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Old 10-20-10, 09:49 PM   #1
Dean7
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Am I a total jerk or what?

I recently had a run-in with a car where I may have gone a bit over the top (my wife's only comment was "embarrassing", but I'm not sure how to take that). I told my friends about it but wanted the opinion of the fine people on BF. Here's my story:

This morning I was cruising in to work and was on a road with no bike lane (but it's a pretty wide road since there's room for parked cars but not a lot of people actually park there). Since I can keep up with traffic on that road I was riding in traffic about 10 feet behind the car in front of me (passing some slower bikers who got over to the right on the wide section over I5). Suddenly, to my dismay, I heard a loud honking noise followed by the sound of an engine purposefully revving up and I noticed a gentleman pulling up next to me in a red Camry. There was no room for him between me and the car in front of me but he decided that it would be a good idea to just go for it and run me off the road (the road that I obviously didn’t belong on anyway due to the fact that I'm a biker... you know the type!).

I’m not prone to violence so I decided the best solution was to talk it out with him. I started pedaling with all my strength, passed him (as well as the cars in front of him) on the right and blasted up to the stop sign where I jumped off my bike and waited for him. I ran over to his window where I urged him to get out of his car and chat with me for a bit so I could let him know that I was actually legally in the right (lest he try to run over any other cyclists who happen to be riding in a lane of traffic where there is no bike lane due to his lack of knowledge on traffic laws). It MIGHT have sounded more like I wanted him to come out and have a manly confrontation with me but I assure you it was only due to the fact that I was panting for breath due to cycling.

My plea for a polite conversation resulted in him and his wife locking their doors and sinking down in to their seats while pretending that I didn’t exist. So, I decided to resort to screaming “don’t you ever honk at me again you (expletive removed)!”. Since I am privy to the fact that Camry’s are built to Toyota’s highest standards I knew that I would have to scream as loud as I could to penetrate the sound-proof barrier of the cabin. Even then I wasn’t sure if they could hear me (after all: they could have the radio on!) so I made some wild hand gestures to get my point across as well.

The group of bikers that I had previously passed managed to catch up to me at this point so I said “ummm… sorry about that!”, hopped on my bike and made a hasty getaway. It wasn’t one of the least awkward moments of my life.

So, I have to ask: am I the biggest jerk ever? I feel slightly bad now because I'm worried that I reinforced his hatred of bikers. But, I also feel like there's a SLIGHT possibility that he'll think twice before messing with a biker again (which is a good thing in my book).

Thoughts?
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Old 10-20-10, 09:56 PM   #2
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Sounds to me like you've already come to grips with the road rage that you exhibited.
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Old 10-20-10, 10:00 PM   #3
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Sounds to me like you've already come to grips with the road rage that you exhibited.
True. I guess the fact that I'm a jerk after this is a foregone conclusion. But, I guess I'm interested to see if I seem like I'm justified or if I'm just hurting the biking community by being a jerk.
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Old 10-20-10, 10:19 PM   #4
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If you are not impeding the flow of traffic meaning you are riding within the speed of cars, you can legally ride in the middle of the road and he was a dick for doing what he did. Get an Air Zounds to penetrate their indifference and get your point across.
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Old 10-20-10, 10:21 PM   #5
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Understandable in my opinion. And +1 to Dean7's comment as well. Also few of us know how we will react until were are put in that position. Its good if we can learn from our past encounters, it seems as if you have.
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Old 10-20-10, 10:24 PM   #6
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Yes the Airzound is amazing, it surprises all who hear it emanating from an otherwise quite bicycle.
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Old 10-20-10, 10:30 PM   #7
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If you are not impeding the flow of traffic meaning you are riding within the speed of cars, you can legally ride in the middle of the road and he was a dick for doing what he did. Get an Air Zounds to penetrate their indifference and get your point across.
Yeah... I know he was in the wrong but I'm interested to know: do you think it's better for OTHER bikers for me to go berzerk on these people or is it better for other bikers if I keep my cool and just keep riding?

I'm worried about the mother riding her kid to school on the same road that I recently rode on, etc.
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Old 10-20-10, 10:35 PM   #8
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True. I guess the fact that I'm a jerk after this is a foregone conclusion. But, I guess I'm interested to see if I seem like I'm justified or if I'm just hurting the biking community by being a jerk.
From personal experience, yelling and screaming profanity does little to resolve issues like these. As time goes on, I stress less, and act more by being calm as possible, and in getting the necessary information to log the offending motorist as an aggressive driver in the local PD's data base. With luck the PD will send a warning letter to the motorist.
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Old 10-20-10, 10:46 PM   #9
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From personal experience, yelling and screaming profanity does little to resolve issues like these. As time goes on, I stress less, and act more by being calm as possible, and in getting the necessary information to log the offending motorist as an aggressive driver in the local PD's data base. With luck the PD will send a warning letter to the motorist.
Thank you for your reply. I'm trying to be less highstrung but man it's hard for me for some reason!
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Old 10-20-10, 10:53 PM   #10
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Anger management . . .
Next time bang hard on driver's fender/door with fist as you get next to him and give a full 5-fingered wave!
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Old 10-20-10, 10:55 PM   #11
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Come on, how sorry are ya? Haha... just glad you didn't get hurt! Better self control next time, you won't last long at it if you keep having fits!
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Old 10-20-10, 11:06 PM   #12
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Anger management . . .
Next time bang hard on driver's fender/door with fist as you get next to him and give a full 5-fingered wave!
Hah. All I hear is: "break one of their windows or tail lights".

