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Old 02-29-08, 07:37 AM   #1
Mr. Underbridge
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Ragin' cager in VA!

This was a sweet guy. Cyclist going other way as me on the W&OD trail in Reston, VA crosses a road at a light. He may have still been in the road when the light turned green, not sure. After he passes, jackass in an SUV screams "Get out of the road mother******, I hope I kill you next time!"

Wow. I mean, the cursing sure, I get that, but actually telling another person you hope you KILL them? What the hell is wrong with people?

In case the guy threatened reads this board (and I know a fair number of commuters on that trail do), I got yer back. And I got a good look at his car and a bit of a look at him if this should be a problem again.
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Old 02-29-08, 08:01 AM   #2
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What drives me nuts on the WOD is the light at Gallows Road. People think that because no car traffic is going the other way, it's no big deal to run the light a good 5 seconds after the light. They also tend to gridlock the whole crossing lane when traffic is busy. I've been meaning to drop a line to the Vienna police about this.
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Old 02-29-08, 10:52 AM   #3
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What drives me nuts on the WOD is the light at Gallows Road. People think that because no car traffic is going the other way, it's no big deal to run the light a good 5 seconds after the light. They also tend to gridlock the whole crossing lane when traffic is busy. I've been meaning to drop a line to the Vienna police about this.
+1

my teammates and i have talked about putting some comfy chairs by the trail at gallows road so we could just hit the button to cross, stop traffic, then sit there with our feet up while watching the drivers get PO'd.
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Old 02-29-08, 11:04 AM   #4
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+1

my teammates and i have talked about putting some comfy chairs by the trail at gallows road so we could just hit the button to cross, stop traffic, then sit there with our feet up while watching the drivers get PO'd.
What a great idea! I would join you if I still lived in DC!
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Old 02-29-08, 11:19 AM   #5
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Wow. I lived in DC for ten years and pedaled many miles on the metro area roads and bicycle paths (as well as the C&O Canal). I always thought of the DC metro area as a place with miles of wonderful bicycle paths and routes, among some of the most hostile drivers in the world.

Road rage is an epidemic there, with many car commuters trapped in their vehicles for well over an hour just to get 10 miles or so. My wife and I didn't own a car most of the years we lived there, but when we would rent a Zip car to run errands up Rockville Pike or around the beltway... we just couldn't understand how anyone tolerates driving in that mess every day. One of my favorite after-work activities was to leave my office in Northwest DC and pedal down the Capital Crescent trail to the C&O towpath. I would stop on the bicycle/pedestrian bridge that goes over Canal road where all the cars line up waiting to get onto Chain Bridge. It was like looking down into a pit of hell. There I was 15 minutes after leaving the office, enjoying a bicycle ride down a nice path. And here were all these people (some of them my coworkers) already sitting in traffic that barely moves... their drive home just starting. I would often continue pedaling down underneath the hordes of cars idling on the Key and Memorial bridges, all the way to Old Town Alexandria... no doubt arriving well before many of those cars I passed along the way.

The DC Metro area would be a truly fantastic place to ride if you didn't have to breath so much car exhaust and worry about SUV drivers who want to kill you. I experienced plenty of hostility pedaling around there myself.

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Old 02-29-08, 11:56 AM   #6
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I often wonder if the cagers are so hostile because their having such a rough time and they see cyclists cruising by with smiles on their faces having a good time. Misery loves company
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Old 02-29-08, 12:16 PM   #7
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I often wonder if the cagers are so hostile because their having such a rough time and they see cyclists cruising by with smiles on their faces having a good time. Misery loves company
That's my guess. In the center of Woodinville, I've gotten a couple of unintelligible hollers as I've zipped down the bike lane past a line of backed up cars.
My favourite comment recently was as I stood up to start cranking past a line of slowed traffic on Novelty Hill. I wasn't watching my mirror and I heard from the car next to me, "Hey! Nice butt!"
When I looked over, it was my fiancee on her way home from work.
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Old 02-29-08, 12:20 PM   #8
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Heh. You have to be careful. One day on the way home I hear an engine rev and a long horn blast. My hand came up, all set to fly the bird, when I realized it was my wife having a bit of fun with me. My kids were in the car so I'm so glad I didn't flip the finger.
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Old 02-29-08, 12:21 PM   #9
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I often wonder if the cagers are so hostile because their having such a rough time and they see cyclists cruising by with smiles on their faces having a good time. Misery loves company
The thing about motor vehicles that has disturbed me for a long time now--well before I started riding again--is that cars, trucks, or whatever act as another layer of insulation between the people in them and everything else "out there." I mean we all live some sort of illusory existence anyway--a combination of unpredictable firings off of memories, current-moment sensations, consciously deliberated rationalizations, and deep-seated desires and urges that we don't really understand anyway--and then we roll up that whole mess and wrap ourselves up in a contraption that, if considered from a different perspective (like, say, from a bicycle) makes absolutely no freaking sense, and takes us even further from the actual world we live in!

