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Old 10-07-10, 07:38 PM   #1
spoonsphere
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why are people so rude on the road? sorry - a this is a rant!

/*start rant*/

i don't understand what's happened to common courtesy?

almost every day that i ride, i encounter people who are just rude, in one form or another.

crossing some road in reston, va on the w&od trail the other day (sunrise valley drive perhaps) - a few of us were biking one behind the other. there was a red light for traffic - two lanes in each direction. we stopped. then one bike went across. the bike in front of me started to go. she was going through one lane when the car in the next lane decided to drive through, and she had to hit her brakes hard. the man in the car drove another 20 feet only to sit at a red light.

today, coming out of reston town center, i went straight across reston parkway at a walk signal. a car turning right out of the town center honked at me.

you also have the guy who wants to honk as he passes you on a busy rush hour road. this has happened more than once on great falls street in falls church.

explain to me what honking accomplishes in such situations?

it's not just cars...

as a courtesy, when approaching someone on the w&od, whether they are on a bike or walking, you call out to let them know you're passing. even if you're passing in an empty oncoming lane, you still call out so that the person doesn't get startled and also so that they're aware someone is coming from behind in case they suddenly decide to turn around or something.

so another time, there are three people walking in front of me, and they're walking three abreast. they were walking such the person on the left was half way into the lane from the other side. that's fine - you're having a conversation while you're walking.

you call out to say you want to pass. two people are walking from the other side, also side by side. you call out again. they don't hear you, they don't move. you have to hit the breaks and come to a stop.

sorry - just venting.

/* end rant */

not everyone is like this, fortunately. plenty of times, people stop and let you cross. other times, when they can't safely pass, people give you space in a lane like you were any other vehicle.
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Old 10-07-10, 08:21 PM   #2
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Honking is simply way for drivers to vent there frustration.
Maybe the real reason is because they don't know real freedom.Hey there stuck in there cages after all.
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Old 10-07-10, 09:38 PM   #3
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I have absolutely no idea why people behave like this. It used to get me down (still does sometimes) but then I get a nice long stretch of road and the sun is out and trees are doing there 'tree' thing and I think it's sad that they can't really see any of this..

yea, and jdom is correct. It's just how they vent there frustration.
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Old 10-07-10, 10:11 PM   #4
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Thats why I bought an Airzound. Now I can vent my frustration too. I doubt it actually does any "good."
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Old 10-07-10, 10:32 PM   #5
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... but then I get a nice long stretch of road and the sun is out and trees are doing there 'tree' thing and I think it's sad that they can't really see any of this.
When you get right down to it, being in a car isn't usually a pleasant thing. Especially in traffic, it's stressful, and you really just want to be wherever it is you're going. Bikes are fun, and suck the stress out of you like a sponge. I think this has something to do with why car drivers do obnoxious things, and also why it seems so alien to people who mostly get around by bike. I go kayaking all the time, and you might think a human-powered vessel surrounded by motor boats would be like cycling ... but people are happy and they're where they want to be, so you might as well be their long lost cousin.
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Old 10-07-10, 10:49 PM   #6
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I believe that there's some small percentage of motorists who are doing the vast majority of the honking. My solution? Given the integrated nature of modern automobile electronics, there's no technical reason why we couldn't count the "seconds of operation" for the horn, and be assessed an annual Rudeness Fee, along with the smog & safety inspection requirements. First five seconds of operation are free so we're not discouraging the legitimate use of the emergency warning, but after that... your rudeness has direct, measurable consequences.

When I'm feeling less charitable, I dream that rather than assess a usage fee, the computer simply plays "airbag roulette" with steadily improving odds of getting lucky...

I once followed someone in city traffic for about a mile - she honked as though her horn were attached to the brake pedal. Every time she slowed... honk. I was wondering if there actually was an electrical malfunction (I've owned Italian cars....) but looking in the window, she was just very very angry.
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Old 10-08-10, 12:22 AM   #7
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Take the case of a very pretty woman. She is desirable, so much so, that everywhere she goes other people allow her to pass freely and move aside to make life good for her. But, then she gets in a car - and suddenly its just another car on the road. Nobody is moving out of her way and being nice to her. Obviously she feels extremely frustrated. All her life she has been treated like some kind of idol and now she's just another dude in a cage. I'm just glad I was not born into such a confusing life. I know what to expect everywhere I go. I expect no favors and it's so nice when I get one that I thank the person warmly. That idea about the rudeness fee is good. If only.

