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View Poll Results: what's the appropriate response?
try to follow up with the cops 3 8.33%
call your local district attorney's office 2 5.56%
hire yourself a good lawyer 3 8.33%
I hear wonderful things about small claims court 1 2.78%
prank phone calls 0 0%
forget about it 25 69.44%
can't talk here ... 2 5.56%
Voters: 36. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-15-04, 08:32 AM   #51
Crunkologist
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The driver was an asshat. But putting your bike in front of an angry asshat's car after you yell and spit at him? Darwinism in action.
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Old 10-15-04, 09:02 AM   #52
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Car vs. bike. Car always wins. Should've turned around and ridden with equal vigor in the opposite direction.
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Old 10-15-04, 09:12 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by BenyBen
...you can't say that raming someone with your car is better!
Please reread my comments. I did not at all say that, but I certainly implied they exceeded the driver in the stupidity factor. And, given what is reported to have started it all, anger management does seem an appropriate consideration. Had it been in place initially, what would we have? One azzhole driver, two rightfully-peeved cyclists, and nothing more detrimental than that.

But because of the uncontrolled rage of the cyclists, look at what we have instead--as someone else correctly stated, a possible assault charge against the cyclist for spitting, and at least one broken wheel. And remaining only with what is reported, the driver could very likely say he ultimately felt the more physically threatened, and even hitting the cyclist was as accident given the cyclist placed himself in front of the vehicle.

Eye witnesses? Did they see everything, from the very beginning? If not, a good lawyer could make a good case against the cyclists. (Well, at least mine could.) I'll stand by my position. YMMV. Agreed?

P.S. -- I ride a bike. Similar has happened to me countless times over the past 25+ years. Once, I even had a gun pulled on me for nothing but being on the same road as the car. Believe me, I would love to be on the side of the cyclists.
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Old 10-15-04, 10:09 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by Maj.Taylor
Please reread my comments. I did not at all say that, but I certainly implied they exceeded the driver in the stupidity factor. And, given what is reported to have started it all, anger management does seem an appropriate consideration. Had it been in place initially, what would we have? One azzhole driver, two rightfully-peeved cyclists, and nothing more detrimental than that.

But because of the uncontrolled rage of the cyclists, look at what we have instead--as someone else correctly stated, a possible assault charge against the cyclist for spitting, and at least one broken wheel. And remaining only with what is reported, the driver could very likely say he ultimately felt the more physically threatened, and even hitting the cyclist was as accident given the cyclist placed himself in front of the vehicle.

Eye witnesses? Did they see everything, from the very beginning? If not, a good lawyer could make a good case against the cyclists. (Well, at least mine could.) I'll stand by my position. YMMV. Agreed?
Everyone here harping on this idea that I could've been charged with assault for the spitting on the windshield is a mor(-- oh, wait -- anger management -- catching breath --) is wrong.*

The question I posed here was whether there was anything I could/should do yada yada -- apparently the overwhelming response here is 'no'. I'll take that under advisement, oh you sage internet message board participants.

But even playing this out through its hypothetical "logical" end, if I were to pursue my "case" whole-hog, and drag this guy into court, and he had O.J.'s dream team, and I had to represent myself (because I cannot afford to hire a lawyer because I lost my job because I spent too much time arguing on a stupid internet bicycle forum), there is something in this country called "contributory" liability or "comparative" fault.

The jury would weigh the degree to which I was at fault (continuing on our originally intended path despite our awareness of a belligerent driver using the same roadway, not intervening/stopping my cursing girlfriend, spitting, riding in front of an angry driver's car, braking, not using the bike lane, no helmet, etc.), versus how much he was at fault (intentionally driving his car into my rear wheel). So, if the damage in question is a taco'd rear wheel, which of the two parties was the proximate cause of that damage? Is it the fellow who spat, or the fellow who drove his car into the wheel? Hmmm.

I know you folks are really hung up on how what I did fails to resemble what you would have done, but that really wouldn't be the applicable legal standard.

