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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 01-19-06, 10:30 PM   #1
thebankman
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Driving is too scary, gotta give it up

The other day I picked up my car from an auto body shop and rode my bike there to pick it up. After taking the bike apart and throwing it in the back, I'm back on the road heading home. On a thoroughfare, a crazy looking little guy drives up really fast behind me and starts tailgating, swinging from one lane to the other. The guy is frickin nuts, that's obvious after about, oh three seconds. Finally I get a chance to move to another lane and get away from this nut, I just got my car back from the shop and don't need more damage done from another stupid driver. So in classic nutjob fashion, he pulls in front of me and intentionally slams on his brakes, coming to a complete stop in the middle of a three lane, fast-moving road. Thank goodness for modern four wheel ABS disc brakes! When he finally decided to continue on his merry way, he moved to the other lane and rolled down his window. Thank goodness for modern turbocharged engines, I slowly cruised past him waiting for him to slam his car into mine like the road warrior, then when he started screaming at me I hit the gas and past him. My turn came up in a block and he thankfully kept going straight and on his nutty way.

This kind of thing happens every day to me or one of my friends. I didn't have any problems while on the bicycle, but as soon as you're in a car, there are a whole slew of problems and whacky dangerous people. Makes me think, what would happen if that guy had gotten pissed off with me or another biker that got "in his way" ?? And what would happen if there was a biker on the street where this jerk was playing Mad Max with his vehicle? I dread the thought of someone getting hurt or killed because this piece of trash smoked too much crack that morning.

When the lease on my car expires, there is even more of an incentive to give up cars for good. Or keep a truck for utility purposes. Anything beats close calls like this one.
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Old 01-20-06, 08:01 AM   #2
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Hey, I feel the same way. I ride my bike to work all week, run errands on the weekend by bike, no problems. Walking, taking the subway, it's all pretty uneventful.

Then I'll get in my car (ironically, like you, it's usually to get it serviced) and suddenly the dark side of humanity appears all around. People tailgate, pass on the right, scream insults at each other, block and cut each other off, and risk their lives for a few seconds of drive time.

They do things they would never do face-to-face in a crowd - can you imagine going to the bank or post office and cutting everyone in line, and when people complained you turn around and swear at them, and threaten to hit them? For some reason, it's okay to do that in a car.

When I get out of my car, I'm usually depressed. It's all just so sad.
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Old 01-20-06, 08:37 AM   #3
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I've never had a crazy do pull something like what the OP went through but driving on fast six lane highways during rush hour is maddening. In fact, when traffic starts pick up speed is when the fun really starts as motorist expect you to go fast.
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Old 01-20-06, 08:44 AM   #4
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So in classic nutjob fashion, he pulls in front of me and intentionally slams on his brakes, coming to a complete stop in the middle of a three lane, fast-moving road.
Sounds like either he was really mad at you for, in his mind, holding up traffic (were you going the speed limit in the left lane? around here the left lane is used by people who go at least 10mph over the speed limit) or he was hoping to be rear-ended so he could sue you, claiming whiplash injuries.
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Old 01-20-06, 09:42 AM   #5
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I've had a few incidents driving on the freeways and roads here in Colorado. Coloradians are very friendly folks until you get them behind the wheel of a car.
I've even had a car follow me for several miles and pull up next to my car with the driver threatening to kick my a$$. No one will intimidate me off of the roads. Regardless of whether I am in a car, truck, motorcycle, or bicycle. End of story.
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Old 01-20-06, 12:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by cerewa
Sounds like either he was really mad at you for, in his mind, holding up traffic (were you going the speed limit in the left lane? around here the left lane is used by people who go at least 10mph over the speed limit) or he was hoping to be rear-ended so he could sue you, claiming whiplash injuries.
weirdly, people just drive like that in the Bay area. When I lived there I became accustomed to looking out for these types of drivers, and when I saw one coming, I would just pull to the curb on my bike, get up on the sidewalk, and wait for them to pass. It's crazy, and the cops say "They're just having fun/being kids...we've got too much else to look after."
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Old 01-20-06, 11:53 PM   #7
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Weed eater has it right, Bay Area drivers are friggin INSANE! I'm not sure if they feel like they are priviledged and blessed by a holy power to do whatever they like (usually driving way over the speed limit in urban areas or general dangerous nonsense) but they will do whatever they want. You have to expect the unexpected. Last year I was seriously injured by a vehicle turning right from a left lane and breaking me up pretty bad off a motorcycle.