I came flying around a corner once on my way to the swimming pool. Some kids jumped out of a car and ran in front of me. I stopped quickly, but their idiot mother gave me a serve, like I had done something wrong. I stopped and told her to engage her brain before she opened her mouth. She gave me another serve. I said the same again and she paused, seemingly she realized and went on her way.

I think that's why Tasers are popular with the police. They are sick of rude remarks.
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Old 10-08-10, 12:28 AM   #8
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Luckily, I don't have much interaction with motorists on my commute as it's mainly on MUPs. I enjoy the peaceful serenity of a cobbled path in the woods on my commute. Stress free. I certainly don't envy you folks that commute in metro areas.

Every once in a while I have "problems" with pedestrians on the trails. Sometimes they'll be walking against traffic - on the left side of the trail instead of the right and they won't budge forcing me to go around them. If they're three or even four abreast across the trail, I give them a quick "ding,ding,ding" on my Incredibell and then they move over.
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Old 10-08-10, 04:36 AM   #9
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People are stupid. Get Airzound. It works like a charm on the zombies: get close and "Tooooooot!!!!!" Watch them scream and jump as they're violently brought back to the reality. As far as car drivers: as long as they don't endanger you just ignore them, they're probably late for work and will get s**t from their boss or they're miserable in some other way. Most people who unload their frustration like this on strangers live miserable lives. Happy people are patient and polite. Although, happy people are a dying breed in our economy.

But Airzound often helps with drivers cutting you off. It did save my butt several times.

Did I mention that people are stupid?
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Old 10-08-10, 04:39 AM   #10
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Adam covered it -- most people who are like that simply don't want cyclists "in their way" on their way to and from work.
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Old 10-08-10, 05:38 AM   #11
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thanks for the comments, folks - the laughs are a great way to start the day!

i just read up on airzound - 115dB - wow! the thoughts that conjures are just hilarious!
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Old 10-08-10, 07:35 AM   #12
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/*start rant*/

i don't understand what's happened to common courtesy?

almost every day that i ride, i encounter people who are just rude, in one form or another.

so another time, there are three people walking in front of me, and they're walking three abreast. they were walking such the person on the left was half way into the lane from the other side. that's fine - you're having a conversation while you're walking.

you call out to say you want to pass. two people are walking from the other side, also side by side. you call out again. they don't hear you, they don't move. you have to hit the breaks and come to a stop.

/* end rant */

not everyone is like this, fortunately. plenty of times, people stop and let you cross. other times, when they can't safely pass, people give you space in a lane like you were any other vehicle.

Honestly, for all the car rudeness I experience, I actually get far more courtesy, and downright generosity, than I expect. Unfortunately, I know I fail to focus on those positive events (though I do my best to acknowledge each and every occasion with the biggest smile and friendliest wave I can manage). This goes out to all the cagers who stop to let me cross Cedar, Great Falls, Little Falls and all the other small street crossings on the W &OD. To the older gentleman and his wife who, though they walk side by side, always stay to the right, and acknowledge my bell or announcement with a hearty good morning. To the woman who stopped her full size, Cadillac SUV in the opposite lane of Georgetown Pike to attempt to give me a chance to cross (I had to wave her on - the folks in the near lane were having none of it!)

And I experience plenty of rudeness from pedestrians and bikes. Yesterday it was the two bikes riding side by side, one on each side of the Capital Crescent Trail, and not really anxious to move and let me by when I announced my intent to pass (they were NOT moving quickly!) A few weeks ago it was the extended family sprawled across the entire width of the W & OD (and well into the grass) not far from a curve, and not moving quickly to clear the way even after I hove into view (this was at 5-6 PM -- peak commuting hours?)
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Old 10-08-10, 10:35 AM   #13
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Adam covered it -- most people who are like that simply don't want cyclists "in their way" on their way to and from work.
The world if full of jerks. Just last week I was riding home from work, when some jerk flew around me and did a right hook, I pay enough attention that is didn't suprise me. I saw that he had his window open so I yelled, "Thank you" in a sarcastic voice. He slammed on his brakes and almost hit a car as he didn't make the turn quite as cleanly as he should have. As I rode by he told me to "go f@ck off" I'm not the one who passed recklesly giving me mayeb 2 feet of clearance to my front tire, but he took great offense to me calling him out on it. A few months ago I was turning left into my housing development. I signaled way in advance to make a left turn. I then moved into the middle of the road, and just as I am getting ready to turn left some young punk cameflying up behind me, clearly going 15 to 20 MPH over the speed limit. I easly turn before he gets to me, but I guess my being in the way made him have to slow down a tiny but. As I turn into the side road he honks and I see him giving me the finger in my rear view mirror. I guess on one is allowed to slow down and turn in front of this jerk. I try not to let these things bother me, but it is sometimes just shocking.

