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  1. #1
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    Aggressive Drivers

    I commute every day and log a lot of miles. Mostly, I am impressed by the generosity and care of Seattle drivers. However, I've also had some really frightening experiences caused by raging nutcases - sometimes threatening my life. (and oddly they all seem to be near the same intersection - 8th and Market).

    A while back, a driver was using the bike lane to pass other cars at the red light. That is, until I was in his way and refused to give up the bike lane for his car. He cursed at me and shouted a threat to run me off the road. And now today, I had a similar encounter with a guy who actually almost did cause me to crash. I had the presence of mind to take his license number and inform him I wasn't going to fight him, I was going to call the police. He sped off. I didn't call the police.

    My question - Should I report these guys? On one hand, it happens roughly 3 times a year as much as I ride, and I don't want to be the annoying, frequent-caller to the non-emergency police line. On the other hand, someone should tell these nuts that they should calm down a little. (or a lot).

  2. #2
    Cycle Dallas MMACH 5's Avatar
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    One of the quickest ways to defuse a situation like that is to hold your phone up and snap a picture of their license plate. You do have to be kind of obvious about the fact that you're taking a picture. Once their anonymity is gone, they tend to bug out.
    That's gonna leave a mark.

  3. #3
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    I don't think 3 times a year would be frequent or annoying. Of course there's a balance, but if someone's not taking their driving privileges seriously I don't see why we shouldn't call them in.

    I get honked/yelled at probably weekly and ignore it, but if people purposely harass me, do something illegal, or put me in a genuinely dangerous situation I'll get the # and report it. That's my $0.02
    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    You guys are paranoid freaks.

  4. #4
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Yep, call it in!

    "Retirement is the best job I ever had!" Me, 2009


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  5. #5
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    I have mixed feelings about reporting specific cases, and generally find the cops don't want to be bothered if there's no injury. Here in NY they won't issue any kind of traffic citation for anything they don't see with heir own eyes.

    OTOH- I've had some success reporting specific locations where there are problems. In one case cars weren't stopping or yielding to pedestrians in a crosswalk, that was partly hidden behind a bend in the road. I reported the hazard, and reminded the police that this crosswalk was where a park path crosses the road, and children were at risk. They were cooperative and stationed an officer to observe, and issue warnings.

    Long term the only solution will be a stop sign, but at least they care.

    So my advice, don't go to file a complaint, but do go to report a dangerous situation.
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  6. #6
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    Go pro camera or similar. Report to police. A verbal threat is considered assault (MA). Repeat incidences will create a paper trail.

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    Thanks. All good advice. I'll start keeping my phone in an accessible pocket. And as for sympathetic cops, I'm not sure how Seattle ranks. We also have our share of unsafe cyclists here giving the rest of us a bad rep. Meanwhile, it probably doesn't hurt to call the non-emergency number and make an inquiry!

  8. #8
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    OK, I'll play.... call it in, and follow it up with a written copy. Also, send copies to your alderman, and mayor. It's surprising what happens when questions get asked. Often, a simple visit or phone call from the local constabulary is all it takes .... Doing nothing gets nothing as a result.

    "Retirement is the best job I ever had!" Me, 2009


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  9. #9
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    there are only a few of these guys. Some of them will settle down if confronted by police. There have been a number of cases where the same guy was causing enough problems on a particular road that people put things together and got the situation resolved. Not sure if the police will do that, but they should

  10. #10
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    If you are seriously threatened... call it in... perhaps the driver has been drinking... the cops seem to like that kind of info.

    If it is a bad corner... repeat problems... call that in too as they can post someone for a bit.

  11. #11
    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    In my area, you can't just call a report in, cops make you come to the station to write a written report. Which I do on occasion if there's been a particularly troubling incident. Both the ones cited by the OP would qualify.

    If there's been no contact, no damage or injury, cops are not too motivated to follow up, but there will be a record attached to a registered vehicle.

    When there is contact, damage, or injury, the very few times it has happened, cops actually did follow through.

    Motorists usually have to try to kill me twice before I get angry enough to report them. Unless harm is done, I give most motorists the benefit of the doubt... the first time. After that, they are an active threat who I assume intended me harm or are a danger to others.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  12. #12
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeattleRed View Post
    I commute every day and log a lot of miles. Mostly, I am impressed by the generosity and care of Seattle drivers. However, I've also had some really frightening experiences caused by raging nutcases - sometimes threatening my life. (and oddly they all seem to be near the same intersection - 8th and Market).

