big jump on the group, and no one chose to follow. I was cranking along over 30 mph watching a guy in the uncoming traffic lane with his left turn signal on. The group was about 100 yards behind me - a rather large group. The guy suddenly turns in front of me, and I had to use all the braking and skill I could muster to miss him by inches. He pulled into a driveway, and as he got out of the car, I was using every expletitve I could get out of my breathless, adrenalin infused body. Now the group was approaching, and the leader of the group said to me, "It's not worth it." You know.... he was right!
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

  16. #16
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    I started getting cut off less when I lowered my gearing.
    The theory was, if I'm cranking in a large gear, it "looks" like I'm going slower than I actually am.
    If I'm spinning away at 90rpm constantly, taking up a lane on the road, all that movement gives the impression I'm going faster than I actually am. Seems to work for me most of the time. Plus the two rear blinkers of 22 LED's on the back plus 27 watts of light up front helps.

  17. #17
    Senior Member fholt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    Occupants of car leave car, your key meets car sidepanel, sidepanel loses.
    Well, if we cyclists were jerks. . . . . and the bikes had keys.
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  18. #18
    no particular place to go madbadger4's Avatar
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    I'd say that you handled this situation very well ......

    You know, as "bike friendly" as Madison is, there are still many drivers out there who don't get it ("share the road"); it's too bad that you didn't have one of those white w/green lettering bumper stickers that are free at the Madison LBS's which say "Share the Road with Bicycles" (I think that WI DOT puts them out), as a "reminder".

    That being said, I can't wait to move back to Madison (live in Rockford, IL now); my city is VERY bike "un-friendly".


    msm

  19. #19
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Keying a car is only escalationist. Does anyone honestly think a confrontation with a driver is going to educate the driver about cyclists rights? I sure don't, every time I talk with drivers it the "they're right, you're wrong" argument. Most drivers think bikes are impedements to their forward progress.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Crazy Cyclist's Avatar
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    I would say that about 50% of the people driving today shouldn't even be allowed on the roads, they shouldn't even be licenced to drive a shopping cart. let alone a vehicle. I would like to see manadatory testing for drivers at age 65 and it needs to be done every 2 years or no licence renewal.

  21. #21
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crazy Cyclist
    I would say that about 50% of the people driving today shouldn't even be allowed on the roads, they shouldn't even be licenced to drive a shopping cart. let alone a vehicle. I would like to see manadatory testing for drivers at age 65 and it needs to be done every 2 years or no licence renewal.
    And what rationale did you use to come up with the arbitrary age of 65?
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Crazy Cyclist's Avatar
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    skydive69, 65 is the age for retirement, and as people grow older their sight and hearing go, so I think at 65 people should be retested, now I am not saying that everyone over 65 shouldn't be able to drive becuase I am sure there are some 65 + drivers who are good drivers still, just like there are good and bad drivers at any age.

  23. #23
    when come back, bring pie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crazy Cyclist
    I would say that about 50% of the people driving today shouldn't even be allowed on the roads, they shouldn't even be licenced to drive a shopping cart. let alone a vehicle. I would like to see manadatory testing for drivers at age 65 and it needs to be done every 2 years or no licence renewal.
    Heck, I wouldn't mind if everyone had to be tested every two years or no licence renewal. Furthermore, I think there should be required "driver's ed renewal" classes every few years. Maybe people would have a little more sense. Or maybe not.

  24. #24
    Ha Ha! Boss. SpokesInMyPoop's Avatar
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    it's funny how all of you say confrontations don't work.

    I guess for me, it might be a bit different, because there isn't much that's very intimidating about my appearance (being 5'5" and a female, and kind of asian looking). I was riding down on a road to work that runs paralell with the railroad. This woman in a stationwagon passes me, then shortly thereafter, she takes a right turn without checking her mirrors. She parks in the 7-11 parking lot, and I pull up next to her and tell her "you know, you almost hit me", and you know what? She actually apologized.

    Okay, if I end it here, it seems like it'd be too open ended for you. I have reflectors (front, back, wheels, and pedals), and I have lights (front and rear blinkie, and front high beam). Not to mention, some of my clothing is reflective. I wear a black backpack with Gir (from invader zim, I love him!) hanging off of the loop *he's green*.

    She should've at least seen me in her rear view mirror, had she not noticed that she passed a cyclist in the bike lane. I just told her to pay a little more attention, and to be more careful. Sometimes drivers mess up. I know I have when I used to drive. Sometimes cyclists mess up. It's pretty even both ways, the only tragic thing about it is, regardless of who is wrong, when the 2 run into eachother, the cyclists' life is more in jeopardy than that of the driver.

    So confrontations may not work a majority of the time, but sometimes it does. Have the attitude of a christian trying to convert people into christianity, 'cept... uhh... don't try to scare them. Have a friendlier tone, or just non emotional.

    And Chris, in your case, I would've just said "You could've killed me when I had the right of way" or maybe spout something off about involuntary (or in her case, it would've been voluntary) manslaughter, and peddled off. Trying to prove your point is feeble when people have that kind of mentality, but at least you brought it to their attention, and they may think twice about doing that same thing to another cyclist

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crazy Cyclist
    I would say that about 50% of the people driving today shouldn't even be allowed on the roads, they shouldn't even be licenced to drive a shopping cart. let alone a vehicle. I would like to see manadatory testing for drivers at age 65 and it needs to be done every 2 years or no licence renewal.
    I agree that driving licensing shold be much, much more rigorous, considering all the damage cars can (and do) do. But I don't think it's the old people that are generally the problem. All in all, if I could wave a magic wand and make all the drivers behave as if they were 65-75 years old, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

    It's the hurried and impatient that are the greatest threats. Olds tend to be neither.

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