Happy riding,
André
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Old 10-08-10, 11:11 AM   #14
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Happens all the time. Sometimes I am successful in not letting it bother me, other times I yell. I'm not always able to control my emotions. Most people are stupid, selfish and motor on the roads distracted.
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Old 10-08-10, 11:20 AM   #15
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I think that's why Tasers are popular with the police. They are sick of rude remarks.
Reading between the lines ... I think your business idea might be able to compete with AirZound. But how are you going to mount the tasers to the handlebars?
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Old 10-08-10, 11:38 AM   #16
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People are stupid.........

Did I mention that people are stupid?
You and I share a common belief (in fact, that has become my motto over the years).

I also attribute the overall decline in civility (and it's not just motorists) to the fact we tend to live our lives almost completely anonymously in large cities. We don't have that sense of connectedness that our ancestors did living in smaller and much more mutually inter-dependent communities. That rude motorist doesn't see us as another human being, we're an annoyance making him or her arrive 30 seconds late whatever they're doing that's so important (unless your next door neighbour was a complete jackass would they honk and scream at you while you're riding if they know it's you?). Just look at how some people interact in on-line forums, it's anonymous - many users interact in ways that would never happen face-to-face.

PS I just ordered my GaleForce Blaster.........
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Old 10-08-10, 12:29 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by spoonsphere View Post
/*start rant*/

i don't understand what's happened to common courtesy?

almost every day that i ride, i encounter people who are just rude, in one form or another.

crossing some road in reston, va on the w&od trail the other day (sunrise valley drive perhaps) - a few of us were biking one behind the other. there was a red light for traffic - two lanes in each direction. we stopped. then one bike went across. the bike in front of me started to go. she was going through one lane when the car in the next lane decided to drive through, and she had to hit her brakes hard. the man in the car drove another 20 feet only to sit at a red light.

today, coming out of reston town center, i went straight across reston parkway at a walk signal. a car turning right out of the town center honked at me.

you also have the guy who wants to honk as he passes you on a busy rush hour road. this has happened more than once on great falls street in falls church.

explain to me what honking accomplishes in such situations?

it's not just cars...

as a courtesy, when approaching someone on the w&od, whether they are on a bike or walking, you call out to let them know you're passing. even if you're passing in an empty oncoming lane, you still call out so that the person doesn't get startled and also so that they're aware someone is coming from behind in case they suddenly decide to turn around or something.

so another time, there are three people walking in front of me, and they're walking three abreast. they were walking such the person on the left was half way into the lane from the other side. that's fine - you're having a conversation while you're walking.

you call out to say you want to pass. two people are walking from the other side, also side by side. you call out again. they don't hear you, they don't move. you have to hit the breaks and come to a stop.

sorry - just venting.

/* end rant */

not everyone is like this, fortunately. plenty of times, people stop and let you cross. other times, when they can't safely pass, people give you space in a lane like you were any other vehicle.
this book: On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society [Paperback]
http://www.amazon.com/Killing-Psycho.../dp/0316330116

basically there are 3 components to commit violence

1. Psychological Distancing
2. Social Distancing
2. Physical Distancing

i.e. its impossible to disembowel your children with a dull antler horn, however its much easier to drop an atomic bomb from 30,000ft on a city (insert slanders, etc.)