    A while back, a driver was using the bike lane to pass other cars at the red light. That is, until I was in his way and refused to give up the bike lane for his car. He cursed at me and shouted a threat to run me off the road. And now today, I had a similar encounter with a guy who actually almost did cause me to crash. I had the presence of mind to take his license number and inform him I wasn't going to fight him, I was going to call the police. He sped off. I didn't call the police.

    My question - Should I report these guys? On one hand, it happens roughly 3 times a year as much as I ride, and I don't want to be the annoying, frequent-caller to the non-emergency police line. On the other hand, someone should tell these nuts that they should calm down a little. (or a lot).
    Get a bike camera first. So next time, you will catch them on camera. Until the Seattle PD and/or, the King County Sheriffs Office sees' visual evidence of the incident, they won't do any follow-up. Then, Even if you have video evidence on camera, they spout the bilge of, they had to actually see it happen by being there. They will follow-up that excuse with saying that they have more important things to worry about.

  13. #13
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMACH 5 View Post
    One of the quickest ways to defuse a situation like that is to hold your phone up and snap a picture of their license plate. You do have to be kind of obvious about the fact that you're taking a picture. Once their anonymity is gone, they tend to bug out.
    This often works -- but often it doesn't. It can even make things worse when people feel at their very core that they are right and you are wrong, as they'll see the picture as an attack on them. (Note that I'm talking about perception here, not reality.)

    The very quickest, most effective way to defuse these situations is to apologize if you're actually talking and get out of their way or whatever they're after and let them go on their way. Now, I agree that this is not usually what you want to do, but it is the fastest and most effective way.

    Personally, if a driver is freaking out about me wherever I am ... I'm going to get out of their way. A simple honk isn't enough for this, but if they're laying on the horn for a long time or they keep yelling at me, I don't know where they're going with this and I'd just as soon end it rather than find out. I'm probably not going to apologize (even though it might help) but instead not respond to them at all beyond getting out of their way.

    And that said ... I think I've only done this once or twice in several years. I just don't have many conflicts with drivers, not sure why.

  14. #14
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    When I'm riding in downtown Seattle, most of the aggressive drivers I encounter have out of state license plates. In the past few years I can recall a handful from Alaska, and a spattering from eastern states. I've never reported any of the close call encounters since I've managed to avoid an actual confrontation each time, but now I ride with a helmet cam.

    Sometimes I feel some of these incidents could be avoided simply through better signage on the roads. For example on 4th in dt Seattle the bike lane is on the left side of the 1 way street, and I've seen dozens of dangerous cyclist/driver interactions because drivers think cyclists should be on the right side (despite the clearly marked bike lane), don't expect to see cyclists while turning left, and some cyclists actually riding on the right side despite a left side bike lane.
    Last edited by yamsyamsyams; 02-24-14 at 11:20 AM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Lanovran's Avatar
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    Cincinnati has recently added a "Bicycling Incidents" online form to their Citizen Service Request website: http://cagismaps.hamilton-co.org/csrcincinnati/ It allows people to report accidents and incidents of cyclist harrassment. I don't know which other municipalities might have something similar, but it could be worth investigating. I haven't had to use it yet myself, but I imagine it would be a heck of a lot more convenient than having to go to a police station to file a report in person.

    Quote Originally Posted by yamsyamsyams View Post
    For example on 4th in dt Seattle the bike lane is on the left side of the 1 way street, and I've seen dozens of dangerous cyclist/driver interactions[...]
    I can't say I'm surprised by that. A wrong-side bike lane sounds like a supremely idiotic idea!

  16. #16
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    Do what many London commuters have been doing. Use cameras, and if you capture any incidents, put them on a YouTube channel, and include the vehicle's tag number in the video title and/or description. Email the link to the chief of police or someone else with authority in your city. If you have problems with the same vehicle again you'll know it quickly since you have record of their tag number.

    I don't know how well this would work to get consequences handed down to the vehicle driver, but at least they'll be on record.
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  17. #17
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    Well I can say report the drivers iv just started the whole cycling thing since my brand new Silverado only 18 000km on it sits in a impound yard for a 60 day impoundment. But this gave me a new prospective on cycliests now that the police took my truck away I'm forced to ride a bike and now that this has happened iv got way more respect for cycliests. Here's my poor still smells new truck getting waiting to be towed I say report all bad drivers cause when they get there vehicle impounded and they have IMG_20140721_073707.jpgto start riding a bike the ll understand.