* I didn't want to get into it, but whatever law someone purported to cite above with regard to spitting and HIV/AIDS and assault, I feel confident saying that such a blatantly homophobic and scientifically baseless "law" would not have been passed in New York city or state. In a strictly formal sense, spitting on anyone can always be classified a "battery," and threatening and/or attempting to spit on someone could also be classified an "assault," if it were to put the victim in fear of the "unwanted touching" (technical def'n of "battery"), but just because you can sue someone for an unwanted touching doesn't mean your case won't be thrown out for wasting the court's time, and, even in the event you won, how much would you expect a jury to award you for the pain & suffering of having been spat upon? Also, I did my research when I wrote the original post, and I told you people: the New York State Penal law requires, in any prosecution for any assault-like charge, that the victim suffered "significant injury" (or some substantially equivalent language). That element of the crime was not satisfied in my case (i.e., where only my rear wheel, and not my body, was damaged), and it would not be satisfied in the driver's case (i.e., where only the honor of precious car's shiny windshield was besmirched by my errant spittle). The only possible scenario I can imagine is where the spit hits his windshield, he flies into a blind rage and then plows into a highway barrier, impaling himself on his stick shift (oh yeah and then my AIDS-laced saliva slips through the cracks of his windshield and into his open wounds, infecting him -- and he doesn't discover it until he has passed it on to his wife and their newborn baby girl). Only then could you call my spit the proximate cause of his injuries.
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Old 10-15-04, 10:31 AM   #55
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I thought the guy that was saying you had anger issues was exaggerating. But now I think you have anger issues.
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Old 10-15-04, 10:32 AM   #56
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For what it's worth, Jev - I'm with you. Did you exercise the best judgement when you spat on the "driver's" windshield after an altercation? Of course not. However, spit on a windshield rarely kills anyone. Running into a man on a bicycle hard enough to taco a rim could have certainly killed, or badly injured the cyclist.

You both made poor judgement calls, the difference is that his bad choice could have killed you. To me, that's a HUGE difference.
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Old 10-15-04, 10:54 AM   #57
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You both made poor judgement calls, the difference is that his bad choice could have killed you. To me, that's a HUGE difference.
You nailed it!
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Old 10-15-04, 02:00 PM   #58
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hey jeez finally some solidarity. Thanks a ton, bac.

For all you holier-than-thou lecture-givers, this is all I was looking for. Provides a good summary of what I should do if involved in an accident, what my rights are, etc.

Thanks to most of those who participated in this thread, at least now I know specifically where not to go for some practical biking-related advice.

For anybody else interested in knowing how to spit on cars and get paid for it (joke), in NYC at least, check out: http://www.nybma.com/rights.html.
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Old 10-15-04, 02:27 PM   #59
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Just wondering...what is your girlfriend's position on all of this? But more importantly, please do tell us what she thinks she heard and what dangerous behavior the driver demonstrated. Quite frankly, I have a very difficult time with any words spoken to her precipitating and justifying her actions. If I let words have that effect on me...well, look to the left of your screen. See the black guy? No, it's not me, but I am black. So now...

...do you think growing up in the South, living in this country, riding a bike on its country roads from coast-to-coast, and being in all-white school and work environments since the sixth grade, that I haven't heard and been called some pretty despicable things? I have lost count of the number of times I've been called a niqqer (hey, the computer won't let me use the real term) while riding. Is there anything the driver could have said to your girlfriend that is more laden with hate (or fear) than that? Maybe, but I don't think so. Slvt? Cvnt? But for the sake of argument, let's consider the last term an equivalent. My point is that in not one single case have I taken someone uttering mere words as reason to go charging after them, or even acknowledging their ignorance. (You can also throw in brushing me with their car such that I had to ride into a ditch, pulling a gun on me, or throwing a full beer bottle at me. All have happened.) And if I did give into emotion and irrationality, chased and caught up with them, do you think they'd suddenly see the light and become an abolitionist? Definitive answer: No.

If you knew me, you would find someone far from passive and accepting. (Even now, I'm not giving up, eh?) Anyone who knows me would tell you I'm not a "gentle" person. The two words most often used to describe me are: (1) intense, and (2) intimidating. However, you'd still not find someone who responded as did your girlfriend. So again, just amuse us and convey what it was your girlfriend thought she heard, or if something worse than being brushed by the vehicle and having to dive for a ditch, the driver pulling a gun, or throwing a bottle at her occurred.

