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Old 06-30-17, 11:45 AM   #1
aaronrob222
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How do you deal with road rage? (not from cars, but from yourself)

Today I was aggressively cut off by a belligerent driver. I was signaling, in the midst of taking a left turn, when it zooms past me with about 2 inches of clearance. And then flicked me off. This all sucked and, obviously, it made my blood boil. But like an hour later, I was still fuming about it and now, hours later, I'm still miffed.

Which makes me curious about how other cylco-commuters cool off after having an interaction with belligerent drivers. Unfortunately, in NYC, it seems to happen somewhat frequently and it really ruins what is otherwise a main source of tranquility for me.

By the way, I'm aware of the irony of this post considering my avatar!
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Old 06-30-17, 11:53 AM   #2
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I take some deep breaths and let it go. If there is nothing I can do to change the situation then it is not worth the energy to stew over. I still get upset which is normal. I just figure that the person has some issues and there is nothing I can do about that. they are not worth my time.
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Old 06-30-17, 12:25 PM   #3
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Smoking helps, but of course has other drawbacks.
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Old 06-30-17, 01:21 PM   #4
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I've been running a helmet cam for four years now. I can review any incident after the ride (or hook it up to my phone for immediate review). Watching myself act out was not pleasant. In reviewing some instances, the car was neither as close as I perceived or remembered, or the event itself was some what different than I perceived and remembered. Adrenaline will do that to you.

In instances where I was endangered or threatened, I have a recording of the incident, person and license plate to present to the authorities. I make a memo or reminder to review the video when I get home, or the office, and that helps me calm down for the rest of the ride.

I also have been performing with an improvisational theater group for six years. It has helped me to calmly accept completely unexpected situations, sometimes outrageous, sometimes personally insulting and incorporate them into a positive collaborative narrative.

While improv theater usually does not involve life-threatening incidents, I have found it to be a calming factor in my life, as well as cycling. Stomping on bicycle pedals in anger will sap your rage more completely and in a much safer manner than stomping on a gas pedal. And then reviewing the incident can sometimes help as well.
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Old 06-30-17, 01:23 PM   #5
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I'm fortunate that in my suburbia drivers are courteous for the most part, but once in a while an incident with a rude driver will get me going. Obviously it's frustrating because you do not get the chance to confront the driver...but then again maybe that's a good thing. You just have to take a few deep breaths and move on. What else can you do?
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Old 06-30-17, 01:53 PM   #6
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Not much to be done like the others have mentioned in your case. I would probably ask myself these questions:

- Was I too aggressive?
- Did I give enough room (or not take up too much of the road)?
- Is there a better route to take with less (or slower) traffic?

I have had some situations where the answer to some were "yes." So that means that I need to adjust as needed (attitude, route, etc). I think there's often room for improvement. But for some drivers, that may be more up to them than you.

Edit: I recall experiencing something close to your situation. A car came within inches when I was on Riverside Drive in Manhattan. I needed to move in a bit since there was a sizable puddle I was trying to avoid. The change I made was to not take that route as much (and to avoid it after a heavy rain). Another cyclecommuter I talked with said that he also avoids that road since he had a few close calls. So I'm not the only one with those experiences there.

Last edited by ptempel; 06-30-17 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 06-30-17, 01:58 PM   #7
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I don't consider car drivers to be human, they're just forces of nature. I don't get mad at the clouds when it rains, I don't get mad at dogs when they bark, I don't get mad at drivers when they do stupid stuff. It's just what they do.
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Old 06-30-17, 03:13 PM   #8
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Exactly - viewing them as non-sentient objects you don't get as riled up about it.

When I do get riled up, I don't want to look like an idiot reacting angrily. There's no telling who's watching.
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Old 06-30-17, 04:07 PM   #9
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A couple of weeks ago during a morning run, I was crossing the street in a crosswalk in front of an elementary school. A car stopped for me to cross, which caused the car behind him to have to stop. After I finished crossing and the first car proceeded on, the second car laid on his horn and flipped me off. I shouldn't have, but I flipped him off back and pointed to the crosswalk then continued my run. It got me worked up, but by the time I finished the run I was over it.
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Old 07-06-17, 07:47 PM   #10
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I got more important things to do than spend another couple of hours making a police report. I ride on the pavement/sidewalk most of the time. Only going on the road when i am quite familiar with the traffic and it has ample space for overtaking cars.
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Old 07-07-17, 09:48 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptempel View Post
Not much to be done like the others have mentioned in your case. I would probably ask myself these questions:

- Was I too aggressive?
- Did I give enough room (or not take up too much of the road)?
- Is there a better route to take with less (or slower) traffic?

I have had some situations where the answer to some were "yes." So that means that I need to adjust as needed (attitude, route, etc). I think there's often room for improvement. But for some drivers, that may be more up to them than you.

