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Old 05-16-08, 06:12 AM   #1
lighthorse
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Road Rage, Old Men, and Be Careful Out There

With the inspiring adventures of Will playing out on these pages it almost feels wrong to post such a mundane one as this but here goes:


So I am on my regular route headed north following the river to my right. This route is very peaceful, no access roads from the river side, slow and considerate traffic, lots of runners, walkers, and cyclists. I am in the aerobars cruising along at 20 mph as I approach an intersecting road from my left. There is a pickup approaching the stop sign. And suddenly I realize:
a. He is not going to stop
b. He is not going to make the turn in his lane
c. He is completely in my lane head on
d. He is talking on his cell phone and looking in his lap
e. I am bailing out into the grass to my right
Since I don’t have a horn on my bike I hollar at him to watch where he is going. Luckily his window is down, he hears me and cuts back toward the centerline just as I am at his window. I tell him to get off the _____ phone.

His reaction is to slam on the brakes, get out of his truck and scream at me for having the temerity to hollar at him. He is screaming so loudly that people are coming out of their houses to see what happened. I slowly pedaled back and asked him if he was on the phone causing him to nearly end my day.

“Listen old man, you don’t live around here and it is non of your business if I was on the phone. “ I was standing now next to another pickup that had pulled up. That driver and I just shook our heads, and I left. Maybe I need to get a really loud horn to alert drivers that they are on the wrong side of the road and about to put a scratch on their fender with my body parts.
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Old 05-16-08, 06:28 AM   #2
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There is no accounting for that kind of gross ignorance and stupidity. And if you had a horn and used it he probably would have yelled about that too. Glad you weren't hurt.
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Old 05-16-08, 06:39 AM   #3
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Glad you weren't hurt. There are more of them out there and their numbers are increasing every day.

700 dead cyclists in one year. 45,000 dead motorists in one year. We take it so much for granted that It may never change. I don't even know who to complain to any more.
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Old 05-16-08, 07:10 AM   #4
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Not likely, but just maybe you're interaction will give this guy pause next time he's thinking about firing up the cell phone while driving. On the other hand, I have a good friend who is a decent guy and works as a health care provider. Yet he talks on the cell phone while driving, doesn't wear a seat belt and often drives with his knees on the steering wheel and not his hands. And he's a cyclist!
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Old 05-16-08, 07:25 AM   #5
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I've had a few close calls (in my car) with drivers holding cell phones to their ears, just one hand available on the steering wheel, and they end up swinging wide in a turn. Another good case for prohibiting cell phones while driving. I drive a stick-shift car, so in non-freeway conditions I'm not in the least tempted to try to talk & drive!

In your incident, I've sometimes find that people try to defend themselves even when they know they're in the wrong. He might have been a bit shaken up at almost causing an accident, but took his anger out at you since you were an easy target. I would hope that he later thought about it and realized that it was his fault. I think I've done this too -- yelled at a kid for almost running in front of my car, when I was actually pissed at myself for not being more aware and seeing him sooner.
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Old 05-16-08, 07:38 AM   #6
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If you look up JAM in the cyclists dictionary you'll find a picture of him posted as a part of the description of that term.
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Old 05-16-08, 07:41 AM   #7
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I have a good friend who is a decent guy and works as a health care provider. Yet he talks on the cell phone while driving, doesn't wear a seat belt and often drives with his knees on the steering wheel and not his hands. And he's a fool!
Fixed it for ya. It's one thing to not care about your own safety (no seat belts), but when you imperil others on the road (or anywhere) with stupid behavior, that crosses the line. No offense meant to you, but with friends like this, who needs enemies?
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Old 05-16-08, 07:50 AM   #8
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Fixed it for ya. It's one thing to not care about your own safety (no seat belts), but when you imperil others on the road (or anywhere) with stupid behavior, that crosses the line. No offense meant to you, but with friends like this, who needs enemies?
I hear ya. If we're going to a cycling event, either I drive or find a way not to drive with him. But I feel sorry for his poor wife--and for anyone who ends up in his way.
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Old 05-16-08, 08:35 AM   #9
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Did you jot down the plate number? A call to the police describing the incident, perhaps including the information that he might have been drinking, could be useful.

