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Old 05-13-08, 04:55 PM   #1
HumbleGrendel
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Buzzed by a car - and you know where they live

Yesterday I'm almost home going up a very steep curvy hill in a low traffic neighborhood and I'm buzzed. Tires squealed as he went by within 12 inches of me. I was mad enough when I got home to do some creative cybersleuthing to find where he lives. (I had the license plate and it was in a dead-end neighborhood that connects to a bike path with a finite number of houses.) I'm 100% sure on the house, but obviously can't be sure who was driving. (Thanks to facebook my best guess is that it's the guy who graduated in 06 and still living at mommy and daddy's house)

What would you do? This is on my preferred route home and I'm not exactly anonymous since I'm probably the only cyclist that travels this particular hill. After determining that petty acts of vandilism are beneath me, I considered knocking on the door, and then thought about a "nice" letter. (e.g. "I'm a neighbor, a father . . . blah blah . . . I don't appreciate being buzzed . . . think about your actions . . . yada yada)

My beautiful hormonal and pregnant wife doesn't think I should do anything as she thinks that it could just antogonize him further. My thoughts are I just want to send a message that he's not as anonmous as he thought he was when buzzing a cyclist in a dead-end neighborhood and to knock it off.

It's tempting to do something since I was actually able to identify one of the jerks on the road that like endangering cyclists. However, in the end, all I want is to make it home safely each day.
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Old 05-13-08, 05:02 PM   #2
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What exactly happened? If the tires squealed, could it be because he only saw you at the last minute and braked or swerved?
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Old 05-13-08, 05:09 PM   #3
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How do you establish malice, rather than incompetance, which is far more common?

Paul
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Old 05-13-08, 05:10 PM   #4
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It just depends, so many options. If you already have a tape recorder probably could slip it in your pocket and knock on the kid's door, see who answers, see what they say. There's a very good likelihood they will nod their head and agree with you. Theres a small chance they would get defensive and use choice words or threats (you wouldn't think so, but sadly this class of people can be found everywhere). I would consider this route if you do have a recorder as I said, or alternately if you have pretty good faith they are just going to nod their head and agree.

I also like the note idea. Just make sure it sounds very professional.
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Old 05-13-08, 05:12 PM   #5
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Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity.... (attributed to Heinlein).
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Old 05-13-08, 05:13 PM   #6
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How do you establish malice, rather than incompetance, which is far more common?

Paul

Yeah that is a problem. While it's possible (although unlikely) that he always drives like that and just didn't see me in my high-vis jacket and blinky lights, the culpability is still there for driving recklessly.
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Old 05-13-08, 05:16 PM   #7
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Blow it Off. You don't seem to Know for sure Who was at the wheel.
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Old 05-13-08, 05:17 PM   #8
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I'd go to the house and talk to them.
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Old 05-13-08, 05:17 PM   #9
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I would find out who the parents are and mail the letter that you're talking about to them. Have them take it out on his ass. Other than that, I can't think of anything that you could do. Legally... Illegally, I can think of TONS of things you can do.
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Old 05-13-08, 05:22 PM   #10
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From your (non)descriptive post, sounds like the guy's a terrible driver. 12 inches is still a lot of space though, even if not optimal.
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Old 05-13-08, 05:27 PM   #11
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You will encounter them on the road again in the future if this is your regular route and they live in the neighborhood. Next time just smile and wave to them before they have a chance to initiate 'communication' - that will accomplish your wife's request to not "antagonize further" and your message "he's not as anonymous as he thought he was"

Did tires start to squeal before, during or after passing? Acceleration or hard slowing?
Do you have a mirror? That can help spot this vehicle before it passes you next time.

Al

Last edited by noisebeam; 05-13-08 at 06:04 PM.
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Old 05-13-08, 05:36 PM   #12
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From your (non)descriptive post, sounds like the guy's a terrible driver. 12 inches is still a lot of space though, even if not optimal.
I'll try to be a little more (non)descriptive: A car passed within 12 inches and I think it was intentional and I'm not comfortable with a car passing within 12 inches. In WA, the law says that cars must pass with at least 3 feet. It was daytime, the weather was clear, the sun was not at an angle to impair vision. There was no on-coming traffic.
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Old 05-13-08, 06:05 PM   #13
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I'll try to be a little more (non)descriptive: A car passed within 12 inches and I think it was intentional and I'm not comfortable with a car passing within 12 inches. In WA, the law says that cars must pass with at least 3 feet. It was daytime, the weather was clear, the sun was not at an angle to impair vision. There was no on-coming traffic.
I had a King County Parks and Rec truck buzz me coming down 128th last night on my way home. You'd think that if anyone would know the laws, it might be them... sadly, that's not the case.
45mph (in a 40mph zone, mind you... so I was speeding by 5mph) and this wang strangler passed me very slowly and very close. He was barely doing 50, because I had a chance to slap his window as he slowly inched past me. Same road conditions as yours: Nice day, no sun glare, no traffic.
Sure the law says 3 feet, but don't count on it actually happening.
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Old 05-13-08, 06:44 PM   #14
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I'll try to be a little more (non)descriptive: A car passed within 12 inches and I think it was intentional and I'm not comfortable with a car passing within 12 inches. In WA, the law says that cars must pass with at least 3 feet. It was daytime, the weather was clear, the sun was not at an angle to impair vision. There was no on-coming traffic.
Send your hormonal pregnant wife over to go off on the guy. It always scared the hell out of me.

