Advocacy & Safety - Cars tailgating bikes on a winding road!
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Ok. Tailgating is one of my pet peeves. I live in the hills and so far this year I have had 3 cars tailgate me through fast hairpin turns.
As I have mentioned before I have lived in this area for 7 years and I haven't had too much trouble, that seems to be changing.
The law says that as a cyclist I can take the lane so long as I don't impede traffic (so if I go fast I can ride in the middle of the road).
On Saturday after a lovely country ride, I was coming downhill onto the valley only 5km/3ml from home. I was doing ~ 50kph/31mph approaching a right hand hairpin marked at 35kph/22mph, I could hear a car coming up behind me, I held my line, and realised he was only a few feet off my rear wheel. Then there is a left hand hairpin marked at 25kph/15mph, I thought if I brake too hard he is going to hit me, so I tried to keep the speed through the corner, this made me run wide on the apex as I was going too fast, I could hear he was VERY close but I managed to get through the corner. I then moved straight over to the side to let him past. I called him a name as he passed (not printable) and he gave me the finger, nothing new there so I returned the favour, he then tried to "brake test" me by locking up all four wheels. I hit the brakes but wasn't close enough to crash. He then sped off, but not before I got his rego number.:)
I went to the police station today and they are going to make some enquires, they said next time I should just get his number and forget about the whole name calling thing. They are correct. I didn't react very smartly and it could have ended very messy (for me). It's just a reflex action to swear at some knob who is trying to make you crash.:mad:
I'll wait to see what will happen. I think they will have a chat to him. Other than that nothing can be done.
Moving in 36 days and counting.:D
Sorry post should be titled: Cars tailgating bikes on a winding road!
03-10-02, 07:29 PM
wow I can't believe that some driver did that! :eek:
Don't feel bad I would be just as upset, I mean what was he thinking...
"cyclist in the road, I guess I better speed through these turns and try to run him over, in hopes of getting home 35 seconds quicker!"
Just goes to show that you have to be defensive when you are out there, cause some people got their thought process backwards :(
I know just how you felt. I've had that feeling many times, somewhere between helplessness and rage.
It's good you got his/her reg. number, I can never get myself together soon enough to memorize a plate #. With me it's partly due to flashbacks (PTSD), the fight or flight reflex.
I'm going to try again this season to keep my middle finger firmly wrapped around the bar. :angel:
03-10-02, 09:17 PM
Using a motor vehicle as a weapon of deadly force is insane.
As for being nice, it's probably a good thing in retrospect, but being nice to someone who's threatening to take you out is more than difficult. Yet, it's smart, admittedly.
Good that you took the initiative to take his licence plate number and report him.
That is the best thing we can do to keep him from doing it again. Maybe the driver will tell his friends too and give them the spooks.
I encourage everyone to report offensive and dangerous motor vehicle drivers.
03-11-02, 04:22 AM
Ah, the ol' Must-Pass-Cyclist-Irrespective-Of-Conitions syndrome. A remarkably common ailment. One of the most prominent symptoms being the ability to somehow blame the cyclist for their own ineptitude.
On a route I used to take to work there was a blind, sharp left hand bend that went down a steepish hill. A bike can outcorner a car any day of the week and I used to take this corner at a round 50km/h. It's truly astonishing the number of drivers that would try and overtake me on this bend only to discover too late that they had overcooked it and had to brake hard just to make it around the bend, often encroaching into the oncoming lane.
I'm utterly amazed that in the two years I took this route I never saw a head on collision. I do wonder sometimes how some people manage to qualify for their licenses.
In your situation Dutchy, a) I wouldn't have been too worried about braking on the bends. I generally slow down for tailgaters anyway. I wouldn't put my own safety in jeopardy by going too fast through a corner purely because of the idea that some moron might run up my date. Even if he did do it there would at least be the possibility of compensation. b) I wouldn't have been in too much of a hurry to move out of the lane either, but that's just the curmudgeon in me coming out. c) depending on my mood I'd probably just laugh at the guy as he went past. I might have given him the bird, but I'm really beginning to wonder why a mere hand gesture would infuriate someone, or why it could be any sort of effective response to vehicular aggression. It seems more like an expression of frustration and impotence really - the sort of thing you do when you know you can't punch someone in their stupid head.
several years ago, I read a story in the National Geographic about a man who circumnavigated the Australian continent on a touring bike. From his description, it sounds like Aussies (particularily outback roadtrain drivers) are the rudest, least cyclist-freindly drivers on the planet. He had things thrown at him on highways in the midddle of nowhere! At least here, in the US, the 'tossers' are either snot-nosed suburban twits or are just plain trash. Either way, it's still a fairly rare occurance to be harassed on the road here, save for urban cycling environments.
