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-   -   What do you do when someone stops you in the lane? (http://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-safety/938729-what-do-you-do-when-someone-stops-you-lane.html)

jowilson 03-17-14 04:36 PM

What do you do when someone stops you in the lane?
 
About three months ago, I had an incident occur involving me and a driver. I was JRA and a driver in a white car passed me within 2 feet. It happens all the time, and it pisses me off, but even the police around here do that, and they don't strictly (if at all) enforce the 3-foot law. So he passed closely and I just ignored it. About 50 feet in front of me, he stopped in the right side of the right lane, to block me from going forward. He also blocked another driver from exiting a parking lot, so that driver saw this part of the incident. But I was going ~20mph and had no intention of stopping to hear what this driver had to say or whatever, so I simply rode around the left, as if to avoid a hazard. Being dumbfounded and already angry, he accelerated up to me quickly and as soon as I heard the tires screech, I was up on the sidewalk (there's this thing with being hit by cars I really don't like). He sped up to me and slowed down when we were next to each other, rolled his window down, and threw a cup of water at me. I cursed and yelled at him, and then looked around to see if anyone had watched this. Nope.

Later, I thought back on it and wondered if I had done the right thing. Should I have stopped to talk to the driver, and explained my rights to him? Should I have reported an assault?

If someone ever stops you in the road, do you listen to what they have to say? Or just ride past them?

Josh

FBinNY 03-17-14 04:45 PM

If a driver has already demonstrated his attitude by stopping to block you, there's little hope of gaining anything by engaging him in any way. Pass him, and if there's a one way street turn up it the wrong way. Otherwise do what you need to avoid a confrontation with an obviously crazy person.

In the few situations where I've run into this, I've used the one way street, or run a light. In one case someone chased me through a red, but only once ever. (where's a cop when you need one.)

Otherwise, if there's any businesses around, ride up and step inside. He won't attack in front of witnesses.

MMACH 5 03-17-14 04:46 PM

It's been my experience that if a driver sees you take a picture of his license plate with your cell phone, he'll bug out. Your mileage may vary.

howsteepisit 03-17-14 05:01 PM

One he threw the water (acid, lye other poison?) i'd report an assault, and be sure to record the license plate number however you can. Otherwise, FB NY calls it right in my opinion.

koolerb 03-17-14 05:11 PM

If their acting like that you already know where their head is at. I don't think stopping to lecture does a bit of good. I usually just ignore them them and keep on going. But I'll admit it, every once in a while I'll get mad enough to hurl a few expletives. Not often though.

FBinNY 03-17-14 05:31 PM

Many year ago, when I was young brash and rash (and fast), I once made an unflattering comparison between a driver's horn and his wife. It took me about 20 minutes of hard work to finally shake him. Lesson learned.

kickstart 03-17-14 05:42 PM

Ignoring stupid people is usually best, they have already demonstrated a lack of self control, will likely escalate the situation if confronted, and anything you say will most likely validate their outrage in their mind.

It's also possible that in the heat of the moment you may end up doing or saying something that could be turned against you by the law.

B. Carfree 03-17-14 08:57 PM

I've stopped and chatted with a few nutcase motorists (perhaps redundant). Sometimes it was because I didn't have much choice, like when a truck driver got out of his rig with a crow bar (he put it down and apologized before any blows were exchanged). Other times it was by choice. In one instance a motorist laid on his horn when I was riding clear of the door-zone bike lane. When the bike lane was again safe, I pulled into it and he pulled up next to me and rolled down his passenger window. We had a very brief, very polite conversation over his nine-year-old son while we moved down the road. He learned about door-zone bike lanes and I had my habit of not flipping horn honkers off reinforced.

I'm a reasonably large and fit man. I have extensive martial arts training. I'm also somewhat chatty. Since if someone really wanted to do me great harm, they could simply run me over or shoot me while driving, I don't think I increase my risk by stopping and chatting, even when they obviously have bees in their bonnets. Almost every encounter has ended with a handshake and new insight for what it's like for someone on a bike. (I already know what it's like from the seat of a motorized couch.)

We don't educate or train our citizens in how to operate a motor vehicle nor do we encourage/require that they know the relevant laws in order to drive. When they encounter someone who rides competently and confidently, it's a new experience for them and predictably some of them think the situation is not just unusual but is not allowed. I give them the appropriate vehicle code references and explain why they are written the way they are. Everyone is happy to blame the bureaucrats and legislators for all that is wrong, so we at least have that common ground.

dynodonn 03-17-14 10:58 PM

Close pass, and then an attempted block on the motorist's part, I wouldn't have stopped until I was well clear of the motorist, and then I'd being calling law enforcement right after having an object being thrown at me. If this happened to me, I would have had a video recording of the incident, since I record all my commutes with the front and rear video cameras attached to my bike.

