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Old 01-05-10, 10:40 PM   #1
woodway
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"...I was going to flip him off back but..."

Commuting home tonite on a two-lane city street with a center turn lane. I'm coasting to a stop at a traffic light, standing on my left pedal, my right foot unclipped getting ready to stop my front wheel on the little "X" painted in the road so that my bike triggers the traffic signal to change.

I am about 50 feet from my stopping point when a large sedan muscles in beside me, just inches away, and stops next to me at the light. The "X" that I was aiming for is painted about 1/3 of the way into the lane, so the car is partially in my lane and partially in the left turn lane.

I look over and the driver is a man who is yakking on his cellphone, seemingly oblivious to me. I thump on the passenger window and give him a "what the hell, give me some room". His response? He flips me off and says "f-you". This pissed me off.

First, I was going to flip him off back but I realized I was wearing my lobster mitt gloves and the bird would not be very effective. Then I thought about squirting some water at his window, but it was already raining, so that would not been effective. Then, I spotted the passenger side windshield wiper, and without even thinking about it, I reached over and grabbed it near the hinged base and flipped it into the up position. I knew that he would have to get out of his car to put it back down.

My normal route would have taken me straight down the road, but I did not want to be near this guy after our little confrontation, so without waiting for his reaction, I made a quick right turn and took a small detour before returning to my regular ride route.

After I cooled down, I realize what I did was stupid. I normally just roll with this kind of stupidity, but this act came at the end of a string of "stupid car tricks" that I have put up with over the past couple of days, and I reacted before my common sense kicked in. Now I guess I need to keep an eye out for this guy - retaliation could suck.
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Old 01-05-10, 10:44 PM   #2
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Hey at least you didn't rip it completely off.
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Old 01-06-10, 12:33 AM   #3
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Where is there a 'bike trigger' stoplight on your commute? I haven't seen any around here.

BTW, awesome trick with pulling up his wiper. I've gotta remember that one.
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Old 01-06-10, 01:20 AM   #4
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I totally sympathize with you! Seems like something like that happens to me at least once every couple of days. I usually just shake my head a little and let it pass. I remind myself that I'm dealing with a sub-IQ dolt that also happens to be behind the wheel of a couple of tons of steel that could cause a lot of damage. I swear that these days some people WOULD run you over if you just flipped them off. It's dangerous out there - no need to escalate small situations.

But that's just my opinion :-)
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Old 01-06-10, 01:42 AM   #5
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My rule is to ignore unless there's threat of physical contact, then the gloves come off and the jersey goes over his head. I would never, ever touch anyone's car. They are much faster than me on my bike on my best day.
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Old 01-06-10, 02:24 AM   #6
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I hear ya man I got the same problem. Sometimes I do stupid things too. Weapons of mass distraction, my friend! Try meditation or something to cool off. You might not wanna go over what happened again but it's best to sit somewhere quiet and just think about a plan so next time you don't do something that could get you in trouble.
People generally won't do anything unless you give them a reason to do it. Proven by your reaction to his wiper. Try communicating. If it was me I'd be like, "Maybe you should put your cell phone down and actually...I dunno...drive?" And if that doesn't work then...
Pick up a huge rock and drop it on his windshield, then take same rock and pound it once just infront of his gas cap and see if it stops his fuel pump .

And as always! Tell him to HAVE A NICE DAY! .
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Old 01-06-10, 05:08 AM   #7
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I don't think a bicycle has enough metal to trigger a signal light
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Old 01-06-10, 06:00 AM   #8
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Sometimes you should mark it up as aggressive driving and perhaps call the authorities. Get his license plate number and report the incident. I don't know about Washington but it's illegal to talk on the cell phone while driving.
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Old 01-06-10, 07:00 AM   #9
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I don't think a bicycle has enough metal to trigger a signal light
that depends on the signal. we have some new ones around here that my bike triggers quite well.
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Old 01-06-10, 07:17 AM   #10
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I don't think a bicycle has enough metal to trigger a signal light
I've never been unable to trigger a signal light. Remember, the signal sensor is electromagnetic, so the signal follows the inverse cube law. A pound of metal an inch from the sensor (your rim) has 1/(12^2) = 1/144th the effect of the same amount of metal 12 inches from the sensor. It's actually more than that since it's a loop of metal, so it reacts quite well with the signal.

