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Old 03-10-06, 10:48 AM   #1
NOS88
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Road Rage & Ageism - mild rant

Yesterday I'm returning home from a great ride; I'm four blocks from my house and some guy in a pickup truck pulls his truck right in front of me and then deliberately blocks off the entire roadway. Now he rolls down his window and starts screaming about me getting my arse off the road, because I don't belong there. I unclick, walk my bike up on the sidewalk to walk around him. I haven't said a word to him, and he throws his drink at me, ice and all. Now I'm not happy about this, but figure I'm only 4 blocks from home, and I should be able to remember his license number. When I get home I call the cops, and they come by. I give them the license number and tell my story. Then I get the ageism crap from the cop. He says, "Sir, I'm sure when you were younger things were a lot different than they are today. You probably grew up in a time when you could let your front door unlocked. But today this kind of thing happens all the time." I'm not sure who I'm the most upset with at this point.
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Old 03-10-06, 10:59 AM   #2
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Simple, call again and get another cop. This needs to be recorded so if the same guy does it again, they have a history on him. You did the right thing. I'm not sure many of us could have done it as well as you did. The cop shouldn't have an opinion on it, he should just do his job.
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Old 03-10-06, 11:15 AM   #3
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Good job. I usually do the productive thing of screaming back and trading upturned digits. My shrink
says to let it pass and return all their rage with a smile! GRRRRRRRRRR I have a hard time doing this!
Up here in VT we are supposed to ride 18-24" to the left of the right hand lane marker, but I guess
most of the screamers can't read!!
I hope I survive this summer.
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Old 03-10-06, 11:23 AM   #4
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A smile can be the best weapon, because it absolutely infuriates them! Plus, they can't do anything about it - how do you explain that you took offense at a smile?

Ya done right, NOS88. You were assaulted. That's even less acceptable now than it would have been 30 years ago. Make sure a report gets filed.
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Old 03-10-06, 11:31 AM   #5
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Sounds like the cop was trying to make you feel better, but came off as a condescending bigot.

The cop probably assumes you felt personally threatened by this person that singled you out for some kind of unusually anti-social behavior and that you needed to be reassured so you didn't assume you were now the target of some lunatic stalker. (not that you aren't) ;-)

I had a similar experience on a motorcycle when a fellow *pushed* me out into an intersection so he could make a right turn on red. I gave chase to record the tag number and likewise made a police report. The cop did his best "Andy Taylor" impression to assure me it was no big deal and not to worry about it. I told him I wasn't worried, but that I wanted his assurance that the incident had been recorded so that if this fellow showed up at an emergency room to have a boot pulled out of his a$$ they would know where to return my property. He made a face like I didn't please him very much.

I am thankful that the people I deal with (generally) aren't what your average LEO has to deal with all the time. From his perspective you may have had an easy day of it compared to everybody else he met that day. That doesn't let him off the hook, but I have come to accept that many LEO's will be less than expert in those people skills that don't include throwing you to the ground and handcuffing you.

If he did his job professionally and accurately that's about the best one can expect.
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Old 03-10-06, 11:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlazingPedals
A smile can be the best weapon, because it absolutely infuriates them! Plus, they can't do anything about it - how do you explain that you took offense at a smile?

Ya done right, NOS88. You were assaulted. That's even less acceptable now than it would have been 30 years ago. Make sure a report gets filed.
Not many people try to intimidate me- I am short but stocky, and if they do-a cleat mark in the side of their vehicle normally gets them moving. Several years ago we had some idiot cut our group up, but they had to stop at a set of lights. One biker on each corner of his car- with the pedals up against the paint work and he got a warning not to move while the biggest of our lot gave him a 5 minute lecture on how to preserve his licence and his car. Pi**ed him off completely but he did not move his car.