unterhausen 03-17-14 11:07 PM

I know a lot of people don't live in civilization, and this approach wouldn't work for them, but I'd be on the phone to 911. I'm reasonably confident that I would get an appropriate response. Someone like that needs police attention, they are probably beating their wife and torturing animals.

kickstart 03-18-14 12:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by B. Carfree (Post 16587433)
I've stopped and chatted with a few nutcase motorists (perhaps redundant). Sometimes it was because I didn't have much choice, like when a truck driver got out of his rig with a crow bar (he put it down and apologized before any blows were exchanged). Other times it was by choice. In one instance a motorist laid on his horn when I was riding clear of the door-zone bike lane. When the bike lane was again safe, I pulled into it and he pulled up next to me and rolled down his passenger window. We had a very brief, very polite conversation over his nine-year-old son while we moved down the road. He learned about door-zone bike lanes and I had my habit of not flipping horn honkers off reinforced.

I'm a reasonably large and fit man. I have extensive martial arts training. I'm also somewhat chatty. Since if someone really wanted to do me great harm, they could simply run me over or shoot me while driving, I don't think I increase my risk by stopping and chatting, even when they obviously have bees in their bonnets. Almost every encounter has ended with a handshake and new insight for what it's like for someone on a bike. (I already know what it's like from the seat of a motorized couch.)

We don't educate or train our citizens in how to operate a motor vehicle nor do we encourage/require that they know the relevant laws in order to drive. When they encounter someone who rides competently and confidently, it's a new experience for them and predictably some of them think the situation is not just unusual but is not allowed. I give them the appropriate vehicle code references and explain why they are written the way they are. Everyone is happy to blame the bureaucrats and legislators for all that is wrong, so we at least have that common ground.

Poor driver training and education is the root of the problem, and a general lack of empathy doesn't help the matter.

I got enough amusment dealing with idiots when I was paid to that I prefer to not deal with it now. It may work out ok most of the time, but that one time in a 100 that it goes really sideways..........and knowing my luck.

IMO taking the high road by being considerate typically works out the best, a friendly wave often works wonders. You don't necessarily need to capitulate, just acknowledge them before they feel compelled to "do something".

Jim from Boston 03-18-14 07:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kickstart (Post 16586826)
Ignoring stupid people is usually best, they have already demonstrated a lack of self control, will likely escalate the situation if confronted, and anything you say will most likely validate their outrage in their mind.

It's also possible that in the heat of the moment you may end up doing or saying something that could be turned against you by the law.

Well said; good advice IMO as a decades-long cycle commuter.

spivonious 03-18-14 07:22 AM

I've never had that happen to me, but if it was obvious that he was trying to block me, I would never pass him. Keep the nuts in front of you. You're lucky it was water and not a bullet.

02Giant 03-18-14 08:43 AM

Mace or pepper spray.

FBinNY 03-18-14 08:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 02Giant (Post 16588423)
Mace or pepper spray.

I don't know about where you live, but here in New York, that would be felony assault, unless he physically struck out you first. This is exactly the kind of ratcheting up of a situation kickstart spoke about.

BTW- these things don't sprout out of thin air. They start from a seed, and escalate. There was no mention of what might have to provoked the driver to stop in the first place. I don't say he doesn't have obvious problems, but I don't think he stopped to assault every cyclist he passed. Though I'm not saying the cyclist didn't anything serious to provoke this, there was a genesis, and it escalated. So you have a choice, keep escalating, of break it off. Given the import, and the consequences, I'd rather call it a bad day, break it off and move on.

02Giant 03-18-14 09:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FBinNY (Post 16588466)
I don't know about where you live, but here in New York, that would be felony assault, unless he physically struck out you first. This is exactly the kind of ratcheting up of a situation kickstart spoke about.

BTW- these things don't sprout out of thin air. They start from a seed, and escalate. There was no mention of what might have to provoked the driver to stop in the first place. I don't say he doesn't have obvious problems, but I don't think he stopped to assault every cyclist he passed. Though I'm not saying the cyclist didn't anything serious to provoke this, there was a genesis, and it escalated. So you have a choice, keep escalating, of break it off. Given the import, and the consequences, I'd rather call it a bad day, break it off and move on.

You get 50% of the choice, if the other party continues the harassment, playing nice is over. I am not going to run from someone for 20 minutes.

FBinNY 03-18-14 09:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 02Giant (Post 16588558)
You get 50% of the choice, if the other party continues the harassment, playing nice is over. I am not going to run from someone for 20 minutes.

If you're talking about the instance I mentioned, remember that I'm the one who escalated that with my shouted insult. Had I not said what I did, we probably would simply called each other jerks, or used sign language as we tend to do here in NYC and moved on.

It takes a crazy or crazy angry driver to chase a cyclist. In 45 years I've never run into one who wasn't satisfied with venting his anger with a shout or sign, and even these were very few and far between. Non response (ignore and move on) has always served.

