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  1. #1
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    First real case of harassment on the road

    I'm sad to say that my wife and I got a real case of harassment over the weekend.

    We had just left our house, and pedaled about 1/8 mile to a stop light just past a gas station. From the parking (about 60 yards back) we hear "Get those F$ing bikes of the road!", probably a few times over. It was pretty upsetting to the wife, so I gave the guy the bird and when the light changed we pedaled on thinking that was all there was to it. Just up the road at another stop light we see this guy pull his car over, get out and start yelling profanity towards us at the top of his lungs! (we don't have the right to be on the road, always in his way, we didn't pay for the road, ect...) We stayed put at the red light we were at, and thankfully a few of the cars stayed at it that must have noticed what was going on. He kept waving us over to brawl (or whatever he was wanting) and started walking towards us at a few points. If there wasn't traffic between him and us, he may have even made it across the road if he weren't bluffing. I got the phone out and called 911** while the wife flipped on sailor mode (terrifying to be screamed at by a 100 lb woman I imagine), and when we started to ask for his license plate number he bailed pretty quick. I gave dispatch his description, make and model of his car, and to our good luck his plate number, so hopefully if there are any more complaints it'll be logged. It seemed like a pretty long ordeal, and scared us both pretty bad. It didn't do much for my "commuting is as safe as driving" opinion to the wife either. After it was over, we continued on and actually had a pretty good ride.

    ** A small rant about the police - If it comes off as too crude / dismissive feel free to edit / send a message and I'll revise.
    My attitude towards police is generally more negative than positive, but I do understand that each officer is an individual, and as a group there will always be people who are good and bad at their job. Anyhow, while on the phone, dispatch said a car was coming asap, which was good, because I really didn't know if the guy was hell bent on a confrontation or just blowing off some steam. Time went on, no cops. He left, we waited to give an officer some more info about the event, no cops. We waited about 15 more minutes for an office to show, and nothing. It's a good thing a cop wasn't needed, we would have been SOL. I made it very clear we were being severly harassed, and I gave the exact location we were at, accurate to probably 1/16 of a mile. After the whole ordeal, we rode past more cops in the area than I'ver ever seen to date. Setting at a gas station not more than 2 miles from where we were was two cops, parked in the chatting configuration. We went on, and just a few more miles down the road, two cops were parked in the corner of a college parking lot, chatting it up. We even passed one more a little ways down the road. The most aggravting thing is I called the PD to follow up after the ride, and it was noted that the cops went there, but couldn't find us. Total BS, unless they showed up more than 15 minutes after the event, in which case their uselessness is even more embarassing.

    Sorry for the long post, just wanted to get it off the chest.

  2. #2
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    I experienced something similar a couple of weeks ago, a carload of suburban milksop schoolboys mouthing off. My response was ....well.... my blue collar trucker, non PC best, and not repeatable here. Such is life, once in a while we will encounter these fools, the best thing is to just let it go and don't let it ruin your day.

    As to the police, try to remember what they deal with every day, murders, *******, addicts, criminals, pedophiles, gangs, domestic violence, arsonists, the mentally disturbed, homeless. From their point of view, some hurt feelings are trivial and not going to receive much attention unless you report the guy is actually assaulting you, brandishing a weapon, or tried to assault you with his vehicle. Not saying its right, but thats the way it is.

    I'm 50 years old and have only encountered such behavior a hand full of times, odds of it happening again any time soon are slim.

  3. #3
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kickstart View Post
    I experienced something similar a couple of weeks ago, a carload of suburban milksop schoolboys mouthing off. My response was ....well.... my blue collar trucker, non PC best, and not repeatable here. Such is life, once in a while we will encounter these fools, the best thing is to just let it go and don't let it ruin your day.

    As to the police, try to remember what they deal with every day, murders, *******, addicts, criminals, pedophiles, gangs, domestic violence, arsonists, the mentally disturbed, homeless. From their point of view, some hurt feelings are trivial and not going to receive much attention unless you report the guy is actually assaulting you, brandishing a weapon, or tried to assault you with his vehicle. Not saying its right, but thats the way it is.

    I'm 50 years old and have only encountered such behavior a hand full of times, odds of it happening again any time soon are slim.
    That is subjective. Because, If a motorist had called it in, the police would be looking for the offending driver. The police wouldn't be cavalier or dismissive about it.