  18. #18
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    While I didn't have a helmet camera yesterday evening. I did go into the employee-only section delivery entrance of the local USPS sorting facility and told an employee what happened. I gave him all the details about the USPS driver who tried to get me out of their way.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Astrozombie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    I'm probably not going to apologize (even though it might help) but instead not respond to them at all beyond getting out of their way.
    Don't forget to flip them off as they drive away
    Assume nothing; Question everything

  20. #20
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    A while back this guy passed over the double yellow line, so he could tailgate a bus.
    Yesterday he rolled through a red stop light, so he could tailgate a bus.
    This morning he passed in the bike lane, so he could tailgate a bus.


    -mr. bill
    Don't blame me, I'm from Massachusetts.

  21. #21
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    You folks should POST THE LICENSE NUMBERS of these jerks
    Why do you guys NEVER POST THE LICENSE NUMBERS- MAKE MODEL DESCRIPTION OF the offending driver??
    License Louisiana plate # 12345
    make of car MB 300 Black new looking 4 doors
    White male ~50 yo-glasses brown hair average build
    at 3000 Martha lane River Ridge louisiana
    Threatened "f you up bee-acth run your azz over"
    Event lasted 2 minutes and he did 'whatever" in respect to following up on threat
    Cops won't do ANYTHING-can't do anything

    Oh these events seem to happen to lane controllers more than FRAPPERS, might be a hint that perhaps LCing isn't soooo safe, but that is your business

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoebeisis View Post
    ....
    Oh these events seem to happen to lane controllers more than FRAPPERS, might be a hint that perhaps LCing isn't soooo safe, but that is your business
    Uh, the original poster SeattleRed was *in* the bike lane.

    My special one drives a white first generation silverado extended cab 4x4 without a tailgate, sorry, haven't gotten his license plate for you. Where in your expert opinion should I be driving?

    -mr. bill
    Don't blame me, I'm from Massachusetts.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    While I didn't have a helmet camera yesterday evening. I did go into the employee-only section delivery entrance of the local USPS sorting facility and told an employee what happened. I gave him all the details about the USPS driver who tried to get me out of their way.
    The company I drive for hauls a lot of mail and I go to USPS sort facilities, I'm amazed you were able to just walk in as all I've been to are secure facilities, and given the attitude of many postal workers I'm surprised your ears aren't still burning.

  24. #24
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    Mr Bill
    I made the general statement that these events seem to be reported more frequently by LCers-

    You report is Not bad but you need to describe THE DRIVER- male female white black etc age exactly WHERE and when it happened
    Start a formal LOG of these events that could be referenced-find repeat offenders-track them down-find out where they live work school church etc
    Being INVISIBLE makes these people more aggressive-if they suddenly find they aren't invisible-they will be more restrained
    It is EASY to track people down now-really easy.Where they live work businesses they own
    Yeah impossible to be an anonymous jerk now
    Usually JERKS are repeat JERKS
    Cops can't do anything

    You folks with these complaints should start a formal log of these events
    It doesn't have to be formally attached to this forum-events could be reported via email-to an interested member or non member who could email a current copy to anyone who is interested

    When I owned a Nissan Titan-pickup-I kept a formal log of rear differential failures-there were 78 reported(on just our forum)-in just 2 years-many REPEAT failures
    It was a parts manufacturing cheapout-typical-the heat treatment was kinda fiddly-"'powdered cast steel" had to be treated at specific temps specific times -
    granted it was a modified-strenghtened Dana 44 differential something not originally designed for a 305hp 380 ft lb 5000 lb tall geared pickup-but it should have been strong enough if properly manufactured
    but it was too close to the edge-very little margin of error
    Anyway we kept records-kept Nissan's feet to the fire-they finally corrected it
    But I sold it at 11,000 miles-no problems fun truck,but I didn't trust it

    Anyway-KEEP GOOD RECORDS-

  25. #25
    Senior Member FenderTL5's Avatar
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    My local municipality has an online form for reporting aggressive drivers on their website.
    If it's a run of the mill close pass or something that could be incidental/accidental I always let slide.
    Anything obviously deliberate gets reported.
    Nashville, like L.A. without a tan.

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