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Old 05-16-08, 09:25 AM   #10
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Paul,
I did not think about getting his tag number until later. He was just a working man on his way to a job. The trailer behind his truck even had his business logo on it and I did not get that. Frankly, after my heart rate slowed down, I was just pi_____ off. I am glad that the other driver arrived and sat there, it kind of defused the whole thing. This route is such a pretty place, the houses are along the river and those living there are keeping a quiet atmosphere. I will be back again tomorrow.
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Old 05-16-08, 09:51 AM   #11
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Paul, He was just a working man on his way to a job.
I hope to hell he loses it if that's what it takes to gets him off the road.

Paul
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Old 05-16-08, 10:03 AM   #12
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Paul,
I did not think about getting his tag number until later. He was just a working man on his way to a job. The trailer behind his truck even had his business logo on it and I did not get that. Frankly, after my heart rate slowed down, I was just pi_____ off. I am glad that the other driver arrived and sat there, it kind of defused the whole thing. This route is such a pretty place, the houses are along the river and those living there are keeping a quiet atmosphere. I will be back again tomorrow.
Your right, its a beautiful place to ride. I know that most folks become accustomed to the weather there but does it present any great difficulties for bikers?
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Old 05-16-08, 10:12 AM   #13
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He was just a working man on his way to a job.
I have a job. I drive to it. I don't drive unsafely. Your point?
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Old 05-16-08, 10:33 AM   #14
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...but just maybe you're interaction will give this guy pause next time he's thinking about firing up the cell phone while driving.
+1 It's pretty unlikely that this guy is pure evil, and despite his posturing, he is likely to be thinking about this incident as much as you are. Gald you made the right moves to get out of his way, and were not injured. Your story is another good example of why, IMHO, cell phone use while driving should be banned and the ban strickly enforced.
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Old 05-16-08, 11:10 AM   #15
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I'm glad you weren't hurt.

It's difficult to always be prepared to take control of a situation and conversation and direct it in the way it should go. Some of us pick it up at our day jobs and have opportunities to develop and refine the tools so that they appear very natural, buy us some time to think, and helps put the other person either in their place or begins to divert them from an undesirable path.

Cops and Comedians are examples of professions where the good ones develop these skills.

Have you ever seen a good comedian? Do you think that's the first time he/she told that joke?

Have you ever seen a good Cop take control of a tense situation and resolve it? Do you think that's the first time the words, phrases, actions were taken?

Handling these kinds of situations is like learning to tell a really good, really complicated joke that includes audience participation that you include in the routine.

I learned this in Army BCT and the various NCO Academies you have to go through to get promotions. The biggest part of the population doesn't realize that Cops, Comedians, Magicians, etc, are working from a script that they have developed over time that first sets the parameters or tone of the scene then progresses from one predictable response to the next.

This post is too long already so I'll try to wrap it up:

"His reaction is to slam on the brakes, get out of his truck and scream at me for having the temerity to hollar at him"

Reply in an even but projected voice:

"You ran me off the road because you weren't paying attention to your driving. Is that your truck and is "BR-549" your correct tag number?"

Wait for response:

It can go a number of directions that you will have to manage, but you will want to stay away from questions that require sympathy or concern from what may be a sociopath. "I slowly pedaled back and asked him if he was on the phone causing him to nearly end my day." This is a submissive response requesting empathy from an obvious bully. You allowed him to set the tone and control the situation.

The first "unofficial" rule for dealing with strangers in what could become hazardous situations is to "Be Polite, Be Courteous, and have a plan to kill everyone you meet."

When somebody slams on their brakes and gets out of a vehicle because I have just told them to get off the phone and drive is to be prepared for everything from "Are you hurt?" to "I'm gonna kill you".