I know the obvious thing to do is ignore the idiot and just report him- but we have the same problem in the UK of trying to report incidents like this. The police take the view that it must have been the bikers fault, and no witness's to prove either way. I do now enjoy riding with a policeman, but even he says that you have to ignore the idiots. Report them of course but nothing will get done about them.
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Old 03-10-06, 12:01 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by stapfam
Not many people try to intimidate me- I am short but stocky, and if they do-a cleat mark in the side of their vehicle normally gets them moving. Several years ago we had some idiot cut our group up, but they had to stop at a set of lights. One biker on each corner of his car- with the pedals up against the paint work and he got a warning not to move while the biggest of our lot gave him a 5 minute lecture on how to preserve his licence and his car. Pi**ed him off completely but he did not move his car.

I know the obvious thing to do is ignore the idiot and just report him- but we have the same problem in the UK of trying to report incidents like this. The police take the view that it must have been the bikers fault, and no witness's to prove either way. I do now enjoy riding with a policeman, but even he says that you have to ignore the idiots. Report them of course but nothing will get done about them.

Stapfam, I got to respond to what you did. In the U.S. that kind of behavior is very risky. Part of the reason I acted the way I did is from my experience. I've taught the martial arts and self-defense for over 25 years, and I've seen some very skilled people get shot because they forgot they can't block or outrun bullets. Hence, my approach is to never assume the person acting like a jerk doesn't have a weapon, or that he or she isn't more skilled than I am. I never want to risk a battle with someone and will only do so if there is absolutely no other way out. What I was hoping for was that the driver would get the message, "Hey, you act like this and people are going to report you and you'll receive citations for disorderly conduct."
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Old 03-10-06, 12:02 PM   #8
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Many "well meaning" normative people (not neccessarily the idiot type you were dealing with), believe that bicyclists don't belong on the road made exclusively for motorized traffic. This lack of consideration is borne out of ignorance, inflated ego and territorial behaviour all of which are sadly deeply engrained in the human species. We cyclists are a small minority in the traffic jungle and we must either leave it as does Stapfam in his off road escapades or put up with the "stones and arrows of misfortune".
Good reason to ride off road.
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Old 03-10-06, 12:06 PM   #9
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NOS88 I admire your patience and your taking action. Two things. The guy is no doubt a belligerent a**hole looking for an opportunity to express his true inner being...we cyclists are "out there", seemingly vulnerable, easy to pick on. Second, the cops are jaded and not always understanding. There response to my daughter's car being stolen was essentially, "Well, sh*t happens, we see a lot worse than this, call your insurance." But.......if we don't doggedly object and speak up who will? Its usually older people in a community who stand for standards of behavior...younger people are more often pushing limits, tsunamied by hormones, or just into discovering Life and themselves.

You did the right thing!

Anecdote. One of our local riders was seriously and dangerously harassed by some kids in a car. He caught them at the light. He unclipped, walked over to their car. He than kicked in their door panel with his cleat. Leaning in the window he told them calmly that cyclists were to be respected. A generally unassuming guy, he's now local legend. Vigilante stuff makes great stories and vicarious venting of frustrations, but.... you did the right thing.

(Were you to have kicked in his door, your driver might have learned something, or more likely he would become even more hateful towards cyclists.)
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Old 03-10-06, 12:28 PM   #10
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[QUOTE=NOS88]He says, "Sir, I'm sure when you were younger things were a lot different than they are today. You probably grew up in a time when you could let your front door unlocked. But today this kind of thing happens all the time." QUOTE]