Edit: I recall experiencing something close to your situation. A car came within inches when I was on Riverside Drive in Manhattan. I needed to move in a bit since there was a sizable puddle I was trying to avoid. The change I made was to not take that route as much (and to avoid it after a heavy rain). Another cyclecommuter I talked with said that he also avoids that road since he had a few close calls. So I'm not the only one with those experiences there.
All things above are good things to consider when trying to increase your safety. However, that line of reasoning leads far too quickly to blaming the victim. If you do none of the above things, it does not give license to drivers to attempt to kill you. It is still their fault if they hit you. It's a human frickin life. If a driver can't have respect for that, and stay a comfortable distance away from an unprotected cyclist when controlling 4000 pounds of steel, they deserve all the contempt that would normally be reserved for drunk drivers convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

A drivers desire to shave a few seconds off their commute does not entitle them to put lives at risk, regardless of the inexperience of cyclists on the road.
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Old 07-07-17, 09:56 AM   #12
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I'm surprised by the OP.

New Yorkers don't usually stay or frustrated for long. There are simply too many daily insults to our sensibilities, so the typical reaction is to let people what you think either verbally or with gestures, then having vented move on. Takes less than a NY minute from event, to reaction to forgotten.

To the OP - If you're going to stay in New York you're going to have to learn how to forget, even if you can't forgive.
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Old 07-07-17, 10:20 AM   #13
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I don't know the answer. When I started seriously riding in traffic, as a teenager, I could get pretty worked up. I tended to ride angry and aggressive, and it didn't take much to annoy me. Now, almost 40 years later, I'm a lot more complacent about whatever happens.

One thing you can do, especially in the summer, is to talk to the drivers. If you find yourself stopped at traffic light, and right next to you there's a taxi with the window open, ask the driver how he's doing, smile, wish him a good day. And so on. I realize this will do nothing to reduce the danger from random idiot drivers, but it does a lot to improve my attitude towards drivers. Being aggressively friendly to them seems to relax things generally.
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Old 07-07-17, 10:28 AM   #14
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I shout. I figure this marginally helps others notice me, and rarely (very rarely) the driver that made me shout has apologized.
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Old 07-07-17, 10:38 AM   #15
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I'll shout too. I'll shout "WATCHOUT" as I pass pedestrians that forces me to slowdown to a crawl because they are all over the path and can't hear my warning because of their headphones. The startling in their face when I shout as I pass them makes it for the inconvenience
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Old 07-07-17, 10:45 AM   #16
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Deep breathing. Sometimes it helps to pull over for a bit and relax if I find myself still thinking about an encounter after 10-15 minutes.

Thankfully, in Portland, everyone drives like a professional safety instructor.

Oh...and sarcasm. I deal with a lot of things through passive-aggressive sarcasm.
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Old 07-07-17, 10:49 AM   #17
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Old 07-07-17, 11:17 AM   #18
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When I do get riled up, I don't want to look like an idiot reacting angrily. There's no telling who's watching.
This is what I try to do.
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Old 07-07-17, 11:28 AM   #19
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I try to be an adult about it, but that usually fails. So, I shout expletives and use a few common hand signals.
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Old 07-07-17, 11:47 AM   #20
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Here's a good mantra I try to remind myself in times like this -

If Others Disrespect Me Or Give Me Flack
I'll Stop And Think Before I React
Knowing That They're Going Through Insecure Stages
I'll Take The Opportunity To Exercise Patience
I'll See It As A Chance To Help The Other Person
Nip It In The Bud Before It Can Worsen

It seems to help but i'm sure even MLK Jr. got miffed at times. Human nature being what it is and all.
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Old 07-07-17, 12:55 PM   #21
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I rode motorcycles for years and learned quick to control my actions, I pick my fights and while I'm on a bicycle is not the time or place unless it's unavoidable, take a deep breath and be glad that you survived that incident
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Old 07-07-17, 06:29 PM   #22
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I rode motorcycles for years and learned quick to control my actions, I pick my fights and while I'm on a bicycle is not the time or place unless it's unavoidable, take a deep breath and be glad that you survived that incident
About a month ago I was almost hit by a woman that never stopped or looked before turning right on a red light. Since she was turning to a school parking lot, I followed her and when she stopped, I told her she almost killed me and to be more careful. She apologized. Has her driving habit changed? Probably not, but I felt better after telling her, until I slid of gravel and fell over in the same parking lot
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Old 07-08-17, 05:52 PM   #23
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I think about filling my handlebar bag with rocks and throwing them at the offenders. So far, I only think about it.
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Old 07-08-17, 05:55 PM   #24
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I stick to bike trails. If you are biking in a road lane going 20 mph and the speed limit is 35, ya people are going to get mad. You are slowing down traffic and causing jams.
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Old 07-08-17, 07:36 PM   #25
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I tend to drift into the middle of the lane flashing the middle finger shouting as loud as I can hoping they hear me or see my finger in their mirror.
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