in the case with an enclosed automobile, the degree of "anonymity" behind steel and glass, combined with the application of power (brake and accelerator), and perhaps a degree of "righteousness" = capacity to commit violence
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Old 10-08-10, 12:41 PM   #18
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I also attribute the overall decline in civility (and it's not just motorists) to the fact we tend to live our lives almost completely anonymously in large cities. We don't have that sense of connectedness that our ancestors did living in smaller and much more mutually inter-dependent communities. That rude motorist doesn't see us as another human being, we're an annoyance making him or her arrive 30 seconds late whatever they're doing that's so important (unless your next door neighbour was a complete jackass would they honk and scream at you while you're riding if they know it's you?). Just look at how some people interact in on-line forums, it's anonymous - many users interact in ways that would never happen face-to-face.
I agree, and I think it's even worse in cars because they are an almost totally dehumanizing thing. You don't see anyone around you as a human being in a car, because you can't see them. Something in our brains viscerally requires human contact in order to not get angry at the obstacles in front of us. Driving a car is almost like a video game where people are just jockeying for position with other cars. It's not at all like interacting with other people, even though that's what we're doing. So, with the human element gone, everything is just a source of frustration. Contrast that to a bike where you can say hello to people you see every day along your route, etc. It's a much more community-oriented means of transportation, just by its very nature. The city doesn't feel nearly as isolating when you're on a bike vs. a car.
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Old 10-08-10, 12:50 PM   #19
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This bike forums. You are allowed to rant. We prefer you rant about cagers, but will also permit rants against other cyclist as well. But only after certain criteria is met.
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Old 10-08-10, 12:59 PM   #20
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You and I share a common belief (in fact, that has become my motto over the years).

I also attribute the overall decline in civility (and it's not just motorists) to the fact we tend to live our lives almost completely anonymously in large cities. We don't have that sense of connectedness that our ancestors did living in smaller and much more mutually inter-dependent communities. That rude motorist doesn't see us as another human being, we're an annoyance making him or her arrive 30 seconds late whatever they're doing that's so important (unless your next door neighbour was a complete jackass would they honk and scream at you while you're riding if they know it's you?). Just look at how some people interact in on-line forums, it's anonymous - many users interact in ways that would never happen face-to-face.

PS I just ordered my GaleForce Blaster.........
Yup. That anonymity makes people feel they can get away with stuff like that. Everybody is tough inside a car. I bet if you chased that dude, got his plates number he'd soften up suddenly as his anonymity and sense of safety will evaporate.
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Old 10-08-10, 01:00 PM   #21
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This bike forums. You are allowed to rant. We prefer you rant about cagers, but will also permit rants against other cyclist as well. But only after certain criteria is met.
Bunch of us should sign up on some car forum and start ranting about jerk drivers, he he he
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Old 10-08-10, 10:21 PM   #22
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This goes out to all the cagers who stop to let me cross Cedar, Great Falls, Little Falls and all the other small street crossings on the W &OD.
Go west on the W&OD and deal with Wiehle, Sterling Blvd, or Belmont Ridge Roads and report back.. Your tune will change
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Old 10-08-10, 10:57 PM   #23
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I absolutely love my commute, there are stretches on the road and stretches on an MUP. I encounter some really generous people who are more concerned about my well being than their time, but there are always a few people who are more concerned about their 2.2 seconds that they will miss out on if they are stuck behind me.

I got a little flustered just the other afternoon when I heard a comment that I just couldn't get out of my head. I was on a riding on the shoulder of a very busy 4 lane road at a traffic light. The light turned green and the cars begin to pass me, when a guy leans his head out of the window of an SUV and yelled "fagot". That was it, just one word. No other aggressive action or objects thrown, just the one word.
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Old 10-08-10, 11:44 PM   #24
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It's an environmentally learned behavior. I live in Taiwan where traffic is crazy and tons of people don't follow the rules as a matter of practice, but there's almost zero verbal rudeness or "road rage". Everyone knows and accepts that everyone else drives crazy and they just go on about getting down the road. After experiencing streets in the US and watching Youtube clips from Australia and the UK, it makes me want to stay put for a while. I REALLY don't miss dangerously impatient US drivers who love sharing their opinion with other road users.
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Old 10-09-10, 09:53 AM   #25
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It's an environmentally learned behavior.
Yes. I think people are rude on the road because rudeness is widespread in general. This is a corollary, of course, of the truth that people are stupid.
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