I struggle daily with the thought that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Have to keep reminding myself that MY world is quite safe and easy. (I live north of North Dakota in Saskatchewan) We see so much violence and mayhem in the media and have to keep remembering that there are mostly really good people out there. If we accept that "this kind of thing happens all the time" it will get worse. Don't accept it - do what you can. The cop's world is filled daily with the bad guys and the stupid things they do. Yours is not. I did a 3000 km solo loaded tour from New Brunswick to Minneapolis last year and one of the best things about it was that it restored my faith in the goodness of mankind and did a lot to change a negative image I had developed of the average American citizen. I met hundreds of good folks who went out of their way to help me and had only 2 carloads of teenagers scream at me! I started out on the Adventure Cycling Northern Route but quickly decided to do my own thing and ended up cycling on a very wide variety of roads and traffic load. Though traffic was heavy and fast at times, I never felt personally threatened. I would do it again.
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Old 03-10-06, 12:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NOS88
Stapfam, I got to respond to what you did. In the U.S. that kind of behavior is very risky. Part of the reason I acted the way I did is from my experience. I've taught the martial arts and self-defense for over 25 years, and I've seen some very skilled people get shot because they forgot they can't block or outrun bullets. Hence, my approach is to never assume the person acting like a jerk doesn't have a weapon, or that he or she isn't more skilled than I am. I never want to risk a battle with someone and will only do so if there is absolutely no other way out. What I was hoping for was that the driver would get the message, "Hey, you act like this and people are going to report you and you'll receive citations for disorderly conduct."
Although they do appear in the UK. Even owning a gun is illegal in the UK, so are not a major problem. This leads to a different attitude in the UK and If anyone causes a problem to me, I will let them know about it. If they are in their car, they value their car and any damage done to it will cost them. They may scream and shout but they will not get out of their car and confront. By this time you normally have enough witnesses about to assist you in reporting them.
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Old 03-10-06, 01:14 PM   #12
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There is an alternate position that could have made the officer more attentive now that it's come up.

PA is a "shall issue" state. If you could have reported that you are a permit holder and were in possession during the assault; you could have noted for the officer that if your assailant had stepped out of his truck with a tire iron, bat, chain or anything else in his hand you couldn't identify, his paperwork would have been much more complicated.

I'm not advocating vigilante justice, but this kind of interaction is the genesis of CCW and "stand your ground" laws. Every place it's tried, the violent crime rates go down because the loon heads wandering around looking for a fight don't know who to pick on.

Might not have made any difference, but it's the sort of thing that gets folks down at the station house talking amongst themselves about what they should do....

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Old 03-10-06, 02:06 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals
Ya done right, NOS88. You were assaulted. That's even less acceptable now than it would have been 30 years ago. Make sure a report gets filed.
While it's only been 27 years since I was assaulted on my bike and deprived of the bike. The police response has not changed. Back then, they tried not to take a report, wouldn't believe me till someone called in to report witnessing the crime and identified one of the perps. Then they agreed to make a report.

Saying that anything was different back then is horsehockey. The cops don't care about bikes. Heck they don't care about cars being stolen or apartment break-ins or drive by shootings. They've always been sluggishly responsive when these have happened to me. Seems like their only interests are murder and busting people for using drugs.
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Old 03-10-06, 07:13 PM   #14
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You're right Artkansas. Back in the 70's, it was relatively rare for a cyclist to be assaulted, but it did happen. When it happened, cyclists would get the "well, we really can't do anything about this" talk. It does seem to be getting worse. I too wonder about the entire country going to hell in a handbasket. So, what else will police "just have to let slide", in ten years? in twenty years? How ofter is the excuse 'Well, things are different today", going to be used? Okay, I'm no history expert, but didn't the Roman start falling apart like this?

Ever hear this old joke?

A man is awakened by his wife in the middle of the night. She heard something move downstairs. The man hears it too, and it is definitely the sound of someone in the house. He quietly picks up the phone and dials 911. An operator answers, and he explains the situation in a whisper. The operator says, "Sorry, we have no one available, you'll have to wait", and hangs up.

The footsteps are getting closer. The man has in idea. He calls 911 again, and the operator answers. This time, the man says, "I called a few minutes ago about a burglar in my house, but it's okay now. You don't have to send anyone, I just shot him", and hangs up.

