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Old 08-16-14, 01:43 PM   #1
RLinNH
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I Think I Handled That Very Well...

Pedaling along at about 28 MPH this past Thursday. I come to a T Intersection, the stop sign is for the road that intersects with the road I am pedaling on. Gray Honda Oddesey at the stop, comes to a complete stop, waits until I am about 30 Ft. away, then SLOWLY pulls out. I react, damn near winding up under the vans back tires. Van pulls away slowly. I am FURIOUS!!! (Bit of background. Iraq War Vet with anger issues that I think I have in check). I hammer to a stop about 3/4 of a mile up the road. I see the van turn into Target. Perfect!!! I follow the van until they pull into a spot, they stop, I pull up to the front drivers side bumper, and see 2 60ish yr. old ladies in the van. She sees me, I recognize the comfortableness in her. Driver rolls her window down 1/2". "Can I help you" she asks? I then ask her, in a very calm voice, if she set out this morning to kill somebody. She looks confused. I explain to her that she almost killed me about a mile back. "I didn't see you" she says. I think, BULL****. I then go on to tell her that I was 1 second away from being under her rear tires. And if she did hit me, it would have been fatal and that my wife and 2 young children would of been heartbroken that their daddy was dead. She looks concerned. She doesn't move. I then say, "I just wanted to make you aware that cars are not the only people on the roads. Pay more attention when you are driving". She apologizes, from the comfort of her van, and I pedaled away feeling good about the transaction hoping that at least I made a difference for one cager that day.
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Old 08-16-14, 04:47 PM   #2
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Perfect.
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Old 08-16-14, 04:55 PM   #3
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You could have done worse, but this is the type of militant cyclist behavior that most of us are trying to distance ourselves from, and the reason for our mistreatment in a lot of cases. Educate, don't berate.
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Old 08-16-14, 05:02 PM   #4
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You made a complete fool of yourself! She was correct... sort of. She saw you.... looked through you... her brain made no memory of you. Her behavior was completely normal.

There are dangers when cycling. I know some people think if they scream, wave their arms about, menace, threaten. or educate drivers (like somehow God gave us the authority to do that) then peoples brain will work as WE desire them to. It is NOT going to happen. Human brains were not designed to work well with fast moving cars and nearly silent and barely noticeable bicycles. We can't force or educate a brain rewiring on the human race.... we are merely cyclist.

Maybe... the risk involved in cycling is too great for a husband and father like yourself. For sure... old women should NOT be hassled by scary men in parking lots. You should be ashamed. But don't feel bad. We've all done the same or worse. We are ALL... only human.

From time-to-time.... I also get the bejeebers scared out of me when cycling. I expect to! There are risks and dangers in cycling. In my experience cycling is a blood sport. I have been injured in the past and I feel confident I will be injured cycling in the future (God willing).

It reminds me I am alive... and life is precious.

Last edited by Dave Cutter; 08-16-14 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 08-16-14, 05:21 PM   #5
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I did that the other day to a cyclist on a walking trail that specifically bans bicycling. I was one second away from getting hit by him, and possibly dying as a result. I berated him. He told me he didn't give a ****. (by the way, true story, except the bit about the possibility of dying)

OP, too bad you took it on yourself to have a go at someone older than yourself. Being a vet doesn't excuse the anger issues, which you obviously haven't got under control. If you had them under control, you would have just continued on riding, accepted that is part of cycling in traffic, vowed to continue improving your anticipation and observation skills, and not harrassed someone in a parking lot.
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Old 08-16-14, 05:25 PM   #6
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You made a complete fool of yourself! She was correct... sort of. She saw you.... looked through you... her brain made no memory of you. Her behavior was completely normal.

There are dangers when cycling. I know some people think if they scream, wave their arms about, menace, threaten. or educate drivers (like somehow God gave us the authority to do that) then peoples brain will work as WE desire them to. It is NOT going to happen. Human brains were not designed to work well with fast moving cars and nearly silent and barely noticeable bicycles. We can't force or educate a brain rewiring on the human race.... we are merely cyclist.

Maybe... the risk involved in cycling is too great for a husband and father like yourself. For sure... old women should NOT be hassled by scary men in parking lots. You should be ashamed. But don't feel bad. We've all done the same or worse. We are ALL... only human.

From time-to-time.... I also get the bejeebers scared out of me when cycling. I expect to! There are risks and dangers in cycling. In my experience cycling is a blood sport. I have been injured in the past and I feel confident I will be injured cycling in the future (God willing).

It reminds me I am alive... and life is precious.
There are ways to make yourself more obvious in the situation as described. Keep pedalling at a higher cadence (lower gear if necessary) rather than coasting, the latter gives the impression that the bike is standing still. Move out from the kerb/gutter so that you become part of the traffic flow that the driver is watching for. Wear bright clothing (fluoro yellow, green, pink, orange). Have a bright white flashing light on the front handlebars which to me is more effective in daylight than at night-time when it annoys the hell out of me as a driver (and doesn't make the bike any more conspicuous).