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Come on, how sorry are ya? Haha... just glad you didn't get hurt! Better self control next time, you won't last long at it if you keep having fits!
You know, I'm not sorry at all for what I did. I feel regret but regret and sorrow are two different things. This guy was a total jerk and I felt like (at the time) it was a disservice to let him get away with being rude to cyclists.
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Old 10-20-10, 11:35 PM   #13
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Of course remaining calm will always put you out front, and the best approach, however few are able to respond in such a way. Remembering your regret at screaming may help avoid it in the future, good luck.
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Old 10-20-10, 11:58 PM   #14
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what good did any of it do? I've been riding as an adult for more than 40 years, and no confrontation, "discussion" or explanation I've ever been in has changed one thing about my attitude or anybody else's.
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Old 10-21-10, 12:11 AM   #15
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Of course remaining calm will always put you out front, and the best approach, however few are able to respond in such a way. Remembering your regret at screaming may help avoid it in the future, good luck.
Well, I'm really prone to this sort of thing for some reason. Not sure why. Possibly thinking to myself "what good did the last time do?" will help but to be honest it's like I'm not myself in the actual moment!

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what good did any of it do? I've been riding as an adult for more than 40 years, and no confrontation, "discussion" or explanation I've ever been in has changed one thing about my attitude or anybody else's.
I guess none of it does any good. But, by the same logic you could say that nothing does any good and I feel like that's flawed. My grandma (for example) has influenced a ton of people by being amazing so I know it can be done.
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Old 10-21-10, 02:41 AM   #16
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First, it is at least nice to hear you didn't get damaged. Whatever justice is, more damage is on BIKERS when car and bike collide. Well, legal rules (laws) are usually disregarded. Follow "traffic culture" of your area, for your safety. From my experience, you better NOT expect nice attitude from car drivers. Most of them think bicycle as obstacle and think they have priority all the time, anywhere. Some even try to make us fall by not hitting, but threatening.

Always stay safe. Predict and be ready for possible danger.
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Old 10-21-10, 03:27 AM   #17
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I try to be a quiet chap by nature and it is true to say that:- "if you don't lose your cool from time-to-time, no one will ever take you seriously".

You didn't have road rage. You were just protecting yourself after you life was threatened. It was the clown in the car that had road rage. I think you behaved rather well.
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Old 10-21-10, 04:45 AM   #18
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I understand and have reacted in a similar fashion to being bullied. As I am as politically correct as an oil spill at a seal clubbing so not sure how you wanna take that. I don't take being bullied well. Current social mores require whimpering in the corner and avoiding eye contact when confronted by a bully which doesn't sit well with me so I am a caveman. So be it. Just don't attempt to push me around and all will be fine. But push me and find out what you asked for is definitely not what you bargained for.
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Old 10-21-10, 06:58 AM   #19
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The driver was a jerk. Given the circumstances I probably would have just ceded a car-length and let him by and then gone about my business.
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Old 10-21-10, 08:23 AM   #20
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I'm trying to be less highstrung but man it's hard for me for some reason!
The calming effect doesn't happen overnight, it starts happening when you get to the point of being almost able to determine what the motorist's next move is going to be, plus when you happen to reach a certain level of skin thickness.
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Old 10-21-10, 08:33 AM   #21
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You're much better off remaining calm. Your reaction is bad for cyclists, bad for you, and bad for that driver. Road rage is never justified, no matter what you seem to think at the time.

You very much overreacted.
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Old 10-21-10, 08:38 AM   #22
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The calming effect doesn't happen overnight, it starts happening when you get to the point of being almost able to determine what the motorist's next move is going to be, plus when you happen to reach a certain level of skin thickness.
I find that extreme violence has an even greater calming effect.
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Old 10-21-10, 08:51 AM   #23
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A Camry revving sounds funny to me. I understand your frustration and would have rolled up the car too. But to jump off your bike to confront the driver makes you seem like, not a jerk but a thug with no sense. I have done the same and received the same reaction but I am sure that the next time the driver decides to do that to another cyclist he/she will think twice. Next time tell the person that your race to red light cost you nothing but theirs cost a half gallon.
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Old 10-21-10, 09:00 AM   #24
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I think you were at a total disadvantage. Your actions could have gotten you seriously injured or killed.
Just imagine that this person was a crappy driver without any common sense and thought he could pass or had the right of way and ran you over. Or, your premeditated aggression at the stoplight scared this guy and he shot you.
I don't care how tough you may think you are, but injured is injured and dead is dead!
Next time, let the A H go by and enjoy the rest of your life. There are just to many crazy people out there to take chances.
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Old 10-21-10, 09:15 AM   #25
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I didn't know they made Camry's in red. I thought they were all beige.
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