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Old 10-01-13, 02:06 PM   #1
ryanmm
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How to deal with an angry homeowner who doesn't like that I ride by his house?

Had my second incident with this guy today, the only real problem I've had with anyone while biking. There's a park I go to 2-3 times a month, and do 2-5 loops around it. Part of a longer daily ride.
The path around the park is signed as a bike/pedestrian path, except for the eastern side which is mostly sidewalk. The path on that side that isn't sidewalk tends to have a lot of foot traffic,
so on that side I use the adjacent streets. And this guy _really_ doesn't like it...today he yelled at me, cursed at me, waved a metal rod/wooden stick/something at me, and called the cops. Mainly he seems
upset that his dogs bark at me. Cops talked to him and me separately, cop said I was in the right but that he recommends I use the path if at all possible. Told me to call again if it happened again, and that
the other guy thinks I'm harassing him and wants to get a restraining order. First time this happened, guy was somewhat less angry and there was no waving of anything at me, and no cursing.

What would you do in this situation? Stop going there entirely? Go but use the path? Ride on the street anyway? Something else? I really don't want to knuckle under, but I also really don't want to be attacked
or have my day ruined again.

Last edited by ryanmm; 10-01-13 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 10-01-13, 02:14 PM   #2
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I wonder if he yells at any cyclist that rides by. He might be a senile old guy who hates everything. Something for us to look forward to

I am usually non-confrontational but if you are not breaking the law or trespassing, then ride on and drive him crazy! Better yet, get a dog whistle and blow start blowing it well before you get to his house.
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Old 10-01-13, 02:26 PM   #3
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My first instict would be to ride by there a lot, but if he is nutso enough to file for a restraining order, and for some reason a judge agrees, thats not something you want on your record. Maybe just avoid him if possible is the best policy.

"get off my lawn clown"
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Old 10-01-13, 02:33 PM   #4
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I've got a real sensitive spot for people being bullies so knuckling under just isn't in my nature. However an angry confrontation isn't usually a good idea either. How about a middle choice: Next time you ride by and he's acting like a fool, calmly stop, offer a big cheesy smile, and politely ask him if there's a problem. Sometimes people are like barking dogs...they don't really know why they're barking and if you talk to them they stop. At the very least you'll get a sense of his potential for violence in the future and can decide to change your route or keep annoying the crap out of him.
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Old 10-01-13, 02:34 PM   #5
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I really doubt if the guy can get a restraining order on you. There's no harassment as you are legally riding. You're not stalking either. Let the old codger(?) waste his time filing with the municipality / court.

At the end of the day - it's the dude crap bag & crazy behavior. Not yours, but crazy likes to drag people into their world(s). Live your life/ride your bike as stated by the cops.
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Old 10-01-13, 02:37 PM   #6
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How's the saying go? "You can't fight crazy?"
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Old 10-01-13, 02:51 PM   #7
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Hmmm
Loose screw-avoid him
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Old 10-01-13, 02:57 PM   #8
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Someone that crazy, I'd avoid if possible. Guy is clearly unglued and not walking on the same plane.
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Old 10-01-13, 03:09 PM   #9
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Get a buddy to ride past a few times and see what he does... If he call the cops on him too then the two of you can at least get a paper trail that he is harassing cyclists...
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Old 10-01-13, 03:55 PM   #10
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And even if you can document that he is harassing cyclists, then what? He's in his own yard. The best you could hope for is that he'd have no chance at a restraining order. I guess then you could ride by and ignore his ranting without fear of legal recourse. Seems like its best to avoid him, like we did back in the day with all the neighborhood nut jobs. Keeps life more peaceful.
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Old 10-01-13, 04:09 PM   #11
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I bet dollars to donuts this complaining/crazy dude has a prior record. Again, best not to get swept into the world of crazy. Just imagine what his next door neighbors have to put up with.
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Old 10-01-13, 04:36 PM   #12
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Thanks for the replies everyone. Think I'm gonna use that path as the officer suggested, walk the bike if necessary around the busier section. Hopefully things will de-escalate. If not I will get the cops involved...I'm not gonna stop going to that park completely.
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Old 10-01-13, 05:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
Get a buddy to ride past a few times and see what he does... If he call the cops on him too then the two of you can at least get a paper trail that he is harassing cyclists...
What should/could the OP do with this "paper trail"?
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Old 10-01-13, 06:52 PM   #14
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You might want to check the criminal code in your state. Here in Pa you could call the police and ask them to charge him under the Harassment code. If the police officer refuses to do so you could go to the local District Justice and file it.

Here in PA under the Harassment code.
(3) engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts which serve no legitimate purpose;
(4) communicates to or about such other person any lewd, lascivious, threatening or obscene words, language, drawings or caricatures;

If it is legal to ride on a sidewalk in your area then what you are doing is perfectly legal.
In all probability the sidewalk is a public area. Even when the homeowner must maintain a sidewalk it is considered a public area and the home owner has little, if any, say in who uses it.

