How many of you commuters, or anybody, really, live in what you consider to be a bad/dangerous neighborhood? How do you protect yourself, or what do you do about it? I'm a female in her early 20's(who likes to think she's a bad-ass...but even so), and I've never been able to go out on my bike without something happening. I'm really living in the ghetto here. So, I stopped going out as much, rode only when someone else could go with me, etc. That got pretty inconvenient, though. Good news though, is that I'm moving here in a few weeks, to a more safe area.
About a month ago, on one of roads I take very frequently by bike (about three blocks from my house), I was riding with someone, single file, me following, at night. Both of us have reflectors/reflective straps, lights, etc. Someone floored it reverse out of their "driveway", as we were passing by. My partner slammed on his brakes to avoid getting hit, and vocally warned me, but I couldn't stop in time on my fixed gear. Well, I could've, but my brain didn't work fast enough to process everything. So, I slammed into him (my riding partner) around 12 mph. I got up and immediately kicked in the side of the minivan, cussing. I know this definitely wasn't smart, but he must've thought the thump from that was him hitting me. My bike was laying in the road, I'm yelling, he's yelling back, saying we should've been on the sidewalk. This is the ghetto. Then, he starts coming around, apologizing, when the passenger gets out, "Midnight", we find out. He's making threats, this is in front of either his house, or someone they know, again, not smart of me. "How the F-word are we supposed to see you, I'm gonna kick your butt (well, you know) man." Get the f-word out of the road". It's under the street light, I must've off the top of my pissed-off cussing head given him about 15 reasons all right in a row why I was right, he was wrong. So was my riding partner. He was approaching closer from the other side of the road, when the driver reversed it between us and him and yelled "Get the F-word in the van, Midnight." Anyone could've come out of that house, or any for that matter, and probably wouldn't have taken my side, for sure.
What would be the best thing for me to do as self protection? I mean, physically, "weapon" wise, etc. I'm in pretty good shape, pretty strong, and am excellent and the verbal/middle finger part... he he he, I'm going to let someone know when they're wrong.
These pictures are within one or two block radius of my house.