Maybe you are right, and I truly need to get a better grip on when I should simply ignore an idiot, shake my head, continue my ride, let my wheels roll pleasantly down the road, and enjoy a day unmarred by hatred that does not leave me with a car charging towards me and a bent wheel vs. engaging in angry pursuit with my 20 lb bike after a 2000 lb car to do battle with a 200-year throwback. Yes, please do have your girlfriend help you clue me in. I've obviously been handling vile racism the wrong way.
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Old 10-15-04, 02:32 PM   #60
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hey jeez finally some solidarity.
Sorry, but I just have to at that line.
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Old 10-15-04, 04:20 PM   #61
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The question I posed here was whether there was anything I could/should do yada yada -- apparently the overwhelming response here is 'no'. I'll take that under advisement, oh you sage internet message board participants.
Nice sarcasm ya got going there. I have just one question for you. If only one sort of answer was going to be acceptable to you, why did you ask the question?

The problem I have is that I have to deal with drivers that other cyclists have pissed off. Drivers are going to be ignorant sometimes. Being one myself, I see it often, but since I'm usually in a car when I see it, I get the friendly wave or shrug of the shoulders that seems to indicate "I was stupid as hell, and I realize it, but thanks for not running into me". I've learned that chasing them down or screaming at them or flipping them the bird does nothing to advance the cause of cyclists. Since they see hundreds of other cars day after day, that doesn't stick out in their minds. Cyclists do, so whatever a cyclists does in reaction to an ignorant move by a driver will be remebered the next time they see a cyclist.
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Old 10-15-04, 07:30 PM   #62
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Jev, what I find missing in the story would be why did the driver yell at you / your girlfriend in the first place what was the reason?
Unless he had an obvious tick where he yells uncontrolably, I ask the question, was he provoked?

And your comments about us being sheep is offensive, and shows you arent looking at the big picture, share the road works both ways.

Your comment scarcastically that car wins bike looses is correct, you proved it. In a similar way the Car looses to a semi.
Now cant we all just get along....?
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Old 10-15-04, 11:04 PM   #63
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well heres another point when you say you rode upnext to him he was yelling on his cellphone, wonder if thats what she might have heard to begin with and mistook it for being at her

also, sorry I was always taught that 2 wrongs dont make a right
and you have to be right to win in court (usally)

and good thing I wont be your judge or all 3 of ya would be taking Road Rage Classes
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Old 10-16-04, 04:33 AM   #64
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Two people approach my car from behind, at either side.

Both start screaming.

The more threatening (male) of the two spits on my car.

He then proceeds to get in front of my car, blocking my escape.

What would you do?
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Old 10-16-04, 03:26 PM   #65
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What would you do?
I would definitely run the guy over. Who's with me?
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Old 10-18-04, 01:15 PM   #66
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There are three rules for dealing with conflicts between a person in a 6000 pound vehicle and a person riding a thirty pound vehicle:

1. The guy with the thirty pound vehicle needs to be friendly, polite, humble,and patient.

2. The guy with the thirty pound vehicle needs to be friendly, polite, humble, and patient.

3. The guy with the thirty pound vehicle needs to be friendly, polite, humble, and patient.


Although pretending to be a nice person is a struggle for me, I have learned the hard way that in a conflict between a thirty pound bike and a 6,000 pound truck, you need to convey a message that says that "I am so sorry that I, a lowly bike rider, have somehow irritated you...I am truly and humbly regret my very existence". Upon seeing you grovel, the guy in the truck will refrain from doing what he is tempted to do, which is to use his truck to crush you like an insect.

My "pretended" friendliness has paid off in drivers actually slowing down a bit, or even, once in a while, remembering to let me cross an intersection before making a turn across my path.

However, in Texas, there is sometimes a second kind of situation. That is the angry thirty year-old guy in a Suburban with the KKK flag sticker and Bush sticker on his bumper. He is angry that any bike is on HIS road. So, as he is passing the bike, he swerves enough to brush you with a fender, or whack you with a mirror. This kind of guy will sometimes go around the block and make a second pass.

Courtesy does not work with these guys. If he goes around the block for a second attempt to run me over, I will a lock in my hand, a pump in my hand, a rock...what ever comes to hand. A bully only respects force. If you are attacked, stop smiling, and make clear that if Mr. Big Truck is willing to get out of his truck, nothing can not save him from eating your lock.

Hopefully, thugs in trucks are mostly a Texas problem, and are not something that bike riders in more civilized areas must deal with.

Last edited by alanbikehouston; 10-18-04 at 01:26 PM.
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