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    If you noticed a possible firearm on the person or in the car and told that to the dispatcher, there is a *far* greater chance the police would have arrived quickly. Something to keep in mind next time you feel you are in danger and need the police to arrive instead of blowing you off.
    Last edited by genesplitter; 08-18-14 at 12:35 AM.

  5. #5
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genesplitter View Post
    If you noticed a possible firearm on the person or in the car and told that to the dispatcher, there is a *far* greater chance the police would have arrived quickly. Something to keep in mind next time you feel you are in danger and need the police to arrive instead of blowing you off.
    References to the offender being drunk may also invoke a faster response... and for all you know his rant was fueled by alcohol.

  6. #6
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    genes

    Reminds me of the story that may or may not have happened. One nite a fellow sees someone is breaking into his garden shed. He calls the police and they say they will get there as soon as possible but they are all tied up at the moment. The quy hangs up. Then he call back a couple of minutes later and tells the police there is no hurry since he shot the crook. Three or four minutes later the police are there and catch the crook. They said why did you say you shot the guy when you didnt. The guy said why did you tell me there were no police available?

  7. #7
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    All limited resources must be use in a prioritized manner. Personally I like that a shooting/murder would get better response than a storage shed break in.
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    If you can pull out your phone to call 911, you can pull it out and start filming him.

    When the camera starts rolling chances are he'll start behaving properly - FAST.

  9. #9
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    I try not to interact with the mentally unstable ones. I don't always succeed.

    It's inadvisable in the long run to embellish the incident with 911 by adding imagined weapons, intoxication or drugs. IMO we can say that he's erratic and belligerent, threatening people all over the road, and we're afraid that someone is going to get killed. If all that's true.

  10. #10
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    "All limited resources must be used in a prioritized manner"......Says the little cake donut with sprinkles....

    I just ignore them best as possible.Misery loves company.....
    Last edited by Booger1; 08-18-14 at 01:52 PM.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member bluegoatwoods's Avatar
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    Don't forget, too, that the police might have spotted this guy later on in the day. Maybe the next day. Perhaps they had a little chat with him about reasonable public behavior. Maybe it helped. If it didn't, then he's known to them the next time he pulls some sort of bad behavior on people who are just minding their own business.

    In either case, it's a pretty reasonable response to what happened to you that day.

  12. #12
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
    All limited resources must be use in a prioritized manner. Personally I like that a shooting/murder would get better response than a storage shed break in.
    Limited resources - like the cops all just sitting in parking lots chatting that the OP mentioned?
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  13. #13
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    Actually, my post was directed at rydabent's little anti-police story directly above. As far as police sitting in lots chatting, that would depend on what the topic of conversation is wouldn't it. And Booger do you deny that police coverage is a limited resource? While I don't understand what you reference to me a a cake doughnut with sprinkles on it means, I'd bet is a similar classiness to your name and location, so I'll ignore.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member trailangel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KBentley57 View Post
    so I gave the guy the bird and when the light changed we pedaled on
    Usually is best not to flip them off. Really upsets some people, like you just condemned them to death or something.
    I was very successful at flipping people off while driving 25 year old Ford F150 extra cab/long bed. They would stay clear.
    Now that I'm driving new Subaru Forester..... doesn't seem to work.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
    Usually is best not to flip them off. Really upsets some people, like you just condemned them to death or something.
    I was very successful at flipping people off while driving 25 year old Ford F150 extra cab/long bed. They would stay clear.
    Now that I'm driving new Subaru Forester..... doesn't seem to work.
    Some folks don't understand that in less "polite" segments of society flipping someone off is an invitation to throwdown. To do so and then call the cops rather than back it up is considered to be a serious breech of form worthy of verbal abuse.

    IMO, unless you're feeling frisky and are ready to play the game, its best to just ignore them and call the cops if they don't go away. They're looking to bully someone, not go back to jail.

  16. #16
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    I probably shouldn't have flown the bird, however, it was more of an aknowledgment of "yeah i hear ya, go $ off" than an invite to brawl. Had I known he was going to pull out of the station and stop up ahead it would have been different.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by kickstart View Post
    Some folks don't understand that in less "polite" segments of society flipping someone off is an invitation to throwdown. To do so and then call the cops rather than back it up is considered to be a serious breech of form worthy of verbal abuse.