In less heated cases, conversation also works, but that requires that at least one party stays cool, and can manage the tone down, rather than up. It's worth a try if your temperament allows, but if not working, then break it off and move on.

BYW- it's amazing what can be achieved with an insincere "I'm sorry, man".

cellery 03-18-14 10:44 AM

I say never interact with the driver who isn't asking you for directions or the time of day. Don't even acknowledge their existence if you can help it - if you're assaulted hit-and-run style like this - best bet is to try and get a plate number, look for witnesses and call the police who will promptly do as close to nothing as possible unless you were severely injured.

howeeee 03-18-14 11:26 AM

josh,

You did exactly what I would do and what I have done many times. I just go around them left if they are at the light I just cross back to the right in front of them. I never ever stop to hear what they have to say or try to explain the rules of the road or the rules of how you should treat your fellow man. I just tell them to f off while they are screaming and keep riding. You are never gonna convince an a hole he is one and you can escalate the situation into violence.

The goal is ride have fun, be healthy in body and mind and not get killed, those are the rules I go by.

Chris516 03-18-14 12:21 PM

The OP reminded me of situation I encountered a couple weeks ago. It was one of the few good weather days in February. I was in front of a pickup truck going 25mph in a 30mph zone. The driver was mouthing off out cyclists' being on the road. So he speeds past me crossing the solid double-yellow line. It was kind of funny. Because, He got stuck in the outside lane at the traffic light. As I approached the red light, it went green and I passed the driver.

We basically played an (unfriendly)game of leapfrog for several blocks, until I reached my destination. There was no physical contact, and I didn't listen to the drivers' verbal garbage.

Regardless of the intent of the driver, just pass them. Don't strike up a conversation with them.

spare_wheel 03-18-14 12:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by B. Carfree (Post 16587433)
Since if someone really wanted to do me great harm, they could simply run me over or shoot me while driving, I don't think I increase my risk by stopping and chatting, even when they obviously have bees in their bonnets. Almost every encounter has ended with a handshake and new insight for what it's like for someone on a bike. (I already know what it's like from the seat of a motorized couch.)


I've never ignored or cycled away from a verbal confrontation with a motorist. I also believe that a passive response by cyclists only validates bullying behavior by motorists. I've chatted with angry motorists dozens of times and ~95% of the time these interactions turn out to be positive or neutral interactions.

Chris516 03-18-14 12:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spare_wheel (Post 16589198)
I've never ignored or cycled away from a verbal confrontation with a motorist. I also believe that a passive response by cyclists only validates bullying behavior by motorists. I've chatted with angry motorists dozens of times and ~95% of the time these interactions turn out to be positive or neutral interactions.

Good point:thumb: about not validating bullying behavior.

Keith99 03-18-14 12:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris516 (Post 16589240)
Good point:thumb: about not validating bullying behavior.

I can't recall being bullied by a driver. Perhaps it has happened, but I doubt it.

Thing is I am a (retired for now) rugby player first and a cyclist second.

But I wasn't a fool either. There were some roads known for jerks and I generally avoided them.

DOH, can think of one attempt to bully, but not a car, a jerk on a rice rocket. But as I said I'm a Rugby player first, specifically a front row forward (think offensive lineman) and I'd just climbed to the top of Mulholland from the beach, I was to tired to be intimidated. (The Hells angel who passed me later was polite and in fact throttled down and glided past me).

Keith99 03-18-14 12:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kickstart (Post 16587808)
Poor driver training and education is the root of the problem, and a general lack of empathy doesn't help the matter.

I got enough amusment dealing with idiots when I was paid to that I prefer to not deal with it now. It may work out ok most of the time, but that one time in a 100 that it goes really sideways..........and knowing my luck.

IMO taking the high road by being considerate typically works out the best, a friendly wave often works wonders. You don't necessarily need to capitulate, just acknowledge them before they feel compelled to "do something".

Some other little thing sure don't help. Was back in Eagle Rock last weekend. They took out a lane to put in a bike lane. A lane on a busy street that could use it. The then mark it so there is a hashed out area between the bike lane and motor traffic, pushing cyclists right into the door zone. To ride safely one needs to go into the hashed out area.

I do not find it at all unreasonable for a driver to be upset that the pushy cyclist 'isn't satisfied' with the area marked off for him.

But I'm also convinced that the vast majority of drivers will respond well to an explanation, especially one that starts by acknowledging that they are right to be upset and then shows them who they should be upset with.

NoviceJohn 03-18-14 12:53 PM

Stopping to engage an irate stranger never goes well, regardless of what the situation is because at the moment, the irate person thinks he/she is right. The way I vent on the road (in my vehicle and on my bike) is curse to myself. There's no need to confront the other party because your little lecture to the driver is not going to change the way he/she drives after the incident. it's a waste of everyone's time. The only way, IMO, a driver will change their driving habits is when they're convicted of vehicular homicide on a cyclist.


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