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Old 07-23-10, 11:04 PM   #1
Leo H.
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Would you have done different?

Ok. I had a traffic incident that wasn't THAT big a deal all in all, but it hacked me off and I'd appreciate the collective's thoughts as to what I should have done.

I'm in the middle of a 3 lane short feeder street into a major arterial. Our light is red, I'm in the middle, traffic in the left turn lane, none in the right turn lane.
I'm relatively close to the intersection, but apparently not going fast enough for momma, who zooms around my left suddenly through the turn lane to get in front of me at the light, so instead of me being first in line, she is. 2 tweens in the car.
I go modestly ballistic, no cursing, but I roll up to her window and inform her that I was there in line and she had no right to cut me off like that. She does the hand on head ignoring me schtick. I roll back in line, then roll back up to further inform her that I am SUPPOSED to be in the road and that she shouldn't have done that and roll back. Kids are wide eyed looking at me, but ya know, they are old enough to learn that the driver's actions can have consequences.

We're sitting stopped still then some lame dyed blond greenteeth in a Volvo Cross Country, of all things (trust me, looking at her, she didn't EARN that fancy a car) rolls her window down and tells me to cool it, THERE ARE KIDS IN THAT CAR! I told her, oh, so it's okay for the kids see their mom drive like that? and she repeats that there were kids in the car. I told her, so what, she shouldn't be cutting people off in traffic like that and she says **** happens then gives me the single finger salute. Typical Volvo owner's response
I don't think risking my neck for a bicycle length difference in traffic is **** happens, though I admit that I don't like when people take advantage of me so I POSsibly overreacted. I don't think so. Comments?

I do think next something like that happens, I'm just going to try to keep my cool and just roll my bike in front of the car and regain my spot. If I could have done it again, I would have liked to have yelled at the car, 'nice driving lessons you're teaching your kids!'
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Old 07-23-10, 11:58 PM   #2
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Honestly, it sounds to me like you handled it pretty well. Rolling in front of the driver who cut you off doesn't accomplish anything - it makes you look like an ass to anybody who sees you do it (and likely missed seeing you get cut off), and it puts you in front of two tons of metal being operated by someone who's already demonstrated a major lack of judgment and of concern for your safety. Falling into the "I should be at the front of the line" mentality just drops you to the motorist's level.
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Old 07-24-10, 12:18 AM   #3
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You did fine. No swearing and maybe the kids learned something that mommy is too dumb to teach them.

Personally, I likely would have pulled in front of Ms. Volvo B., turned and said **** happens.
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Old 07-24-10, 12:54 AM   #4
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I love that Volvo chick. "There are KIDS present! They're IMPRESSIONABLE! Mind their tender ears and eyes! **** happens! [flipping bird]" loool
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Old 07-24-10, 01:06 AM   #5
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You did fine. No swearing and maybe the kids learned something that mommy is too dumb to teach them.

Personally, I likely would have pulled in front of Ms. Volvo B., turned and said **** happens.
Yee ha! I like that one. Honestly though, either of them likely would have hit me to get me out of their way. I looked up in my little bike booklet and read that Honda mom broke several sections of NRS 484.324
1. "The driver of a motor vehicle shall not:

A. Intentionally interfere with the movement of a person lawfully riding a bicycle: or

B. Overtake and pass a person on a bicycle unless he can do so safely without endangering the person riding the bicycle.

4. The driver of a motor vehicle shall: (certainly did NOT do this)

A. Exercise due care to avoid a collision with a person riding a bicycle: and

B. Give an audible warning with the horn of the vehicle if appropriate when necessary to avoid such a collision.

(gotta get me an AirZound!)
Reading that made me feel better about filing a police report. I initially thought yeah, but then I thought I was just nervous
and it was a case of typical stupid driving tricks and, if she'd done what she did to me rolling up to a light but I was in a car or motorcycle, I'd have just chalked it up to idiot driver. Clearly, she could be busted for those sections.

Gotta look for a helmet cam now....
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Old 07-24-10, 01:16 AM   #6
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I love that Volvo chick. "There are KIDS present! They're IMPRESSIONABLE! Mind their tender ears and eyes! **** happens! [flipping bird]" loool
With guardians like her, our children can only but flourish.

