There is a draw bridge I have to cross just before turning into my subdivision. There is a bike lane which disappears at the foot of the draw bridge.
Wednesday evening on my way home, I looked back, not a car in sight, so I left the bike lane and claimed the lane to cross the bridge. Just after I crossed the metal grid of the draw span and began descending and accelerating, a loud HONK HONK right behind me and big white Chrysler Town N Country Minivan passes going full speed (45 MPH speed limit).
Now, his pass was fine - a little fast but he went completely into the other lane and gave me plenty of space. So I was OK with that, but what an a$$hole to honk at me like that!
Lo and behold, at the bottom of the bridge, he turns into my subdivision. Now my adrenaline is flowing, and I turn into my subdivision, stand up on my pedals, and crank that cro-moly touring bike up past 27 MPH and keep him in site - two blocks past my street - around the traffic circle - I'm chasing as hard as I can. As I come out of the traffic circle I see him pull into a driveway about two blocks ahead. Got him!
I stopped at the end of his driveway. Big old fat guy steps out of the passenger side, and frumpy looking wife steps out of the drivers side. I tried to be polite and just said "You know, you didn't need to honk your horn at me on the bridge back there". My voice was a little loud because I was gasping for breath after that one mile sprint to catch them.
"You were riding in the middle of the road, blocking traffic!" he yelled back.
"I was claiming the lane, which is the safe way to ride when you have a narrow road with..."
He interrupted me, shouting now "You're supposed to walk your bike over the bridge!"
Now, there is a sign at the foot of the bridge which reads "WARNING - Walk Bikes over draw bridge span". This is a safety warning that you should walk your bike over the metal grid section that raises for boats. It does not say "Bridge", it says "draw bridge span". It's just a safety warning, not a legal requirement. And it is only referring the metal section in the middle, not the whole bridge. But this guy is reading it to mean that cyclists are not allowed to use HIS bridge to ride over!
At this point I just yelled over top of his yelling "I know my rights, and I have a legal right to ride in the road! I have a right to use the road! I have a sticker right here on my fender that says so: Same Road, Same Rights, Same Rules!"
At this point the frumpy wife starts screaming "Oh Yeah? Well I'm a GD attorney, so who the hell are you?"
At this point I realize they are cursing, yelling, and implying threats - a defensive reaction indicating they feel threatened. Their opinion and mistaken belief system is being called wrong and that is threatening to them, so all reasoning has left and all they will do from this point on is attack me.
Road rage has now begun. Time to disengage. So I just pedaled off and ended the confrontation there.
No, I did not change their mind - you can't open a closed mind. So what did I accomplish?
I like to think I made them realize that they can't just piss off a cyclist, treating them as less than human, and think they can happily roar off and suffer no consequences. Hopefully, they'll feel a little less insulated and immune from consequences the next time they decide to act so rudely.