Withing two minutes, police cars surround the house. Officers break in, and grab an armed burglar. One officer asks the man, "This burglar hasn't been shot. Where's your gun?". The man answers "I don't own any guns". The officer becomes angry and says, "You told our dispatcher you had shot the burglar". The man smiles broadly and says, "Your dispatcher told me no one was available".
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Old 03-10-06, 08:35 PM   #15
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Call for a Cop, call for a pizza, see which one gets there first. You're on your own, so have a plan. When it's all over there'll be someone around to fill out the paperwork.
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Old 03-11-06, 11:58 AM   #16
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When I was in high school (class of '65), I delivered pizzas. Had a cute little van. Met nice people, fun job. My son recently started delivering pizzas as a second part-time job for a national chain. I rode with him one night. I was so put off by the bizarre and menacing people he delivered to, the thugged out & drugged out neighborhoods where fast food is a staple, I pulled all stops on pressuring him to find a different job. He was relieved I think. Believe me, the world has changed. I teach the children of these neighborhoods.....and some parts of our world aren't done changing yet. I'm glad riding takes me out in the country.

Vigilante action may be more called for than ever in some circumstances, but is probably more hazardous than ever.
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Old 03-11-06, 01:26 PM   #17
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Assuming that your story is accurate, I think that you did all the right things. That jerk was trying to get a rise out of you and the more calm that you are and the less you respond, the better. Pretty much anything that you say or do, like the ever popular one finger salute, rewards him so he'll do it again.

The cop was just trying to diplomatically tell you that your complaint wasn't going to go anywhere. He didn't see the incident, you don't have injuries or damage, and, trust me, even if he finds the jerk, that guy will have a completely different story in which you were the evil doer.

Actually, this is an area where I think that ageism works in our favor. I have far fewer incidents of this kind at age 63 than I did back when I was 33. Maybe I put out some different subliminal vibes than I did back then. I can tell you that my ignoring response is relatively new. I used to try to chase down cars that passed me too close. I wonder what I would have done if I'd ever caught one?
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Old 03-11-06, 01:53 PM   #18
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I wonder what I would have done if I'd ever caught one?
Years ago, as a part-time job, I was a floor walker in a May Department store.

I sometimes worked with security, and one time a guy grabbed a jacket and headed out the door. He was BIG and sort of scary looking. I chased him awhile, and almost caught up with him, and the very same thought occurred to me:

I wonder what I would do if I ever caught him?

Having absolutely no training in subduing someone, being by myself, and having no clue as to what weapon, if any, the perpetrator had, I quickly stopped chasing him and turned back.

Note:

A few weeks later, one of the lady security types ended up in the hospital with injuries sustained in such a pursuit!

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Old 03-11-06, 06:22 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrannyGear
When I was in high school (class of '65), I delivered pizzas. Had a cute little van. Met nice people, fun job. My son recently started delivering pizzas as a second part-time job for a national chain. I rode with him one night. I was so put off by the bizarre and menacing people he delivered to, the thugged out & drugged out neighborhoods where fast food is a staple, I pulled all stops on pressuring him to find a different job. He was relieved I think. Believe me, the world has changed. I teach the children of these neighborhoods.....and some parts of our world aren't done changing yet. I'm glad riding takes me out in the country.

Vigilante action may be more called for than ever in some circumstances, but is probably more hazardous than ever.
I delivered newspapers (the Boston Record American, long defunct.). You don't see paper boys anymore, and it's easy to see why. Today, newspapers are home delivered by adults, riding around in cars. There's just too many nut jobs out there for kids to deal with.

Today, a lot of the big pizza chains have that "delivered in 30 minutes, or you don't pay" bit. I understand that the delivery people get challenged frequently, by scary people who point at their watches, say it's been more than 30 minutes, and dare the delivery person to do something about it, often making threats in the process. All over a friggin pizza.

Did that ever happen to your son while he was doing that job?