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Old 05-13-08, 06:46 PM   #15
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  1. Print out relevant road rules.
  2. Dress in regular clothing.
  3. Knock on door.
  4. Initiate dialog.
  5. Hope for discussion, be prepared for conflict.
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Old 05-13-08, 07:21 PM   #16
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Yesterday I'm almost home going up a very steep curvy hill in a low traffic neighborhood and I'm buzzed. Tires squealed as he went by within 12 inches of me. I was mad enough when I got home to do some creative cybersleuthing to find where he lives. (I had the license plate and it was in a dead-end neighborhood that connects to a bike path with a finite number of houses.) I'm 100% sure on the house, but obviously can't be sure who was driving. (Thanks to facebook my best guess is that it's the guy who graduated in 06 and still living at mommy and daddy's house)

What would you do? This is on my preferred route home and I'm not exactly anonymous since I'm probably the only cyclist that travels this particular hill. After determining that petty acts of vandilism are beneath me, I considered knocking on the door, and then thought about a "nice" letter. (e.g. "I'm a neighbor, a father . . . blah blah . . . I don't appreciate being buzzed . . . think about your actions . . . yada yada)

My beautiful hormonal and pregnant wife doesn't think I should do anything as she thinks that it could just antogonize him further. My thoughts are I just want to send a message that he's not as anonmous as he thought he was when buzzing a cyclist in a dead-end neighborhood and to knock it off.

It's tempting to do something since I was actually able to identify one of the jerks on the road that like endangering cyclists. However, in the end, all I want is to make it home safely each day.
I'd let it go; however, If you come across the same car/guy again and he does a repeat performance then game on!
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Old 05-13-08, 07:51 PM   #17
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I'd let it go; however, If you come across the same car/guy again and he does a repeat performance then game on!
I agree with this. A foot of space is closer than I like, but it happens to me daily.

Just last week I was riding down my 35mph street in the center of the lane approaching a 3-way stop with 1 car already at the sign in the lane coming towards me. I signaled that I was stopping. I stopped at the sign an put out my left arm to signal that I was going to turn left. A car came up behind me, slowed to maybe 15-20mph, drove partially UNDER my outstretched arm while halfway into the oncoming lane, blew the stopsign I was waiting at and then dove back into the correct lane so he wouldn't hit the other driver still waiting at the sign. I could not believe that just happened. The car then pulled into a very small neighborhood just 100 yards past the stop sign. I don't know what the rush was all about, but I do know where she lives.
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Old 05-13-08, 08:15 PM   #18
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Get a camera and strap it to your helmet. They make them just for strapping to helmets and are small so you don't look Fred at all. Keep two SD cards, one in the camera recording all the time and the second so you can remove it and keep the video of someone being stupid and continue recording on the second SD card. Next time this JAM or another does that to you simply drop by your police office, file a compliant, show them the video, and if your in a state that allows automatic camera traffic tickets be mailed to the owner expect to be summoned to court as a witness to there reckless driving and subsequent heavy fine. I love the smell of burning hot Judges in court as they view near death videos that look worse on video than when it happened. The JAMs get that "oh frack I'm dead" look about them as they view the video as well. You also catch fun youtube fodder as well.
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Old 05-13-08, 08:21 PM   #19
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if i know the car/licenseplate i just break the sideview mirror off a few weeks after...oops
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Old 05-13-08, 08:45 PM   #20
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if i know the car/licenseplate i just break the sideview mirror off a few weeks after...oops
nice...
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Old 05-13-08, 08:45 PM   #21
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if i know the car/licenseplate i just break the sideview mirror off a few weeks after...oops
Nice. I'm not one to advocate "U-lock justice" but I like it.

And yes, 12" is not terrible. Could have been much worse!
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Old 05-13-08, 09:07 PM   #22
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I'd let it go; however, If you come across the same car/guy again and he does a repeat performance then game on!
+1
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Old 05-13-08, 10:37 PM   #23
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I'd let it go; however, If you come across the same car/guy again and he does a repeat performance then game on!
Yeah that does sound like best advice. Thanks everyone for your input!

For those who can shrug off a 12 inch pass easier than me, I get much less upset when it doesn't appear to be an intentional act. It's no less dangerous, but I can understand that many drivers aren't fully aware of their surroundings or don't know how to handle a bicycle mixed in with traffic.
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Old 05-14-08, 01:37 AM   #24
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Something similar happened to me me a couple of months ago. One of my dear neighbors was following me into our condo development from the main highway (it's a slightly downhill divided entrance/exit road that S-bends past a traffic circle with Metro bus stop used by Metro, University shuttle and County school buses, and there's also a new Friends school entrance there). This idiot got inches away from my rear tire while blaring her horn and screaming, "You ain't no car!"

When she parked a little ways down the lot (next building down from mine), I called out, "Hey lady!!" and started walking that way--she scuttled into her building as quickly as her fat ass would carry her.

I let it go recognizing as I did that stupidity is its own defense against itself--though I strongly considered slashing the sidewalls of both passenger-side tires (still an option ).

Last week I found myself behind her out on the highway in the left-hand turn lane coming in to "our" development. I had long enough to let a wad of spit descend next to her driver's side window, and I made a point of staying right in her rear view after the light turned green and we all started in (there were other cars coming in, too). What did she do? She peeled out early up the wrong way on the one-way loop around the development.

The saga is still unfolding...
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Old 05-14-08, 02:18 AM   #25
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I would just report the plate number to my local sheriff's office. Sure, they can't ticket the driver unless a deputy witnessed the incident, but they can send somebody out to have a talk with the driver.
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