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Old 07-23-10, 03:50 PM   #1
pharasz
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Chased the honker down!

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.
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Old 07-23-10, 04:06 PM   #2
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Chasing someone down and confronting them on their own property is a very dangerous approach. Florida's castle law gives a very expansive view toward self-defense.

Personally, I don't see that it accomplishes much for cyclists in general, since those people now think of cyclists as not just a nuisance on the road, but dangerous and possibly unstable.
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Old 07-23-10, 04:06 PM   #3
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Eh.. I would've just let 'em go in the first place.. but that's just me. I'm a mellow guy..
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Old 07-23-10, 04:24 PM   #4
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Eh.. I would've just let 'em go in the first place.. but that's just me. I'm a mellow guy..
I'm generally with you, but sometimes after a rough day or stressful ride, a little thing like a honk can set you off. Only once I caught a honker... It was a couple young girls passing me as I passed their high school. I caught them at a light, they were chatting when I rode up, completely oblivious to me. I knocked on the window. The girl in the drivers seat jumped and spun to look at me, I just waved and said "Hi." Then positioned my bike to cross the intersection (they were turning right) and waited for the light to change (about 30 seconds.) When the light changed, I went my way, they went theirs and the girl laid on the horn for a couple seconds. I had a good chuckle and continued home.
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Old 07-23-10, 04:25 PM   #5
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You knew their address - you could've mailed them a postcard.
Maybe riding by and yelling at them to "Please don't honk at cyclists!" might have worked.
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Old 07-23-10, 04:47 PM   #6
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Were they laying on the horn, or just giving a quick honk to let you know they were behind you? It sounded more like the latter. However once they felt threatened, they quickly became defensive.
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Old 07-23-10, 06:32 PM   #7
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Chasing someone down and confronting them on their own property is a very dangerous approach. Florida's castle law gives a very expansive view toward self-defense.

Personally, I don't see that it accomplishes much for cyclists in general, since those people now think of cyclists as not just a nuisance on the road, but dangerous and possibly unstable.
I did not enter their property. I stopped in the road at the end of their driveway. I was careful to stay on public property. They were the ones cursing and shouting. How was I "dangerous and possibly unstable?" I was very careful not to curse and to sound indignant, and not angry.

And yes, they laid on the horn twice, right as they came up behind me. It was clearly intended to "punish" me for "obstructing" them, and not to notify me they were there.

Also, I typically completely ignore this kind of behavior. But seeing them turn into my neighborhood, and realizing these were my NEIGHBORS, was more than I could take. So yeah, I probably snapped, and that bothers me, which lead me to post this. I had to get it off my chest. OK, I'll let it go now and renew my vow to completely ignore all such antagonistic aggression.
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Old 07-23-10, 07:31 PM   #8
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I did not enter their property. I stopped in the road at the end of their driveway. I was careful to stay on public property. They were the ones cursing and shouting. How was I "dangerous and possibly unstable?" I was very careful not to curse and to sound indignant, and not angry.

And yes, they laid on the horn twice, right as they came up behind me. It was clearly intended to "punish" me for "obstructing" them, and not to notify me they were there.

Also, I typically completely ignore this kind of behavior. But seeing them turn into my neighborhood, and realizing these were my NEIGHBORS, was more than I could take. So yeah, I probably snapped, and that bothers me, which lead me to post this. I had to get it off my chest. OK, I'll let it go now and renew my vow to completely ignore all such antagonistic aggression.

Really, one tap on the horn would have been enough. Two, regular honks is taking it a bit too far. Glad you chased them down and know their address.
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Old 07-23-10, 07:32 PM   #9
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the frumpy wife starts screaming "Oh Yeah? Well I'm a GD attorney, so who the hell are you?"
At that point I would have ended it with "didn't learn much in school, huh?"

Although I'd probably never have accosted them in the first place. That said, sometimes you only realize that in retrospect.
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Old 07-23-10, 10:21 PM   #10
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Into every life a little Karma must fall.

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Old 07-23-10, 10:42 PM   #11
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Blow back with this.

Just get one of these.. A idiot came around me while I was commuting to work blowing his horn so I blew mine back, it was louder than his. This Air Zound horn is loud.

The bottle comes with Velcro and it is so lite that I have it hanging from the front of the bike on the cables, saves my water bottle holder for my water bottle. Cheers..
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Old 07-23-10, 10:57 PM   #12
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Just get one of these.. A idiot came around me while I was commuting to work blowing his horn so I blew mine back, it was louder than his. This Air Zound horn is loud.

The bottle comes with Velcro and it is so lite that I have it hanging from the front of the bike on the cables, saves my water bottle holder for my water bottle. Cheers..
I hurt myself the other day when I reinstalled mine after having it off for a couple years. I tested it out on full blast It hurt
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Old 07-23-10, 11:17 PM   #13
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Isn't the angry honking at cyclists considered menacing?