The trick is, you have to know where the sensor is and put your wheel right over the loop. Given that, I've always been able to trigger light sensors.

Here's the standard reference for triggering lights with a bicycle:
http://www.humantransport.org/bicycl...nals/green.htm
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Old 01-06-10, 07:22 AM   #11
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Sometimes you should mark it up as aggressive driving and perhaps call the authorities. Get his license plate number and report the incident. I don't know about Washington but it's illegal to talk on the cell phone while driving.
It's a secondary offence here (meaning they have to pull you over for something else, like speeding). Our aggressive driver hotline is a waste. I've called twice (once driving, when a neighbour I'd been in a tiff with attempted to run me into a highway divider; once cycling when a driver kept swooping into the bike lane as we leapfrogged each other in a traffic backup) and neither time was there any response. I've been told "we'll send an officer that way, but unless the officer sees it happen, there's nothing we can do."

Which, to me, is the same as saying "just screw with them right back, as long as a cop doesn't catch you."
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Old 01-06-10, 07:25 AM   #12
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I'm going from the sensors around here. I'll roll up right on top of it and nothing happens. My gut sense is that a ton of iron over 75 sqft will register a larger signal than a vertical loop of aluminum that weighs 1/2lb
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Old 01-06-10, 07:27 AM   #13
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I
Here's the standard reference for triggering lights with a bicycle:
http://www.humantransport.org/bicycl...nals/green.htm
thx, looks like I should try again
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Old 01-06-10, 07:27 AM   #14
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Then, I spotted the passenger side windshield wiper, and without even thinking about it, I reached over and grabbed it near the hinged base and flipped it into the up position. I knew that he would have to get out of his car to put it back down.

Two things: 1. It is good that you realized that move wasn't so smart 2. ^ Is hilarious. I would have kicked the car before playing with the windshield. Thanks for the laugh.
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Old 01-06-10, 08:56 AM   #15
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You need one of these: http://www.hostelshoppe.com/cgi-bin/...ory=1015625493 If you had one all you'd have to do is blast him with it. Believe me he would hear it with the window up and over his phone conversation and likely the person on the other end would hear it too. Then all you'd have to do is nothing except smile while he is fumbling to get the phone back to his ear and looking around trying to figure out where it is coming from. He would not expect it to come from a bike.

I have had drivers do somethign similar to what this cager did and used my Air Zound, it is very effective. In fact one idiot cager had his window down and his arm resting on the edge of the door with the phone to his ear. Right when he cut me off I blasted the Air zound at him, when it startled him he dropped his phone outside his car and onto the street and it busted into several pieces. After he figured out it came from me I just stood there at the red light smiling at him. When he asked why I did that I stated he cut me off and almost hit me. As he was getting out of his car to pick up his phone the light turned green I told him next time stay off the phone as I rode past through the light, leaving him to pick up his busted phone.
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Old 01-06-10, 09:13 AM   #16
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I got the AirZound, had it since Monday and I only had to use once so far... on bunch of zombies jaywalking and crossing the street in front of me going 20mph. It was pretty ineffective in this situation, the kept walking with blank eyes. I think they might have been real zombies actually!

Also, what I learned is that getting aggressive and angry with drivers gives them the satisfaction of pissing me off. I think it hurts them more if I just stay calm, smile at them and say something like "you're such an idiot I really feel deeply sorry for your family".

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Old 01-06-10, 10:24 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
Where is there a 'bike trigger' stoplight on your commute? I haven't seen any around here.

BTW, awesome trick with pulling up his wiper. I've gotta remember that one.
Hey Clifton - downtown Bellevue, all the intersections are marked with little white "X"'s or bicycle symbols on the pavement showing you where to position your wheel to trigger the light. They work really well. This little "incident" took place at 110th Ave NE and NE 10th St.