Let's see,,,, People making threats over a pizza delivery, People going at it with baseball bats over a parking space at the shopping mall,,,, Nope, nothing wrong here.
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Old 03-11-06, 10:39 PM   #20
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The best action is to smile & wave but its hard ,very hard ,the cops are so busy on a Fri.& Sat. nights that you get accused of wasting their time unless theres an injury. The hooligans have won ,I used to ride to work on a Fri& Sat night but now I,ve given up after being forced off the road several times ,had beer bottles smashed on the road in front of me by passing cars, been hit on the head by a 1/2 full beer bottle (at least I hope it was 1/2 full of beer), good job wearing a helmet is mandatory!!& having KFC & McD's empty & 1/2 eaten junk thrown at me ! So now on a Fri & Sat late & night shift I take the wifes car to work even though it breaks my arse to do so !!
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Old 03-11-06, 10:52 PM   #21
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" You're right, Officer, because waaay back then the police actually DID THEIR JOBS."


BTW, vigilante justice is when someone goes looking for a crime, not when they are minding their own business and end up defending themselves.
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Old 03-11-06, 11:56 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trackhub

Did that ever happen to your son while he was doing that job?
He was verbally threatened and cursed at frequently, chased away without payment a few times, saw young children wandering the streets late at night with no supervision, saw a fair share of buzzed, stoned, drunk, meth freaked, belligerent, pathetic, etc. A few locals showed him their guns. Had a pizza thrown at him once. Got sucked into adjudicating a domestic brawl once. He joked it was like some scenes in Taxi Driver where Robert De Niro drives his taxi through a hellish landscape. I wasn't laughing and, at heart, neither was he.

And saddest of all, he met normal if poor people who have to live in the middle of all this with many locks on their doors. Mostly he was too nervous to feel much compassion for them until his day off. He should have gotten a few sociology college units for what saw.

Sorry...veering off into Foo here. I remember a student I once had. His street name was "Tarzan". As a late teen he robbed a 7/11 and made his getaway on a skateboard. Police got him a block away. Hard to romanticize these urban guerillas...many of them either chemically addled or are just not too deep. [Done]
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Old 03-12-06, 07:37 PM   #23
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I ride a fixed gear most of the time, having become addicted some years back. I have often lamented the lack of velodromes in the U.S. In fact, sometimes, I feel I would have fit in much better during the 1890's to 1920's, when track racing was huge in this country. On the other hand, I guess it's a good thing there is no velodrome near me, as I would surely be spending most of my time there.

In all the reading I have done, it does seem that accidents do indeed happen to track racers, and sometimes they can be ugly. Anyone with real track riding experience want to share that experience here? I only know one guy who has ridden on the Lehigh Valley velodrome. He says that once you become used to riding the track, it's a lot of fun, and easy to become hooked on.

Heh, I can just imagine what most americans would say, if track racing were to become popular again, and veledromes started being constructed: "Oh, a little track to ride bicycles on! Oh that's nice, now they won't have to ride their bicycles on the street!" Am I right or wrong here?
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Old 03-12-06, 07:45 PM   #24
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In Chester County, PA, you were assaulted. Period.

My advice is to call the officer's superior, make sure this gets reported as an assault, and then FOLLOW THROUGH with the appropriate charges.

I work in retail and have been the victim of an assault that followed a shoplifting. While it was very tedius, the result of the ensuing trial was extremely vindicating when the perp was sentenced to 10 YEARS!!

As it turned out, he had been released from jail not 6 months prior for a similar offense, and the violation of his probation in addition to the new charge of robbery (PA law says an assault while shoplifting is automatically upgraded to robbery) resulted in the subsequent sentence. The point is that you do not know your perps history, you could be doing someone a huge favor by making sure there is documentation of the event, OR he could already have a history, at which point he may have just sealed his own fate.

Please make the call!
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Old 03-12-06, 07:45 PM   #25
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When the Midwest Tandem Rally was held in Indianapolis, we had an ice cream party at the Major taylor Velodrome. It was kind of neat but I think that I'd get bored riding around in little circles all of the time. The thing that surprised me is that it's a hilly ride. Unless you do all of your riding on the apron (no fun there) you are constantly either climbing or else diving down the banking.
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