Or, is that aggravated menacing? I forget. Maybe, the whiz bang attorney could clear that up.
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Old 07-23-10, 11:29 PM   #14
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No, I did not change their mind - you can't open a closed mind.
Especially when it's your own.

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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.
Okay let me get this right - they committed the heinous, dastardly act of honking at you.
Say it isn't so!
Then they went around you and gave you space. So YOU chased them down to confront them, going far out of your way to do so. You started out with them okay, verbally, although you were certain they had nothing to offer - they were fat and frumpy, after all. People like that certainly need to be put in their place.

But when they offered their own reasoning, backed up by a sign supporting it - you didnt open your mind. No you went off, going straight to whining and crying about your rights. Booyah!

What you accomplished was to make all cyclists appear in their minds, hereafter, as selfish, domineering cry babies. Instead of educating, you overwhelmed them with intolerance. Sorry there, friend - no points earned.



PS: I'm thinking that "Air Zounds" blaster horn is going to be a good outlet for your frustrations in the future. Get one and blare away at any, and every, chance that arises.

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Old 07-23-10, 11:46 PM   #15
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Just get one of these.. A idiot came around me while I was commuting to work blowing his horn so I blew mine back, it was louder than his. This Air Zound horn is loud.

The bottle comes with Velcro and it is so lite that I have it hanging from the front of the bike on the cables, saves my water bottle holder for my water bottle. Cheers..
I ordered one of these and it should be arriving soon - I can't wait to use it. I will still keep my bell for MUP riding and warning pedestrians of my approach, but the AirZound is for motorists (and pedestrians with earphones on).

I used to drive professionally (courier, taxi, truck) and have been honked at plenty of times. My usual response was a playful "beep beep" in return and a polite wave if they looked my way. My intention was to imply, "Look... we're communicating! How fun!" I now hope to do the same from my bike.

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Especially when it's your own.


Okay let me get this right - they committed the heinous, dastardly act of honking at you.
Say it isn't so!
Then they went around you and gave you space. So YOU chased them down to confront them, going far out of your way to do so. You started out with them okay, verbally, although you were certain they had nothing to offer - they were fat and frumpy, after all. People like that certainly need correction.
But when they offered their own reasoning, backed up by a sign supporting it - you went off, going straight to whining and crying about your rights. Booyah!

What you accomplished was to make all cyclists appear hereafter in their mind as selfish, domineering cry babies. Instead of educating, you overwhelmed. Sorry there, friend - no points earned.
I gotta agree with dahut here... they were likely just as convinced that you were in the wrong as you were of them, probably even more so after it escalated into a yelling match. A cooling off period followed by a strongly worded, but respectful letter dropped in their mailbox days later with a return address for response may have been a better approach.

OTOH, perhaps giving thanks to the Cycling Gods for another safe commute home followed by no retort at all would have been even better than that!

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Old 07-24-10, 04:59 AM   #16
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You knew their address - you could've mailed them a postcard.
Maybe riding by and yelling at them to "Please don't honk at cyclists!" might have worked.
I'm for that.
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Old 07-24-10, 06:31 AM   #17
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I also get annoyed with people who lay on the horn while passing in my neighborhood where my kids ride. Out side of the hood I generally just let it go. I had am incident a few days ago where a heavy set woman with a hamburger in her lap and a phone wedged between her head and shoulder laid on her horn while trying to squeeze pass me on a narrow 25mph street (I was doing 22mph.) I chased her for a mile but some kids were playing in the street and ran in front of me, my brakes still work real good so no one was harmed but that was the end of the chase.
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Old 07-24-10, 06:35 AM   #18
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Nothing pisses off a honker, or road rage idiot more than blowing them kisses, I have found.
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Old 07-24-10, 07:33 AM   #19
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So what did I accomplish?
Nothing. You may have gone over the line.

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Passing
Stay a safe distance behind the vehicle you want to pass. The closer you get to the vehicle you want to pass, the less you can see ahead. This is especially true when passing trucks, trailers, and other large vehicles.

Before you pull out to pass, check your blind spots and make sure that you have plenty of time and room to pass.
On a two-lane road, tap your horn, or at night blink your headlights to let the other driver know you are passing.
http://www.lowestpricetrafficschool..../driver/en/3/9

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Passing
Stay a safe distance behind the vehicle you want to pass. The closer you get to the vehicle you want to pass, the less you can see ahead. This is especially true when passing trucks, trailers, and other large vehicles.
Before you pull out to pass, check your blind spots and make sure that you have plenty of time and room to pass.
On a two-lane road, tap your horn, or at night blink your headlights to let the other driver know you are passing.
http://www.speedingticketonline.com/chapter3.aspx

There are several other sites that cite this same material. The driver could have just said he was warning you before passing and you wouldn't have anything to back your position.