Thinking more about it this morning, I am feeling even more remorseful that I lost my cool. Mainly because I don't want to run into this idiot again. New Years resolution: I won't lose my cool with drivers in 2010...
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Old 01-06-10, 10:28 AM   #18
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thx, looks like I should try again
If that stuff doesn't work, report the signal as broken. It's supposed to be able to detect any vehicle on the road.
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Old 01-06-10, 10:31 AM   #19
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Also, what I learned is that getting aggressive and angry with drivers gives them the satisfaction of pissing me off. I think it hurts them more if I just stay calm, smile at them and say something like "you're such an idiot I really feel deeply sorry for your family".

Adam
I've told this story before, but one of the only times I've been flipped off and cut off (drivers here are actually very nice), I just smiled and waved. He flipped me off again, more violently, after seeing that in his rear-view. I smiled and waved again, bigger. This went back and forth about 5 times, by the last time he had rolled his window down to throw the bird out the window. He seemed about apoplectic by then, and was driving a little erratically. I thought he was about to blow a vein. I was laughing by then, it was hilarious.
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Old 01-06-10, 10:33 AM   #20
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You need one of these: http://www.hostelshoppe.com/cgi-bin/...ory=1015625493 If you had one all you'd have to do is blast him with it. Believe me he would hear it with the window up and over his phone conversation and likely the person on the other end would hear it too. Then all you'd have to do is nothing except smile while he is fumbling to get the phone back to his ear and looking around trying to figure out where it is coming from. He would not expect it to come from a bike.

I have had drivers do somethign similar to what this cager did and used my Air Zound, it is very effective. In fact one idiot cager had his window down and his arm resting on the edge of the door with the phone to his ear. Right when he cut me off I blasted the Air zound at him, when it startled him he dropped his phone outside his car and onto the street and it busted into several pieces. After he figured out it came from me I just stood there at the red light smiling at him. When he asked why I did that I stated he cut me off and almost hit me. As he was getting out of his car to pick up his phone the light turned green I told him next time stay off the phone as I rode past through the light, leaving him to pick up his busted phone.
Oh hell.... I didn't know you were here, too! I left the RAGBRAI forum to escape you.
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Old 01-06-10, 10:48 AM   #21
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Hey Clifton - downtown Bellevue, all the intersections are marked with little white "X"'s or bicycle symbols on the pavement showing you where to position your wheel to trigger the light. They work really well.
OK, cool. I don't do much riding in downtown Bellevue, so I haven't seen them. I did get a chance to try some out last year in Portland after the STP. Most of the intersections there have green-stripe bike boxes or little bike-insignia trigger marks and I was amazed when we pulled up on one and it worked!
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Old 01-06-10, 10:55 AM   #22
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Oh hell.... I didn't know you were here, too! I left the RAGBRAI forum to escape you.
Then leave here and go back to that other forum. I have not been on there for several months now. Don't let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya! don't leave angry, just leave.
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Old 01-06-10, 11:04 AM   #23
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I don't think a bicycle has enough metal to trigger a signal light
They have been installing a few per year here over the last three years, whenever they re-pave an intersection with a heavily-used bike lane. They lay something that looks like metal sensors down into cut-groves into the pavement. I'm not really sure how they work though. I do know that some of them are sensitive enough to sense full carbon bikes, which makes me wonder if some of them are actually a pole/line mounted motion-detector, and the "x" is actually just the spot that it is aimed at.
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Old 01-06-10, 01:58 PM   #24
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After I cooled down, I realize what I did was stupid. I normally just roll with this kind of stupidity, but this act came at the end of a string of "stupid car tricks" that I have put up with over the past couple of days, and I reacted before my common sense kicked in. Now I guess I need to keep an eye out for this guy - retaliation could suck.
Well...if you remember the driver and vehicle, maybe you can apologize if you see him again and explain?

Just a thought.
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Old 01-06-10, 09:07 PM   #25
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that's a new twist - no pun intended
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