You might want to consider filming such incidents for a legal response to the man.
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Old 10-01-13, 06:57 PM   #15
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I would invite all my friends to go for a ride.
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Old 10-01-13, 07:07 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanmm View Post
Had my second incident with this guy today, the only real problem I've had with anyone while biking. There's a park I go to 2-3 times a month, and do 2-5 loops around it. Part of a longer daily ride.
The path around the park is signed as a bike/pedestrian path, except for the eastern side which is mostly sidewalk. The path on that side that isn't sidewalk tends to have a lot of foot traffic,
so on that side I use the adjacent streets. And this guy _really_ doesn't like it...today he yelled at me, cursed at me, waved a metal rod/wooden stick/something at me, and called the cops. Mainly he seems
upset that his dogs bark at me. Cops talked to him and me separately, cop said I was in the right but that he recommends I use the path if at all possible. Told me to call again if it happened again, and that
the other guy thinks I'm harassing him and wants to get a restraining order. First time this happened, guy was somewhat less angry and there was no waving of anything at me, and no cursing.

What would you do in this situation? Stop going there entirely? Go but use the path? Ride on the street anyway? Something else? I really don't want to knuckle under, but I also really don't want to be attacked
or have my day ruined again.
So when you say the adjacent streets, are you talking about a public road?
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Old 10-01-13, 07:11 PM   #17
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always give him a nice hello and or a wave no matter what he does, this will freak him out, he's trying to piss you off and if you don't play by the rules he expects all to play by he may eventually cave in.
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Old 10-01-13, 07:18 PM   #18
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I think I'd probably keep riding by responsibly and just ignore the guy. I wouldn't intentionally escalate or try to prove a point, but I wouldn't let him destroy my route either. Hopefully he was just having a bad day.
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Old 10-01-13, 07:20 PM   #19
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So when you say the adjacent streets, are you talking about a public road?
Yes public streets.
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Old 10-01-13, 07:27 PM   #20
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Then just keep riding your bike. Smile and wave when you go by.
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Old 10-01-13, 07:29 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanmm View Post
Had my second incident with this guy today, the only real problem I've had with anyone while biking. There's a park I go to 2-3 times a month, and do 2-5 loops around it. Part of a longer daily ride.
The path around the park is signed as a bike/pedestrian path, except for the eastern side which is mostly sidewalk. The path on that side that isn't sidewalk tends to have a lot of foot traffic,
so on that side I use the adjacent streets. And this guy _really_ doesn't like it...today he yelled at me, cursed at me, waved a metal rod/wooden stick/something at me, and called the cops. Mainly he seems
upset that his dogs bark at me. Cops talked to him and me separately, cop said I was in the right but that he recommends I use the path if at all possible. Told me to call again if it happened again, and that
the other guy thinks I'm harassing him and wants to get a restraining order. First time this happened, guy was somewhat less angry and there was no waving of anything at me, and no cursing.

What would you do in this situation? Stop going there entirely? Go but use the path? Ride on the street anyway? Something else? I really don't want to knuckle under, but I also really don't want to be attacked
or have my day ruined again.
Don't knuckle under to this jerk. He sounds like the neighborhood bully. I wonder if his dogs bark at motorists'. Maybe the dogs think cyclists' are an easy target.
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Old 10-01-13, 07:42 PM   #22
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Oh, and keep a water bottle or frame pump handy in case one of his dogs gets out.
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Old 10-01-13, 08:10 PM   #23
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I'd go down the alternate path. If he is crazy enough to call the cops and threaten a restraining order he is crazy enough to lay out some tacks or nails. Most judges won't grant a restraining order without "good" cause. IF battered women of have trouble proving cause this guy is going to have a hell of a time. Nevertheless, I'd avoid him.
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Old 10-01-13, 08:31 PM   #24
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I'm not a cop or lawyer, so this is just IMHO, take it for what it's worth:

I wouldn't wave or say "hello" as it could be interpreted as antagonizing him. Don't make extra passes just to irritate him either. Ride the path if you don't mind and would like to avoid the confrontation, otherwise just ignore him (unless he becomes a threat) and stay civil and legal. If he ever makes actual threats of violence or threatens you physically (not just shaking his stick from the porch) an officer can inform him of the laws regarding assault. Personally, I'd take the path of least resistance, so to speak.

I can't imagine any court handing out a restraining order for a cyclist riding in a legal manner on a public street, unless this guy could prove harassment, which isn't easy.

Last edited by Myosmith; 10-05-13 at 05:48 AM.
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Old 10-01-13, 08:44 PM   #25
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I show no quarter to these types of bullies. Public roadway is just that... public. No one, including an LEO, is owed an explanation for your use of roadway.
Ride often and freely on your intended route, and let this bung-hole stew in his own hatred.
In the meantime, educate yourself about the local animal control laws, carry a camera, and be able to trump his stupidity.
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