Thanks for the support, I'm not happy to road rage like that, BUT, I am a firm believer in demonstrating to cagers that those are other human beings they're interacting with on the roadways, for good or ill. In that same vein, I make an effort to nod or wave to people who stop their forward motion and allow me to keep rolling, whether they're waiting to turn in front of me or stopping at an intersection to wait for me to roll through.
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Old 07-24-10, 01:34 AM   #7
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That happens to me all the time. I usually don't care. If the street's wide enough to safely share lanes, I usually pass them and move up to the front anyway. If it's too narrow, I just get behind them.. One less car to pass me while i'm riding at cruising speed. *shrug*

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Old 07-24-10, 04:57 AM   #8
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I'll probably get run out of here with torches and pitch forks for saying this and PLEASE, do not take this the wrong way but I think a lot of times bicyclists have a chip on their shoulder as if they are just waiting for some driver to wrong them so they can unleash their righteous anger on them. How would I handle the same situation if I were driving a car rather than a bike? I would have said "Nice driving #@@^%*$!" to myself and go on with my life. What you did by rolling up right beside them is the equivalent to getting out of your car, running up to their window and admonishing them. That type of behavior will get you hurt or killed.
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Old 07-24-10, 08:06 AM   #9
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I'm not defending her but if she could squeeze through, you weren't far enough forward. I usually stop right at the front. If you want to be ahead of me, you'd be in the cross walk.

Also, I've been known to ram or ride right up into the rear quarter panels of drivers who cut me off then suddenly stop. I've left quite a few marks but after enough yelling from both sides, the driver realizes that they basically cut me off without giving me enough time to stop (I could've). But then again this is NYC where bouncing off cars to get through traffic happens every day.

I think the worst thing that happened is that someone thinks a volvo cross country is a fancy car...
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Old 07-24-10, 08:11 AM   #10
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I roll up to her window and inform her that I was there in line and she had no right to cut me off like that. She does the hand on head ignoring me schtick. I roll back in line, then roll back up to further inform her that I am SUPPOSED to be in the road and that she shouldn't have done that and roll back.
I may have said something, but don't see any good coming out of going back to say more after that. I'm more likely to just shake my head and then just forget about it.
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Old 07-24-10, 10:27 AM   #11
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I'll probably get run out of here with torches and pitch forks for saying this and PLEASE, do not take this the wrong way but I think a lot of times bicyclists have a chip on their shoulder as if they are just waiting for some driver to wrong them so they can unleash their righteous anger on them. How would I handle the same situation if I were driving a car rather than a bike? I would have said "Nice driving #@@^%*$!" to myself and go on with my life. What you did by rolling up right beside them is the equivalent to getting out of your car, running up to their window and admonishing them. That type of behavior will get you hurt or killed.
No harm. The one thing is, if this had happened to you in a car, you're not as immediately endangered. I probably do have a consciousness about my place in the traffic flow that is tenuous, but it is legitimate. Part of my emotion is no doubt due to having 2 incidents like this in one week after going for close to a year since having anything close like it happen.
For the record, I am a scrupulous cycle commuter and am aware of the tension between taking my lane, or giving ground to speeding traffic as a rule.
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Old 07-24-10, 12:39 PM   #12
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I'd say you were totally justified in your reaction. Cutting someone off at a left turn is just ridiculous. If that had happened to me, I probably would have just flipped them off and left it at that. It takes a lot to get me riled.
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Old 07-24-10, 01:53 PM   #13
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You did fine, but I woulda done something to help myself calm down afterwards so I wasn't carrying the frustration around.

Seriously, your actions were well within the "justified and appropriate" range.
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Old 07-24-10, 03:20 PM   #14
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I think the worst thing that happened is that someone thinks a volvo cross country is a fancy car...
And certainly not the behavior you'd expect from a Volvo.
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Old 07-24-10, 03:47 PM   #15
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Part of my emotion is no doubt due to having 2 incidents like this in one week after going for close to a year since having anything close like it happen.
Close to a year without any aggressive caged-wheelchair incidents? I haven't had a year like that in over three decades. Hell, I haven't had a week like that in more years than I care to remember. I am really living in the wrong place.