If you ask me, it's like a third-world country on the streets here. Go to a nice neighborhood and people act friendly in foot. But get behind the wheel of a car and they're trying to get you to hit their car, or trying to hit your car, perhaps trying to get money out of you. It makes no sense to me.

On a happier note I got a new bike today and rode for over two hours without one honk, curse, or close calls from motor vehicle drivers. Big thumbs up to that!!
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Old 01-21-06, 03:38 AM   #8
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Cars give feeling of power, and power corrupts the human mind! IMHO.
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Old 01-21-06, 09:04 PM   #9
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This what's happening folks. I was given a ride to my nephew's graduation during the day and we were traveling about 15 mph on average for 30 miles. It surprised me how slow traffic has gotten since I stopped being a motorist five years ago. I can see how going through this every day can change a person attitude on driving completely. I expect this type of behavior to get worse in the future as more motorist pile into the same roads that a gridlocked today.
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Old 01-21-06, 09:20 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
This what's happening folks. I was given a ride to my nephew's graduation during the day and we were traveling about 15 mph on average for 30 miles. It surprised me how slow traffic has gotten since I stopped being a motorist five years ago. I can see how going through this every day can change a person attitude on driving completely. I expect this type of behavior to get worse in the future as more motorist pile into the same roads that a gridlocked today.
You probably would have gotten there faster on your bike! Seriously.

I guess there are twice as many cars on the road now as there were 1n 1970. And not very many more miles of roadway compared to 36 years ago. I bust out laughing when somebody says that bikes hold up traffic. First, I say, bikes ARE traffic. And it's the cars that are congesting the roads and holding ME up.
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Old 01-22-06, 11:33 AM   #11
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Definitely, it's the cars that hold me up at traffic stops. It's all I can do to find a path through the vehicles, they can never all line up like ducks in a row.
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Old 02-01-06, 11:35 AM   #12
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That's interesting -- I get much more harassment on the bike than in the car.
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Old 02-08-06, 01:44 PM   #13
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I think it is the worst of all worlds here in the Southern California basin. Anybody on the roads (be it truck, bus, car, motorcycle, motor scooter, bicycle, skateboard, skates, or even just a pedestrian). is in danger of being moweed dwn by these nutcases in their cars (including being shot) if you are seen as being in the way. It is the stress of high urban crowded roads and homes (if you have one) and letting it out in a private, protective area (your car's interior). The traffic is so bad here in the actual city of Los Angeles, people regulary drive the narrow side streets like a thoughfare of recent memory. What is a nondriver to do?
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Old 02-08-06, 08:13 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by DataJunkie
I've had a few incidents driving on the freeways and roads here in Colorado. Coloradians are very friendly folks until you get them behind the wheel of a car.
I've even had a car follow me for several miles and pull up next to my car with the driver threatening to kick my a$$. No one will intimidate me off of the roads. Regardless of whether I am in a car, truck, motorcycle, or bicycle. End of story.
I've had similar experiences in Colorado. Even my usually calm wife, turns into a madwoman behind the wheel. I'm not near as excitable after or during my bikerides.
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Old 02-08-06, 08:14 PM   #15
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I get so stressed from focusing when I drive that I just can't even keep myself from being in a panic most of the time when I do drive. I only do it in an emergency situation or when I absolutely have to go someplace with no train service.