I have never had this situation happen to me, but when I am driving a car this is the approach that I take (translated to apply to a bike)
gradually slow down to a ridicouly slow speed (i.e. the speed that their trailing distance would be safe at). It works well in cars. People tend to realise what you are doing. This works espically well if it is a no pass zone. Easily circumventable if one can easily pass. Unless he is so close that if you stopped he would have to reverse to get around you!:rolleyes:
You did the absolute right thing in grabbing his liscence number!
The scenario Mark describes is scary and and aggravating. My response would be to assume the road position, trajectory, and speed I need to for my own safety, although I might adjust a bit toward the outside (right for me, left for Mark) and very gradually slow a bit more to reduce the chance of being rear-ended if the tailgating bozo were to lose emotional or physical control. Yelling for safety reasons is fine, but keep the language clean and non-inflammatory; gesticulating can be OK, as well, but use more than one finger when doing so.
When motoring, I absolutely concur that the best way to deal with tailgaters is to ease up on the accelerator, to note license plate numbers, and, for commercial vehicles, to call that "How's my driving?" phone number.
Thanks everyone for your thoughts.:)
Normally I would pull to the side of the road when in such a situation. The only problem here is that the road is a "goat" track at best.
Narrow, no shoulder, no edge lines, bumpy with a big drop down the side. Not a good road by any standards but usually it is very quiet,
so I don't mind it. The two hairpins flow straight into each other, as soon you get through the right hander, you have to shift your
body weight for the left hander.
It normally only takes 15secs to get through both corners, so there wasn't a lot of time to do anything but get around them.
What bugs me the most is that there is a series of left/right swerves before the hairpin and the driver would have seen me riding through these.
I didn't know he was there until it was too late. I did hear a car coming, but I didn't realise he had come up SO fast and so close.
He would have had to been speeding (posted at 80kph/50mph) just to catch me.
I'll keep you informed as to any action taken by the police.
03-11-02, 05:28 PM
This reminds me of a new type of driver that has shown up around here, in the last couple of years. I don't like gross stereotypes, but they are usually in the largest SUVs. On approaching cyclist(s) they start repeatedly beeping and drive past/through without slowing or yielding, regardless of visibility (hills, turns, etc.) or clearance. Get out of the way, or die. Your choice.
03-11-02, 05:45 PM
Get out of the way, or die. Your choice.
Unfortunately a LOT of people are like this :( it seems that they think they are almighty and powerful... how dare you ride on THEIR road... you should be ashamed of yourself ;)
on a lighter note, I drive a suv, but it's small and I give lots of space to my fellow cyclists :D
I just don't understand why it is so hard for some people to slow down and be courteous to cyclists. On Sunday after a ride in the hills, my wife was driving us home and up ahead we saw two cyclists riding two abreast fairly slowly. Anna slowed the car down from 80kph to about 40kph went around them and continued, no big deal it didn't cost us any time or effort.
Now why can't the rest of society drive as carefully?
Are they too lazy to use the brake pedal?
03-12-02, 10:37 AM
Personally I'm still waiting for someone in a jacked up SUV etc. to roll that thing trying to pass me at 35mph on a tight turn safe at no more than 20mph. They lean soooo far over I become scared for their safety more than my own.
I remember having someone tailing me around a steep downhill curve when I was probably only 14. I know I was going way to fast for my skill level, and having a car two feet off my tail made me afraid to slow down. I came within inches of hurtling off the outside curve of the road and down a twenty foot embankment. On the bright side, that incident may have been a catalyst for my present biking habits as I am very stubborn and will always do what those whom I do not respect find annoying.
03-12-02, 11:03 AM
On steep winding bends, Ive had cars try to undertake me. Very scary.
There is one steep spot I ride before a blind corner, with "no overtaking" lines, where someone always tries to overtake me, then cut me off at the corner as they brake.
03-12-02, 11:27 AM
Yeah, I like that last part--where they struggle to overtake you before the corner and then have to slow down, making you slow down with them. If a car can only do it at 15mph, then a bike can usually at 25 mph. I know it's dangerous, but I love the look I can see on their face in their rearview mirror as I tail them three feet off their bumper--and then as I keep up with them for the next two blocks, going over the speed limit no less.
03-15-02, 05:59 AM
A thing that lots of people do in Adelaide and Australia is they pass a car/motorbike and then slam on the brakes.
This is very difficult to deal with on a bike !
The one I really love is when someone decides to reverse up a road.
This happened to me with a council truck at a set of lights, when I was on a motorcycle. Motorcycles have no reverse ! I was furiously 'hobby horsing' this 100kg bike backwards for about 30 metres.
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