Don't do it often but even less often when I'm wearing lobster mitts (the message gets confused, I will often get a polite wave back, not what I was looking for).
A word to the wise ain't necessary - it's the stupid ones that need the advice. Bill Cosby
Here in MA, that's the morning wave from Mas$hole drivers. I try to keep calm and pedal on, with mixed results. There is a pedestrian activated red light crosswalk between 2 rotaries, lots of cars. It's my worst light in 7 towns. Threw my water bottle off a car hood at a car running the red light VERY late. Next to me was woman with a stroller, on the other side of the 4 lanes, 3 runners had to jump back. YRMV
A few years ago someone else posted what I think is a much better, and civil, gesture than flipping them the bird:
"I like to give them a lazy thumbs-down to register my disapproval." -- Anonymous
As I said it was probably a rash decision to flip them off but they were evidently looking for trouble when they threw the battery at me. I was just lucky enough to make an impression on them when I nutted up on them. I have had experiences with bullies before in life which is probably why my father taught boxing and martial arts. I was always a timid kid. Sometimes you take your chances. The fact is they did get out of the car and most likely had all intentions of whipping my ass. I was scared! By that time I hadn't much of a choice it was either run, which I'd tried before in a different incident and it didn't work, or face them head on. I chose the later and it worked. I don't do much of the gesturing anymore. That was 25 years ago at the age of 21. I like to think I've matured a little since then. Thanks for the input Walter S
Last edited by Osman82; 04-04-14 at 11:16 AM. Reason: Accidentally hit post before done.
I would probably never use the finger unless it was out and out reckless by the other person.. usually it's just a raise of the hand.. like a WTF kind of move.
I've flipped off drivers in the past, but I refrain from doing so now.
What Mr. IGH said: "Flipping the bird doesn't make me more relaxed or happier, it just escalates the situation."
Plus, my state has gone increasingly nuts on guns. You never know who's armed, and you don't want to find out the hard way.
I assume we're talking about making the gesture in question, known by its Latin name "digitus impudicus," while riding a bicycle, right? Because I have made this gesture in many contexts over the years.
While riding a bike, though, I can only remember doing this on two occasions. Once in 1981 (I remember the date; I was riding with my father, and it was his 50th birthday) and a driver cut him off. I was right behind my father and had ample opportunity to gesture at the driver. The driver appeared to be shocked and offended; which was exactly what I wanted.
I also made the gesture just a couple weeks ago; again, I was riding behind another cyclist, a car cut dangerously close to the cyclist in front of me, causing him to take evasive action. I saw the whole thing and, again, had ample time to indicate my displeasure to the driver. I don't know if she saw me; at any rate, she took the insult very stoically.
In all likelihood I've made this gesture other times in the intervening years, but not all that may times.
I have definitely done this a few times while commuting, but try not to anymore. Typically I have done this when someone does something very a-hole-ish and intentional, not when someone may have just been "clueless" or unintentional, which is probably more common. In the later case I just don't think its effective or appropriate. There are other ways to get attention and let them know they did something that will less likely make them mad back at you. The former may feel good for me for a second, but I don't think does much as this person probably knows what they did was bad and doesn't care.
To be honest...countless times over 20+ years of commuting. BUT, I've mellowed a lot and have become far more judicious in it's use. I still believe there are times when it is absolutely appropriate but my threshold is high now. I have 4 reactions in this order.
A. Ignore. Sometimes accompanied by a WTF head shake.
C. Blow them a kiss.
D. Flip 'em the finger.
Never. I think the person giving the finger almost always looks like a bigger ass than the person he's giving it to. I don't want to be that person.
Have Bike, Will Travel
You guys flip off strangers with 4000 lb vehicles?
It would be interesting to do a survey
Male vs female I suspect it is very rare for female riders to do something that pointless/dangerous
Ages of various folks-guessing flip off artists are younger males.
It is childish beyond belief to think it is a good idea.
as Slim Again suggests-we-USA-E-INS are armed and violence prone.
Must be younger males doing it-an adult would know better.
Phoebeisis, please ride a mile in my bike shoes before you are so quick to judge. MA biking and driving is like no other. The level of distracted( cell phones), rude and self important behavior among the drivers of this state still leaves me shaking my head. And I have lived here my whole life. And I'm 50, dude. I'm talking deliberate action that puts my life in danger, not just and occasional lack of judgement. Lets go back to Wednesday. I'm taking the middle of the lane on a narrow ( 10 ft) suburban road, 20 mph speed limit. Double S curve, tight radius, blind corners. Car comes up fast,behind me, honking. I'm doing 18 on a slight downhill. Tries to pass me 3 times, zero ability to see around corners, first oncoming vehicle is a school bus, partly into my lane. Not good. Finally when the road straightens out, I slide right and he passes only to try to brake check me. Yowzer. Yes he got the MA wave. You would just " Let it go" ? You're a better person than me. YRMV.
I wish that I could retract the last couple of times.
Once, in a traffic circle (roundabout). Guy tried to enter the circle in front of me. He was a circle jerk!
Good list. I like the "kiss". I have to react somehow or I fume with anger. Blowing I kiss is a good way to let something nondestructive out.Originally Posted by modernjess;
i would also like to know how it escalates the situation if you no longer flip people off. do you have any personal anecdotes to share?Flipping the bird doesn't make me more relaxed or happier, it just escalates the situation.
i find the digitus impudicus to be an effective way to communicate displeasure with someone's actions. moreover, doing so does not stress me out in the least. if anything its mildly pleasurable -- kind of like scratching a mild itch or a good long yawn.
Road rash is a precious gift. Road rash is your friend. Bask in it, appreciate it, love it. Above all, learn from it. --Robert Hurst
As a corollary to all this, one thing I have done recently is to make sure the driver sees me taking a picture of the back of their car when possible. I dont want their actions to ruin the rest of my day by going to the police and showing them a crappy cell phone picture and then being told to run along. But I do want the driver to spend the rest of the day in their car paranoid as can be.
Torker Graduate, 288 rods a day without pub detours.