On the other hand, depending on the situation, a horn from behind is a warning to me that the motorist sees a potentially hazardous condition coming up and I should take the center of the lane. If the driver is just warning to pass, then they will be changing lanes anyway, so me being a couple feet further to the left won't make any difference to them.
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Old 07-24-10, 07:52 AM   #20
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Especially when it's your own.


Okay let me get this right - they committed the heinous, dastardly act of honking at you.
Say it isn't so!
Then they went around you and gave you space. So YOU chased them down to confront them, going far out of your way to do so. You started out with them okay, verbally, although you were certain they had nothing to offer - they were fat and frumpy, after all. People like that certainly need to be put in their place.

But when they offered their own reasoning, backed up by a sign supporting it - you didnt open your mind. No you went off, going straight to whining and crying about your rights. Booyah!
No actually when they offered a reason and backed it up, he went on to whine about how the "WARNING" was merely a "suggestion." Good to see there are some people who can keep an open mind and not jump on the cyclist is always right bandwagon. I know I do some pretty stupid things sometimes, like ride the wrong way into 3 lanes of moving traffic...

Plus I always thought honking twice (like the road runner) was just as good as a quick beep.
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Old 07-24-10, 08:17 AM   #21
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Nice site

For those who haven't seen it here is another nice site if you live in Florida to go along with the previous sites mentioned.. http://www.floridabicycle.org/rules/motorist.html I have been giving out the little book "Street Smarts" that you can get from them and I have found out that people are totally ignorant of the laws about bicycle.

I can see just tapping the horn to let me know that they are going around but to lay on the horn is something else and also when riding I have noticed that bicyclist like to hug the right side of the road, you'll get more respect by taking the lane more, moving to the left, and acting like a vehicle by obeying all the traffic laws..Cheers.
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Old 07-24-10, 08:23 AM   #22
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For those who haven't seen it here is another nice site if you live in Florida to go along with the previous sites mentioned.. http://www.floridabicycle.org/rules/motorist.html I have been giving out the little book "Street Smarts" that you can get from them and I have found out that people are totally ignorant of the laws about bicycle.

I can see just tapping the horn to let me know that they are going around but to lay on the horn is something else and also when riding I have noticed that bicyclist like to hug the right side of the road, you'll get more respect by taking the lane more, moving to the left, and acting like a vehicle by obeying all the traffic laws..Cheers.
Going over a bridge, I might be safer on the far right just over the rise, that way I don't get nailed by some moron flying over the rise and not seeing me. I mean it's not 100% fool proof but odds are, they'll be in the center of the lane and I'll be all the way over on the right.
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Old 07-24-10, 09:03 AM   #23
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No actually when they offered a reason and backed it up, he went on to whine about how the "WARNING" was merely a "suggestion." Good to see there are some people who can keep an open mind and not jump on the cyclist is always right bandwagon. I know I do some pretty stupid things sometimes, like ride the wrong way into 3 lanes of moving traffic...

Plus I always thought honking twice (like the road runner) was just as good as a quick beep.
Thats right. In this case, neither side was right. But one side escalated it, and provoked an end result that obfuscated the real issue.

I mean - damn! - the cyclist chased the car driver down! That is awesome!
But then, he squandered his initiative by flying off the handle. The driver was challenged on his home turf, out of the blue, so he reacted in kind. He used the sign as his defense; he may not have known precisely what it meant, but he had it available to him. And he's a car driver... cycling is a foreign subject to him (true of most car drivers). The problem is, the true nature of cycling and road rights was never arrived at because the cyclist had to be right.
Both sides left the worse for wear.

The great thing is, this doesn't have to end there. These guys are neighbors, after all. An apology and a handshake goes a long way to smoothing things over.
Bringing the writ of cycling and motor vehicle law to the couple, in written form, and discussing it might be a good step forward.
The OP has no problem with taking the initiative, and can do so again.

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Old 07-24-10, 02:01 PM   #24
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I let honking go. No sense in yelling at someone or seeking a confrontation in this case, especially since they gave you the lane, which is what you wanted in the first place.

I do get a little mad at the ones who curse out their windows (especially with their kids in the car, that's always nice) or yell at me to get off the road.

I get furious at the ones who pass me dangerously close or cut me off. Or the parking garage attendants who wave cars in even though they can plainly see me coming. Those are the ones I yell at if I get a chance.
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Old 07-24-10, 02:30 PM   #25
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I have perfected a technique for dealing with honkers that not only quietly conveys a clear message, but also provides me with catharsis.

As the driver passes, extend your left arm toward the vehicle as far as you are comfortable, so your palm is facing up. Form a fist, and then raise your middle finger so that it is pointing at the sky. For the greatest effect, begin this maneuver before the vehicle has passed you, and maintain a line of sight between your raised finger and the driver.
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