Regarding your incident: it always amazes me how uncomfortable the carcissists are with having their anonymity stripped away while on the road. My personal favorite way to do it is when I can follow them to the store they are going to (I usually get there first since I don't have to hunt down a parking space and waddle to the door from the parking lot). I then approach them (smiling) and suggest that, "It's time". They usually ask what I'm talking about and I explain that it is time for them to give up their driver's license and express my condolences that they don't have a close family member who will tell them that they are just too dangerous behind the wheel to continue driving. About this time most of them recognize me as the cyclist they just buzzed or cut off and they usually apologize. Sometimes they don't remember seeing any bikes on their way in; this sometimes rattles them and sometimes makes them angry. Either way, I do my best to be gentle and appear concerned for them. I have no way of knowing if this improves their driving, but it does make me feel better and I think it puts a human face on their notion of what a cyclist is.
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Old 07-24-10, 04:36 PM   #16
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It sounds like you did okay. The only thing is riding up twice. Just once I would think would get your point across even though you didn't express everything you wanted to say. As for the Volvo lady i'm sure you were taken so off guard you really didn't have a good comeback. Especially after wanting you to be considerate of the kids in the car and then cursing and giving you the middle finger.
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Old 07-24-10, 06:29 PM   #17
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I think you did fine but I would have just ignored it - you can't get through to anybody that does that kind of thing IMO. And if it were a testosterone pumped male things might have ended differently.

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Old 07-24-10, 07:06 PM   #18
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I think you did fine but I would have just ignored it - you can't get through to anybody that does that kind of thing IMO. And if it were a testosterone pumped male things might have ended differently.

Gene
+1. It's almost like "bike rage" instead of road rage. I'm not saying I've never done it - I have. But after a couple years of urban commuting in the DC area I guess I've gotten pretty jaded and come to expect it anymore.
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Old 07-24-10, 11:34 PM   #19
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And certainly not the behavior you'd expect from a Volvo.
Not the Volvo, the Volvo driver! I'm positive the Volvo was mortified by her comments.
And it wasn't a Cross Country, it was whatever their SUV is called.
I still think of them as only having the 3 cars: 2 door, 4 door sedan and the wagon

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Old 07-24-10, 11:45 PM   #20
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I think you did fine but I would have just ignored it - you can't get through to anybody that does that kind of thing IMO. And if it were a testosterone pumped male things might have ended differently.

Gene
Fair enough. I think the one time commenting probably should have done it. And yes, BCarfree, over a year with nothing like this happening. In fact, I even had a letter in the paper recently talking about how, for the most part, drivers are far more accepting of cyclists around here than most people expect. Certainly more than I expected. Part of my response is that this was the second time in a week with the same behavior. I do admit that there was a bit of the Glen Close, "I will NOT be ignored!!" energy going on, but if no one responds, it just continues. The question is what?

I am thinking about strapping an unused bike light on my helmet with electrical tape and composing a professional looking sign to hang on the back of my seat (I ride a recumbent, so this is feasible) stating, "Warning, your driving is being videotaped" or some such and see what happens next. I probably need to put up an old actual camera looking thing though to complete the illusion.
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Old 07-24-10, 11:51 PM   #21
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Thanks for the support, I'm not happy to road rage like that, BUT, I am a firm believer in demonstrating to cagers that those are other human beings ...
To her, you probably came off like a raving lunatic.
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Old 07-25-10, 12:17 AM   #22
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Ok. I had a traffic incident that wasn't THAT big a deal all in all, but it hacked me off and I'd appreciate the collective's thoughts as to what I should have done.

I'm in the middle of a 3 lane short feeder street into a major arterial. Our light is red, I'm in the middle, traffic in the left turn lane, none in the right turn lane.
I'm relatively close to the intersection, but apparently not going fast enough for momma, who zooms around my left suddenly through the turn lane to get in front of me at the light, so instead of me being first in line, she is. 2 tweens in the car.
I go modestly ballistic, no cursing, but I roll up to her window and inform her that I was there in line and she had no right to cut me off like that. She does the hand on head ignoring me schtick. I roll back in line, then roll back up to further inform her that I am SUPPOSED to be in the road and that she shouldn't have done that and roll back. Kids are wide eyed looking at me, but ya know, they are old enough to learn that the driver's actions can have consequences.
And your goal here was... what, exactly? What were you expecting to accomplish by venting at someone who already doesn't care what you think?

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We're sitting stopped still then some lame dyed blond greenteeth in a Volvo Cross Country, of all things (trust me, looking at her, she didn't EARN that fancy a car)
Now you're just being an ass.

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rolls her window down and tells me to cool it, THERE ARE KIDS IN THAT CAR! I told her, oh, so it's okay for the kids see their mom drive like that? and she repeats that there were kids in the car. I told her, so what, she shouldn't be cutting people off in traffic like that and she says **** happens then gives me the single finger salute. Typical Volvo owner's response
I don't think risking my neck for a bicycle length difference in traffic is **** happens, though I admit that I don't like when people take advantage of me so I POSsibly overreacted. I don't think so. Comments?
What, are you kidding? You WAY overreacted. People out there aren't going to validate your choices for you. Someone acted like a jerk and cut you off, but did not (according to your OP) actually endanger you. Welcome to traffic. What the hell is getting all butt-hurt and confronting someone suppose to accomplish in that situation?

