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Old 07-06-06, 09:23 AM   #1
Bklyn
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Taxis: The Menace Among Us (*rant*)

Weird cab confrontations on the way in.

I.
In the left-turn lane, I notice a cab doing the noncommital two-lane straddle. I just know he's going to slide into my lane on top of me, and he does. We're going slow enough that I can avoid injury, but I yell for him to use his turn signal. When I pass him (which infuriates him), he hollers something I can't understand. (He's like a caricature of a Chinese cabdriver, straight out of a Tintin comic. His head looks like a shrunken apple.) I tell him to use his signal. "I never make signal!" he bellows. "Never!"
Huh?

II.
Cab in the bike lane at Sixth Ave. and 37th Street. I wait behind him for the light, but he doesn't move when the light is green. He's just parked there. I squeeze by and tell him to get out of the bike lane. (This guy is a caricature of a subcontinental Muslim cabdriver: spotless white gown and knit cap, big full beard. It's like Central Casting arranged my morning commute.) This guy barks at me so I tell him to get the f*ck out of the bike lane. That did it. He roars behind me, then pulls alongside, gunning his engine. I slow down, he slows down. I speed up...you get the picture. He's inches away from me. I'm in acutal danger here. A bike messenger blows by on the other side of the cab and yells at the taxi, "Come, on, man! I'll smoke your ass!" (That was a real help.) The driver leans out and yells at me: "Why you have to swear at me! Why you have to swear at me?" When he put it like that, I could see how running down a bicyclist would be the natural response.
Good luck, though: a police cruiser is parked in the next block. I pull up and tell the cops that this cab is trying to run me off the road. Faced with losing his medallion, the driver stops dead (in the middle of the lane!), gets out and pleads his case to the cops. "He was swearing!"


Ah, the melting pot. I'm sure there's a lesson in there somewhere. But the truth is, yellow taxis are much more predictable than the black Lincoln car services....
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Old 07-06-06, 09:35 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Bklyn
"I never make signal!" he bellows. "Never!" ....
Ha! At least he was honest.

Awhile back, I was out riding at night. A cabbie cuts across 4 lanes from the right on 2nd ave to the left, never signalling, barely missing me and a couple of cars, as he does it. I catch him at a light & tell him to SIGNAL and LOOK. The 2 drivers are yelling at him as well.

Cabbie looks at me & says: Why are you out at night riding your bicycle!?!!? YOU ARE WASTING YOUR LIFE! GO HOME AND SLEEP!!!!!" I laughed and laughed.
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Old 07-06-06, 09:59 AM   #3
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On the night of July fourth, I crossed an intersection just as a cabbie blew past me and through the stop sign on the street on my right (I was plenty visible with lights and all). I caught up to him five seconds later where he was stopped at a red light, and asked him what he was waiting for. He responded with "f*** you, ass****."
So I ran the light ahead of us and was on my way. Yes, I recognize the irony.
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Old 07-06-06, 10:11 AM   #4
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cabbies definitely are the least courteous drivers. I'm often startled by how close they buzz me when they pass.
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Old 07-06-06, 10:34 AM   #5
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Some cabbies are completely clueless. I say some cuz I've encountered some courteous ones as well. I was hit by one cabbie's side view mirror once. Not enough to hurt or even leave a mark, but it made contact. So I knocked on his window and yelled to him that he hit me. He said something I couldn't hear and the passenger in back threw her hands up like she couldn't believe I was going to delay her from getting where she was going to. Of course I had to yell b/c the cabbie never rolled down his window. So I figured a visual would be more effective. I stared at his medallion number, pulled out my phone, typed it into a text message, then smiled and rode off. He probably ***** his pants when he realized he could lose his license.
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Old 07-06-06, 10:38 AM   #6
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overall, my encounters with cabbies have been pretty average compared to other drivers. some bad experiences, some actually good. i couldn't imagine doing what they do for a living and remaining a level headed, calm, and patient person. i couldn't hack it being a cabbie.
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Old 07-06-06, 10:41 AM   #7
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The thing about NYC cab and gypsy cab drivers (and most everyone with NJ plates, for that matter) is that you don't have to be on a bike to have your life threatened by those people. Before I started biking to work, I walked home on a regular basis, and I had 2 or 3 close calls every night. I was safest jaywalking, because I'd make sure there were no cars in the vicinity before sprinting across the street (sad but true).

I work along Park Ave South, and a couple of weeks ago I headed out of the building for lunch. If you're familiar with PAS, you know that vehicles are very agressive at making left turns, and God help you if you're in their way (I guess drivers figure a pedestrian or 3 will cause less damage to their vehicle than the oncoming car they're turning in front of). Anyway, a few feet in front of me a fellow is crossing the street and a truck nearly takes him out. I can't say if the driver saw him or not, or if he just didn't care. Anyway, a few seconds later I'm now crossing the street, and a cab does the same thing to me! I really had to jump to avoid becoming a hood ornament.