Add to that being on the brake levers and ready to clip out/pull out of straps/put foot down on ground, and watching what is happening all the time. Fixing a driver's gaze isn't a guarantee that the driver has seen you. Watch for movement of the vehicle's front wheel, lift in front suspension as the brakes are let off, and and a change in engine noise.
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Old 08-16-14, 05:33 PM   #7
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This article might help the understanding.
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Old 08-16-14, 05:57 PM   #8
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Have a bright white flashing light on the front handlebars which to me is more effective in daylight than at night-time when it annoys the hell out of me as a driver (and doesn't make the bike any more conspicuous).
How can it annoy the hell out of you and not be conspicuous ?
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Old 08-16-14, 06:09 PM   #9
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How can it annoy the hell out of you and not be conspicuous ?
Fixed white lights on bikes are as effective as flashing ones at night. The flashing ones at night do not add to that conspicuity, and cause drivers to follow them unnecessarily.

I often wonder if bicycle riders bother to drive and see what I mean. The beams of some lights are uncontrolled or tilted so far up that they are worse than vehicles with theirs on high beam.

The issue is that they take driver's attention away from the job of watching what's ahead of them and around them because they are following the flashing white light, or are simply blinded by the them.

I also wonder how riders are able to see properly when their headlight is flashing in the dark. Seems a rather odd way to me for a bike to be ridden.
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Old 08-16-14, 06:11 PM   #10
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And here I thought I did the right thing by being courteous and addressing the issue at hand.
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Old 08-16-14, 06:15 PM   #11
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And here I thought I did the right thing by being courteous and addressing the issue at hand.
Did you not get a clue from how threatening you appeared by the fact the woman wound down her window by 1/2". Still, you got your jollies when she apologised. Maybe the use of the pejorative term, "cager" also gives a clue as to your attitude to the people you have to interact on the road with.
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Old 08-16-14, 06:31 PM   #12
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Did you not get a clue from how threatening you appeared by the fact the woman wound down her window by 1/2". Still, you got your jollies when she apologised. Maybe the use of the pejorative term, "cager" also gives a clue as to your attitude to the people you have to interact on the road with.
Really? I pedaled away with a feeling of encouragement. I felt like I had a positive interaction with a motorist that had never before thought of a cyclist. I let her know that we were on the road, and she reacted positively.
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Old 08-16-14, 06:37 PM   #13
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Good one.

Now if they weren't 60 year old ladies that could've gone completely differently though.
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Old 08-16-14, 06:44 PM   #14
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And here I thought I did the right thing by being courteous and addressing the issue at hand.
Hey... I know I've yelled a couple times. I think most of us give into our fight or flight response on occasion. And that IS what it is. It is not anger... it isn't a temper issue. It is fear.... fight or flight.... plain and simple. The "issue at hand" was your fear.... NOT someone elses behavior. You didn't deal with anything relevant to the event.

It's really much like those nightmares that haunt small children. Once you realize that it's just the emotional response to the fear.... it loses it's power over you. Take a deep breath and exhale the fear away.

Rowan gave some great advice on how you can increase your safety through best practices (see post #6 ). Now just add to those.... keep a cool head.

Last edited by Dave Cutter; 08-16-14 at 06:49 PM.
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Old 08-16-14, 06:44 PM   #15
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Really? I pedaled away with a feeling of encouragement. I felt like I had a positive interaction with a motorist that had never before thought of a cyclist. I let her know that we were on the road, and she reacted positively.
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Old 08-16-14, 07:10 PM   #16
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Sorry.

The mass of askey made me stop.
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Old 08-16-14, 08:07 PM   #17
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And here I thought I did the right thing by being courteous and addressing the issue at hand.
I think you did. That you were able to crank it down from life and death situation to polite was a considerable feat. The times I've talked with motorists about their driving skills have all been a waste of breath.
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Old 08-17-14, 01:04 PM   #18
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I think you did fine. As much as people act like they want to kill us, most of them don't really. Even if they would never admit it.
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Old 08-17-14, 02:39 PM   #19
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You could have done worse, but this is the type of militant cyclist behavior that most of us are trying to distance ourselves from, and the reason for our mistreatment in a lot of cases. Educate, don't berate.
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You made a complete fool of yourself! She was correct... sort of. She saw you.... looked through you... her brain made no memory of you. Her behavior was completely normal.
This was education, not beratement. When police start locking people up and taking licenses over stuff like this, people will begin to "see" cyclists. But I'm not holding my breath for that. So this is the best we can do -- let people know what the consequences of their actions might have been and hope they are conscientious enough that the message sinks in.