I guess, then, that it's to be expected that we will get these raging, anonymous expressions of blood lust from time to time. I think the urge to crush, kill, fold, staple, or mutilate actually stems from fear. Most people aren't willing to admit it, if they even get to where they can understand it.

I always try, and not always successfully, to remind myself that these things happen because people are frightened deep-down and don't even know why.

Dennis Hopper (as Billy): "Yeah, well that don't make 'em runnin' scared, man."

Jack Nicholson (as George Hanson): "No, it makes 'em dangerous..."
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Old 02-29-08, 01:04 PM   #10
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I have not had my life threatened before, but wow, some of the stories I read here make my jaw drop. And these threats, for what? Because some schmuck driver gets delayed by seconds (more like milliseconds)? Often times they have too much time on their hands to make the effort to slow down and spout off.

If I make a mistake, fine, honk the horn, but get on with life! Motorists nowadays are getting too comfy in what they consider armored shield anonymity (they forget about plate numbers though - must be the $4 cappuccinos rattling their cages.).

Be safe in DC man and great job covering the other cyclist!
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Old 02-29-08, 06:01 PM   #11
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Not suprised in the least.

My favorite cage rage situation happened to me this past summer. A beautiful day, left work a bit early - sunny, warm and clear. So I had just finished going up a large hill on a busy street. It's nice and wide really so even though there can be lots of traffic (not on this day since it was early), bikes pretty much never hold anyone up. I'm the only bike out there at the time. As I'm nearing the pullout of a 7-11 at the top of the hill, on my right, I see a car start pulling out. "No problem," I think. There's no traffic behind me, no one coming from the other direction, so he's got a clean exit with plenty of room. So he starts accelerating, turning to his left to cross my line of direction. He stops - in the middle of the street. And doesn't move. And doesn't move. As I'm pulling up to him, his window rolls down and he starts SCREAMING at me, literally going NUTS! According to him I shouldn't be on the street and I'M the one blocking traffic! Still blocking the road! So I am forced to go around back of him, onto the sidewalk. After I safely pass him (he's STILL parked in the middle of the road), I manage to yell something back like "I have a right to be on the street..." just shocked. It was crazy - I wasn't really scared, but just incredulous that he actually waited for me to get to him, and completely premeditated the encounter just because I was on a bike. I watch out for his car all the time now, still.
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Old 02-29-08, 09:48 PM   #12
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... we just couldn't understand how anyone tolerates driving in that mess every day.
I don't understand it, either. I dread having to drive any time between about 3:30 and 8 PM. I had to make an effort to find a place to live within the same neighborhood of my workplace. Thank goodness I'm still single, because I couldn't afford anything big enough to raise a family and still be this close to work.
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Old 03-03-08, 06:30 AM   #13
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I very much enjoy cycling and cycle commuting on DC roadways. One of the many reasons I enjoy it is that the sheer volume of traffic keeps overtaking vehicle speeds low. The fact that I am overtaking almost as frequently as being overtaken gives me a sense of control that I don't have on high-speed roadways.

As regards "cager rage": Cyclists are convenient and vulnerable targets of frustration at poor choices (such as purchasing a luxury race car that never gets out of first gear, living in a McMansion in Leesburg, etc). A favorite DC motorist move is to pass a cyclist while unnecessarily leaning on the horn. Since I fully anticipate such daily "courtesies", it never startles me. The key is to keep your bearing and enjoy your commute.

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Old 03-03-08, 06:47 AM   #14
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The thing about motor vehicles that has disturbed me for a long time now--well before I started riding again--is that cars, trucks, or whatever act as another layer of insulation between the people in them and everything else "out there."
True, that. This phenomenon is the vehicular equivalent of "beer muscles".

Many years ago I was a USCF racer, and trained almost daily with a group of four or so riders. One time a pickup intentionally buzzed our paceline while shouting insults--his rearview mirror narrowly missed our (leather-helmeted) heads. One of my teammates sprinted off in pursuit. He managed to catch up with the perp at a stop light. The perp wouldn't leave the safety of his truck cabin (which was a good thing, since my teammate was also an accomplished boxer). My teammate quickly transformed what was a very nice pickup truck into a not-so-nice pickup truck.

Tough guys tend to become not-so-tough when things get up-close and personal.
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Old 03-03-08, 07:23 AM   #15
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If I make a mistake, fine, honk the horn, but get on with life! Motorists nowadays are getting too comfy in what they consider armored shield anonymity (they forget about plate numbers though - must be the $4 cappuccinos rattling their cages.).
My experience has been that the MPD have little interest in following up on crimes against cyclists, so the plate number would be of little value, unless you are clearly injured and have willing witnesses to the assault. Failing that, it's your word against the motorists, and the MPD will tell you as much. Be safe out there.
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Old 03-03-08, 07:35 AM   #16
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This was a sweet guy. Cyclist going other way as me on the W&OD trail in Reston, VA crosses a road at a light. He may have still been in the road when the light turned green, not sure. After he passes, jackass in an SUV screams "Get out of the road mother******, I hope I kill you next time!"