So you'll either have to learn to hold your tongue, or learn to work a crowd. You can't always count on a JAM to just drive away after you give them driving advice.
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Old 05-16-08, 11:33 AM   #16
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People in cars these days just feel way too isolated from their surroundings.
I call it the SUV Syndrome. These things aren't automobiles, they're freakin' Living rooms on wheels.
Lincoln even had an add to that effect a while back.
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Old 05-16-08, 02:14 PM   #17
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Reminds me of a story that happened to me a couple of years ago. I was driving my car looking for a parking space, I spotted one up ahead so I turn on my directional signal pull, up to the front car so I can back into the spot in a paralel parking exercise when the guy behind me comes right up behind. I sit there and look at him so he backs up, with out looking and hits the car behind him. I had no idea any of this went on, I park in the spot, put my money in the meter and start walking toward the store I wanted to patronize when I see this guy and a lady on the sidewalk, the guy starts yelling at me, saying it was my fault he hit the car behind him and that he will never be a nice guy and back up for anyone again. I just looked at him and shook my head and walked away. Some people don't want to be responsible for anything, blame it on something or someone else seems to be the motto of the these days.
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Old 05-16-08, 02:49 PM   #18
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There is no accounting for that kind of gross ignorance and stupidity.
Yup, just let it go. You'll have your day sometime.

... Brad
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Old 05-16-08, 03:02 PM   #19
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"You ran me off the road because you weren't paying attention to your driving. Is that your truck and is "BR-549" your correct tag number?"
Great idea. I had an incident like the one mentioned above and I was not quite that calm -- I did advise the driver that I knew his address (the incident happened right in front of his house) and that if he ever killed me going down his street I'd make sure my widow ended up owning his house.


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The first "unofficial" rule for dealing with strangers in what could become hazardous situations is to "Be Polite, Be Courteous, and have a plan to kill everyone you meet."
Much better than losing your cool, as I did!
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Old 05-16-08, 03:13 PM   #20
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I learned a long time ago; there are just some hills not worth dying over... My approach is to avoid confrontation, move on, and be glad I didn't get hurt or killed. You can't teach these sorts a lesson, and challenging people in such situations is like bringing a pocket knife to a gun fight. That doesn't mean you can't write down their tag # and report them.
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Old 05-16-08, 03:22 PM   #21
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Your story is another good example of why, IMHO, cell phone use while driving should be banned and the ban strickly enforced.


And right after they ban cell phone use while driving, they should ban tuning the radio, adjusting the A/C or heater, setting the cruise control, talking to a passenger, etc., etc., etc. And, no, I don't talk on my cell phone while driving (or riding my bike) because I don't think it is appropriate behavior while driving.

Peoples attitudes about engaging in distracting activities while driving need to change dramatically before any kind of legislation will have a snowball's chance in hlel of doing any good.

Sorry for the hijack.
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Old 05-16-08, 03:22 PM   #22
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In your incident, I've sometimes find that people try to defend themselves even when they know they're in the wrong.
Change "even" to "ESPECIALLY"...
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Old 05-16-08, 03:31 PM   #23
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The first "unofficial" rule for dealing with strangers in what could become hazardous situations is to "Be Polite, Be Courteous, and have a plan to kill everyone you meet."
Actually, when you have a plan to kill everyone you meet, it's much easier to be polite and courteous.
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Old 05-16-08, 03:31 PM   #24
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I learned a long time ago; there are just some hills not worth dying over... My approach is to avoid confrontation, move on, and be glad I didn't get hurt or killed. You can't teach these sorts a lesson, and challenging people in such situations is like bringing a pocket knife to a gun fight. That doesn't mean you can't write down their tag # and report them.
That is the best method of course.

Some of us just have a habit of sounding off when things get too close. Often it will help alert a driver that there is a problem and it gives a fellow a split second or a couple of feet to open up a gap and avoid contact.

I'm no doctor (and I don't play one on the internet) but I think some of us are hard wired to bark when we are threatened. I'm afraid I am one of them. If someone wants to step out of their vehicle and have a word with me they give up a lot in weight and speed. I'm 200+ and you'd better leave a door open and the motor running.

And I never take a knife to a gun fight.
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Old 05-16-08, 03:32 PM   #25
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Actually, when you have a plan to kill everyone you meet, it's much easier to be polite and courteous.
Word.
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