    IMO, unless you're feeling frisky and are ready to play the game, its best to just ignore them and call the cops if they don't go away. They're looking to bully someone, not go back to jail.
    +1

  18. #18
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    It is all about the wording in a call to the police. I could almost guarantee that I could get a police response to an incident fast then someone who doesn't know what to say at the same situation. 911 operators look for specific words when prioritizing and submitting calls. If they submitted a call through the system with no priority on it, cops probably won't ride out to investigate (guessing that is what happened with the OP).

    However if you state the potential bodily harm, weapons of any sort, children/elderly/disabled, or able to have the operator here the incident unfolding (i.e. yelling in the background) you'd get a better chance of a more immediate response than just saying you're being harassed by a motorist.

    I live in an area of Chicago where the police aren't "needed" according to the departments resources, so we have a limited presence. I was harassed by an obviously intoxicated driver and had a squad roll by a few minutes later. Granted they didn't catch the guy but how I worded the call (intimidation with a vehicle, physical contact, threats of great bodily harm, plate number, description, etc) I got a response.

    Don't be afraid to sound afraid on the phone or mention you think the prep has a weapon, whether they do or not, unless you know without a doubt they don't.
    Looking forward to my winter commuting adventure.....

  19. #19
    enthusiast JamieElenbaas's Avatar
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    When you encounter a raging cager instead of flipping them off, it is so much more effective to smile and wave. Here's why:

    1) Often they become so confused by your non-response that the tirade stops and they wander off.
    2) If they're screaming at you to get a reaction they just failed. You win!
    3) Should things escalate further and the law becomes involved (they never have for me thank goodness!) you are altogether in the right and you can rightly claim that you in no way provoked them.

    For the very special cases, I sometimes blow a kiss.

  20. #20
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
    All limited resources must be use in a prioritized manner. Personally I like that a shooting/murder would get better response than a storage shed break in.
    Well...the murder victim is already DEAD and the antagonist long gone. The cops really can't help the dead person. Yet a crime IN PROGRESS where perhaps they could catch a bad guy - who most likely does not limit his lawbreaking to assaulting helpless outbuildings - could actually be captured would, in my opinion, be a lot more useful AT THE MOMENT. And unless you live in Mayberry RFD, there is likely plenty of cops in "chatting configuration" just down the block unless there actually IS a murder scene which would draw way too many cops like flies to ..... a summer picnic.

    As for the meatball screaming at the OP...just ignore or smile and wave (all fingers included). Anything that happens AFTER you flip someone off is kinda on you.
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  21. #21
    Captain Big Ring tractorlegs's Avatar
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    Unless I live in a bubble, events like this are so rare that I don't even think about it. The few times it has happened, I don't even acknowledge - I just keep riding normally, and don't even make eye contact. The only time I responded was once when a fellow pulled up next to me after I had slowed down and rolled through a stop sign - he said "You shouldn't run stop signs". I told him to call the police if he wanted to. He flipped me off and drove away.

    The way I think about it, if someone yells, the best plan of action is to just ignore it. If you find yourself in a position where you are in danger, of course you should respond - but still as passively as possible. You ride off or they drive off and no one's day is ruined.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by tractorlegs View Post
    Unless I live in a bubble, events like this are so rare that I don't even think about it. The few times it has happened, I don't even acknowledge - I just keep riding normally, and don't even make eye contact. The only time I responded was once when a fellow pulled up next to me after I had slowed down and rolled through a stop sign - he said "You shouldn't run stop signs". I told him to call the police if he wanted to. He flipped me off and drove away.

    The way I think about it, if someone yells, the best plan of action is to just ignore it. If you find yourself in a position where you are in danger, of course you should respond - but still as passively as possible. You ride off or they drive off and no one's day is ruined.
    Some people have poor coping skills, their solution for bad behavior is do-unto-others-before-they-do-unto-you, so naturally their expectations become self fulfilling prophecies.
    Last edited by kickstart; 08-29-14 at 02:39 PM.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamieElenbaas View Post
    For the very special cases, I sometimes blow a kiss.

    I often do that. It actually frightens them.

    On one club ride some guy starting yelling at us and honking to get off the road, bla, bla, bla. We pulled up to him at the next red light and one of the guys started making googly eyes at him and told him he was real cute!

  24. #24
    Captain Big Ring tractorlegs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kickstart View Post
    Some people have poor coping skills, their solution for bad behavior is do-unto-others-before-they-do-unto-you, so naturally their expectations become self fulfilling prophecies.
    Very, very true.
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  25. #25
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    It's better too de-escalate a potential problem situation than to escalate it.

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