Wow. I mean, the cursing sure, I get that, but actually telling another person you hope you KILL them? What the hell is wrong with people?

In case the guy threatened reads this board (and I know a fair number of commuters on that trail do), I got yer back. And I got a good look at his car and a bit of a look at him if this should be a problem again.
Wasn't me. Was this at Wiele? That's the one crossing in Reston that I don't like very much.

I just don't get how people can go through life with so much anger pent up inside of them.
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Old 03-03-08, 07:46 AM   #17
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I ride in a similarly hostile area and what I find defies logic other than the need to
go all out just to get to the red lite 50 yards up the road and wait another 5 minutes is
there seems to be a pecking order of stuff thats OK to slow down for if you are in a car.
Bicyclists are bad, but a stopped car on the other side of the divided hi-way is OK.....
huh ? a whole lane of traffic almost coming to a complete stop to look at a car getting
jump started.....Interesting LAst week A jeep was caught fire in a parking lot
of the quicky mart well off the hi-way but a hillbilly veered around the corner and locked
his brakes up to look at the Fire Dept. commotion causing a chain wreck behind him.
This stuff is OK to slow for, but a human on a bike isnt. Go figure.
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Old 03-03-08, 09:53 AM   #18
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Even with the lights at Maple Street, Gallows (and now Elden Street in Herndon), I assume that drivers are going to run the lights until they actually slow to stop. (and I've been right more times that I can count). If I'm stopped at one of the lights, and I see someone start to gun the engine to beat the red light, I'll act like I'm moving out into the intersection (just enough for them to see me), and lay on the AirZound.

I'm not going to run out in front of anyone, but it's the only way I can get them to pay attention to the light. I was in the intersection @ Elden street (with the new light), and some guy in a BMW convertible blew right through it without even slowing down.
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Old 03-05-08, 03:43 PM   #19
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well said, the pecking order thing is true. Cars will blow past me at full throttle as soon as they can squeeze past with inches to spare, I see the red light half a block ahead with the line of cars... shouldn't they or is it just OK to sit and wait behind a car but not a bike? Maybe if we firebombed 50% of the cars on the road, the other 50% would just stop and stare... leaving the roads open for the sane people (who firebomb cars)

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10- cyclist in spandex
9- cyclist in plain cloths
8- animals
7- pedestrian
6- pregnant woman pushing stroller
5- car
4- ambulance
3- burning car
2- burning ambulance
1- george bush in a car
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Old 03-06-08, 07:13 AM   #20
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+1

my teammates and i have talked about putting some comfy chairs by the trail at gallows road so we could just hit the button to cross, stop traffic, then sit there with our feet up while watching the drivers get PO'd.

I would like to be there for that.
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Old 03-06-08, 08:44 AM   #21
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I would like to be there for that.
Yeah, but you usually have to wait a while once you push the button before the signal changes..
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Old 03-06-08, 09:52 AM   #22
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My hand came up, all set to fly the bird, when I realized it was my wife having a bit of fun with me. My kids were in the car so I'm so glad I didn't flip the finger.
This is one reason why I have worked to replace the bird with the hard thumb-down in my reflexes. Plus, a thumbs down doesn't quite produce the level of antagonism that can justify the act in the first place.
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Old 03-06-08, 10:14 AM   #23
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I would like to be there for that.
since we commute part way together so often, of course you'll be there :-D
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Old 03-06-08, 11:34 AM   #24
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I was heading down my final stretch towards home yesterday (despite the killer headwind - UGH!). Turned on to Franklin Farm road, which is a wide, residential road, with a 30MPH speed limit. I'm doing 25+ down the road (in the right tire track), when some woman put her window down and SCREAMED "GET ON THE BIKE TRAIL!"

Now, there IS a paved trail next to the road, but since it winds back and forth between trees and ponds, it's more suited to pedestrians, joggers and recreational riders....

I passed her when she had to wait behind someone turning left (there was at least a 6 foot shoulder at that point) - she gunned the engine and laid on the horn when she finally passed me again.

At the light, it expanded to two lanes - in the right lane (she's in the left lane) I passed her one more time - she yelled - "YOU'RE GOING TO CAUSE AN ACCIDENT AND KILL SOME KID OUT HERE!"

I'm not sure what logic she was using, but I wasn't blocking anyone's way, wasn't swerving, and (thankfully) there aren't any kids playing in the street in a 30MPH zone. If I were on the trail, I'd be much MORE likely to cause an accident, because I'd be riding with slower users of the trail.

So, I'm just left wondering what sort of mental issue she was suffering from. At least I have the license plate and car type if I see her again...
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Old 03-06-08, 09:07 PM   #25
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some woman put her window down and SCREAMED "GET ON THE BIKE TRAIL!"
You are under no obligation to use any "bike trail", even if one is readily or conveniently available. Ignore unsolicited opinions shouted from automobiles. You are a vehicle operator. No need to defend your option.

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At least I have the license plate and car type if I see her again...
What could you or would you do with this information?
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