Maybe next time, this driver "sees" a cyclist and doesn't pull out... either because they don't want another verbal dress-down in a parking lot, or because they really took it to heart.

If nothing was said, why would we expect their behavior to change?
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Old 08-17-14, 04:26 PM   #20
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This was education, not beratement. When police start locking people up and taking licenses over stuff like this, people will begin to "see" cyclists. But I'm not holding my breath for that. So this is the best we can do -- let people know what the consequences of their actions might have been and hope they are conscientious enough that the message sinks in.

Maybe next time, this driver "sees" a cyclist and doesn't pull out... either because they don't want another verbal dress-down in a parking lot, or because they really took it to heart.

If nothing was said, why would we expect their behavior to change?
Maybe it wasn't berating, but it was just unnecessarily abrasive IMO. The initial line of "Did you set out to kill someone today?" set the tone. The only way you can expect someone to listen to you is in a friendly manner. Anything else and emotion takes over. They might remember OP's speech, but when they think of it, it'll probably just tarnish their view of other cyclists, making them even less likely to change their ways. Sure, if someone cuts me off and then gives me the finger, I'm going to give them a piece of my mind, but this was an elderly woman driving cautiously, maybe overly so, but she still didn't deserve to be intimidated by OP, intentional or not.

The roads are NOT going to be accommodating bicyclists, practice defensive riding, follow the rules of the road, and like the old saying goes, if you can't say something nice, keep it to yourself. If someone is being a complete asshat, call the cops. Sure most PD's might not care a lot about bikers, but they're not going to ignore a reckless driver.

The trick I use for keeping cool on the road is imagining the person I'm about to give the finger to, or what have you, is my mom, grandma, grandpa, etc, or at least someone's mom or grandma. Defuses me pretty much every time.

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Old 08-17-14, 04:55 PM   #21
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.....When police start locking people up and taking licenses over stuff like this, people will begin to "see" cyclists.
So you think the police have the power to somehow rewire peoples brains?!?! My Dad was a cop... he wasn't aware he had that power. Actually even doctors can't change the way human brains are hardwired.

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..... But I'm not holding my breath for that. So this is the best we can do -- let people know what the consequences of their actions might have been and hope they are conscientious enough that the message sinks in.
So.... since the cops aren't behaving like you think cops should.... you now think YOU have the power to behave cop-like huh? I don't think so.

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..... If nothing was said, why would we expect their behavior to change?
And there is the rub! Nothing will change... because nothing CAN change. It is STILL exactly like I posted in post #4 : "I know some people think if they scream, wave their arms about, menace, threaten. or educate drivers (like somehow God gave us the authority to do that) then peoples brain will work as WE desire them to. It is NOT going to happen. Human brains were not designed to work well with fast moving cars and nearly silent and barely noticeable bicycles. We can't force or educate a brain rewiring on the human race.... we are merely cyclist."

If your fear levels are too great to control and/or otherwise just enjoy bicycling.... it may be time to find a safer sport/activity/transport.


Last edited by Dave Cutter; 08-21-14 at 07:35 AM.
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Old 08-19-14, 04:10 AM   #22
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i see someone berating others, but it ain't the op.
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Old 08-19-14, 09:50 AM   #23
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A similar thing happened to me a few years ago.

A woman in a large SUV passed me, then cut in front of me to turn right. I had to nearly lock up the brakes in order to keep from slamming into the side of her as she passed in front of me. It pissed me off, so I followed her to the next light, a short block away, where she was stopped for the red light. I asked her why she cut me off and almost killed me, since she obviously knew I was there as she had gone around me instead of running me down. She was speechless. She mumbled an apology, and I suggested she be more careful in the future. Then the light turned green, and we went our separate ways.
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Old 08-19-14, 10:07 AM   #24
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I have sometimes had an epiphany and realized that a certain pattern of behavior did not line up with my self-image nor with how I explicitly wanted to comport myself. Usually there's an abrupt change, and at least more mindfulness when the situation arises. If OP provoked something like that in the dangerous driver, he should be applauded for it even if he began abrasively.
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Old 08-19-14, 10:08 AM   #25
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I understand your anger - you were entitled to it but...

I doubt the woman intentionally tried to harm you... she as just clueless and speaking as a woman in her 60's, well, forgetful and distracted.

Best way to handle would be to speak with her but just say, politely,"... just wanted you to know that you almost hit me. Please be more watchful and careful on the road"... it's still a scolding but not hurtful. Now the woman likely will have a hate of ALL cyclists, fearing what will happen in another confrontation.

We forget that many people never think about cycling or if they do, they think it means meandering slowly on a bike path. We cyclist need to ride informed and watchful suspecting that no driver sees us...

Anyway glad you weren't hurt...
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