Problem is, these things often happen so quickly and your instinct is self-preservation that you don't have a chance to catch a license plate or medallion number to report the SOBs.
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Old 07-06-06, 10:52 AM   #8
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I see so many threads on bikeforums where peoples initial response to things is to swear and yell and be aggressive. Every so-often someone picks them up on it, and the response is "Hey, I'm from New York". I had a girlfriend from NY once (I live in England), and she ALSO thought that rudeness was a virtue. It isn't. And by using "Hey, I'm from NY, whaddya expect" a standard excuse for every kind of bad behaviour, the above is the result.

Cabbies in London can be pretty bad, but not like that. It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice! (not having a go at the OP, more at the NY attitude in general. If you think 'tude is a good thing, you're bound to end up recieving some!)
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Old 07-06-06, 11:05 AM   #9
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Cabs can seem a pain, but in fact they're a bonus for cyclists.
1. They help keep some of the drunks off the road.
2. They're very skilled. If they miss you by an inch, that's what they intended.
3. They help keep car traffic down, by providing a sense of security to people who are thinking of commuting on foot or public transit ("if it's late or I'm tired, I can always take a cab".)
4. They can quickly call for help if there's an accident.

Last edited by cooker; 07-06-06 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 07-06-06, 11:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammyboy
I see so many threads on bikeforums where peoples initial response to things is to swear and yell and be aggressive.... And by using "Hey, I'm from NY, whaddya expect" a standard excuse for every kind of bad behaviour, the above is the result.
You're quite right. Using profanity is a failure of the imagination -- but it gets the point across that you're taking up an adversarial position. And it does so economically. And it's not ambiguous. But yes, I'd love to be the Zen master who avoids all conflict. Maybe that's the lesson: that which doesn't kill me never needs to know how close it came.
I mean, am I really going to instruct the first driver to use his turn signal? And will the second driver ever learn that parking in the bike lane gets him a ticket?
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Old 07-06-06, 11:31 AM   #11
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Cabs can seem a pain, but in fact they're a bonus for cyclists.
They zoom down a dead end neighborhood street (Speed limit 25 mph) at 50+ mph, slam on their brakes and squeal their tires when they realize it's a dead end. (The big sign at the other end of the street wasn't enough?)

I start walking out towards him, he throws it in reverse, and starts backing up (going about 20 in reverse!) Barely misses me, backs across the street at the end, then makes a left turn and goes around.

I see him on the other side of the creek, looking for an address.... Then he comes BACK to our block, and pulls into the parking lot across from us!

I got his cab number while he's waiting for his fare, and called in a report... right in front of him... the whole time, he's sitting there glaring at me.

I never did hear back from the cab company. *shrugs*
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Old 07-06-06, 11:40 AM   #12
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It's not that the drivers are inherently evil; it's their situation, and I don't envy it at all. The only way for a hack to make money is to literally race from fare to fare. A cab driver makes the bulk of his wages on each new pickup, the shorter the ride, the better. Also, they're all competing for the same fares, so a turn signal probably is a competitive weakness. It's like Zidane pointing to the lower left before he takes the penalty kick....
Plus they're driving cars that they don't own!
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Old 07-06-06, 03:12 PM   #13
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To truly irritate a cab driver, at a light, open one of their back doors. Of course, this only works if nobody is in the back.
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Old 07-06-06, 03:15 PM   #14
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To truly irritate a cab driver, at a light, open one of their back doors. Of course, this only works if nobody is in the back.
haha. that's great. never thought of that before.
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Old 07-06-06, 03:42 PM   #15
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Good cabbies (with respect to cyclists) are rare but they are out there. It's amazing that a cop was in the right place at the right time for you today to help with a bad cabbie!
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Old 07-06-06, 03:50 PM   #16
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To truly irritate a cab driver, at a light, open one of their back doors. Of course, this only works if nobody is in the back.
Then they can pull alongside you, jam on the brakes, and spank you or your bike with the door.
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Old 07-06-06, 04:04 PM   #17
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It's amazing that a cop was in the right place at the right time for you today to help with a bad cabbie!
No kidding. But these guys didn't look too interested in intervening at all. I took off before they could even respond.
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Old 07-06-06, 04:07 PM   #18
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To truly irritate a cab driver, at a light, open one of their back doors. Of course, this only works if nobody is in the back.
I wouldn't recommend it.
I actually did this once, as a passenger. The cab driver made some racist remark about a cab driver ahead of us. We were locked in traffic. I figured, I didn't have to pay this guy to offend me, so I got out and walked away, leaving the door open in a SoHo traffic jam. It was the one time I thought I might actually be beaten to the ground -- the guy bolted from his side so furiously and with such malice. He didn't demand I pay my fare, but the door was too much for him. I came back and shut it.
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