I've been riding in traffic for a few years now. Some people are jerks, it's a fact of life. The most valuable lesson I have learned from my experience is that getting pissed off and confronting motorists who do something obnoxious doesn't reduce the incidence of obnoxious treatment. It does increase the incidence of anger and stress on my commute. The math is pretty easy from there - it's just not worth it. People are still jerks (and I will grumble to myself when I get cut off or something), but my commutes have become far less stressful than they were when I started.

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I do think next something like that happens, I'm just going to try to keep my cool and just roll my bike in front of the car and regain my spot. If I could have done it again, I would have liked to have yelled at the car, 'nice driving lessons you're teaching your kids!'
Right, that would be effective. Responding to a jackass by being a jackass yourself doesn't make you less of a jackass for doing it. It just increases the local jackass population. For next time, I prescribe a healthy dose of getting over yourself and letting it go.
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Old 07-25-10, 12:25 AM   #23
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Close to a year without any aggressive caged-wheelchair incidents? I haven't had a year like that in over three decades. Hell, I haven't had a week like that in more years than I care to remember. I am really living in the wrong place.

Regarding your incident: it always amazes me how uncomfortable the carcissists are with having their anonymity stripped away while on the road. My personal favorite way to do it is when I can follow them to the store they are going to (I usually get there first since I don't have to hunt down a parking space and waddle to the door from the parking lot). I then approach them (smiling) and suggest that, "It's time". They usually ask what I'm talking about and I explain that it is time for them to give up their driver's license and express my condolences that they don't have a close family member who will tell them that they are just too dangerous behind the wheel to continue driving. About this time most of them recognize me as the cyclist they just buzzed or cut off and they usually apologize. Sometimes they don't remember seeing any bikes on their way in; this sometimes rattles them and sometimes makes them angry. Either way, I do my best to be gentle and appear concerned for them. I have no way of knowing if this improves their driving, but it does make me feel better and I think it puts a human face on their notion of what a cyclist is.
Ah. Another example of self-important toolish behavior in this thread. Awesome.

Serious suggestion to everyone: when **** happens, think about a what a jerk the offender is, what moral failures their parents were or whatever floats your boat, but then move on with your life. It is just as effective at curbing bad motorist behavior, while keeping you out of additional danger and allowing you to actually retain the high ground.
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Old 07-25-10, 04:19 AM   #24
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No harm. The one thing is, if this had happened to you in a car, you're not as immediately endangered. I probably do have a consciousness about my place in the traffic flow that is tenuous, but it is legitimate. Part of my emotion is no doubt due to having 2 incidents like this in one week after going for close to a year since having anything close like it happen.
For the record, I am a scrupulous cycle commuter and am aware of the tension between taking my lane, or giving ground to speeding traffic as a rule.
Thanks for understanding my view. There is a catch-22 to it too. Many drivers are ignorant of the laws concerning cycling and sharing the road and they DO need to be told. The bad thing is that a person is never more self centered or selfish than when they are behind the wheel. People have this self entitlement mentality when driving and this is not a great time for education.
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Old 07-25-10, 09:48 AM   #25
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Thanks for understanding my view. There is a catch-22 to it too. Many drivers are ignorant of the laws concerning cycling and sharing the road and they DO need to be told. The bad thing is that a person is never more self centered or selfish than when they are behind the wheel. People have this self entitlement mentality when driving and this is not a great time for education.
I appreciate the way you framed your response. If you haven't noticed, that doesn't tend to happen a lot on this website Both of the times this week this happened to me were classic examples of your point.

I think another contributing factor is that so many cyclists riding are adults picking up a skill they learned as kids but really without any rules or expectations of how to operate a bicycle in traffic, so they're now teaching themselves as they go. I'm sure the LAB courses have their graduates, but few of us rode responsibly and in a completely legal manner as kids, so now as adults that's our primary template, with automobile driver's training as an overlay of what we're supposed to do as cycle commuters. It's no wonder that there's a fractured view of how cyclists ride in traffic.

In a utopian model, we'd have a concerted effort to encourage/incentivize adults to take some sort of skills class and have kids do the same. Eventually, drivers then would have a better idea of what it's like on the outside of the cage in traffic.
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