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Old 02-09-06, 01:24 PM   #16
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I get so stressed from focusing when I drive that I just can't even keep myself from being in a panic most of the time when I do drive. I only do it in an emergency situation or when I absolutely have to go someplace with no train service.

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Old 02-09-06, 05:06 PM   #17
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Were you driving the speed limit in the right (as opposed to left) lane? If so, he should have no reason to get angry. I've never encountered anyone like that, and I almost always driving right at the speed limit and in the right lane.
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Old 02-09-06, 10:20 PM   #18
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My problem is that when I drive, I turn into that guy!
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Old 02-10-06, 02:02 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by thebankman
Weed eater has it right, Bay Area drivers are friggin INSANE! I'm not sure if they feel like they are priviledged and blessed by a holy power to do whatever they like (usually driving way over the speed limit in urban areas or general dangerous nonsense) but they will do whatever they want. You have to expect the unexpected. Last year I was seriously injured by a vehicle turning right from a left lane and breaking me up pretty bad off a motorcycle.

If you ask me, it's like a third-world country on the streets here. Go to a nice neighborhood and people act friendly in foot. But get behind the wheel of a car and they're trying to get you to hit their car, or trying to hit your car, perhaps trying to get money out of you. It makes no sense to me.

On a happier note I got a new bike today and rode for over two hours without one honk, curse, or close calls from motor vehicle drivers. Big thumbs up to that!!
100% agreed. Driving IS a scary experience in the Bay Area -- and in general. I can say that I feel uncomfortable in an automobile meanwhile. Changing lanes especially freaks me out. I am used to taking a good look behing me on a bike, because it's so easy, so whenever a driver in a car I'm in changes lanes (just using the mirrors or a quick shoulder look), I cringe.

I'm rambling, but yeah.. the Bay Area sucks in terms of driving. I hope you feel all right now, bankman.
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Old 02-10-06, 06:52 AM   #20
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There's a really good trick I use on tailgaters - and it seems to work every time...
When someone behind you is so close that you can't see their front numberplate, gently slow down WITHOUT applying the brakes. Drop a couple of gears with perfectly matched throttle - it takes practice, but it's worth it - so that the car doesn't give an almighty jerk. Sit like this for a couple of seconds, then absolutely floor it back up to the limit, or just slightly over, or under, depending on road conditions. Naturally the car behind will still be in too high a gear so have to frantically downchange to keep up the one-yard gap between your cars. After the third time they usually realise that they're too close and keep a respectable distance.
Another favourite of mine is when they come up far too close to you at the lights and you "accidentally" put it into reverse and drive back a couple of inches. Or stalling on purpose when the lights turn green then getting through on amber. I won't do it if there's a few cars behind me, but if it's a tailgater or some ignoramus in an SUV, hell yeah.
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Old 02-10-06, 10:02 AM   #21
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Another favourite of mine is when they come up far too close to you at the lights and you "accidentally" put it into reverse and drive back a couple of inches. Or stalling on purpose when the lights turn green then getting through on amber. I won't do it if there's a few cars behind me, but if it's a tailgater or some ignoramus in an SUV, hell yeah.
So that's how they do it in England.
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Old 02-10-06, 10:03 AM   #22
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Old 02-10-06, 10:07 AM   #23
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sometimes i think car drivers are just out to crap on cyclists. and many times they are, but then again, car drivers often treat other drivers just as bad or worse. that makes me feel a little better in a weird way.
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Old 02-10-06, 10:13 AM   #24
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THose thinking they have to surrender cycling because it is too unsafe need consider this thread. Nothing is safe, so we should run business' from our home and never leave the house. I feel less safe in the car.
More crazy motorists I have encountered than scarry bike incidents. Scarriest when someone crosses the yellow ahead on a mountain road. See it in California all the time. Along with accounts of deaths caused by such behavior.
I agree with earlier reply. Applies worldwide. Not just Coloradoans. Get a human behind the wheel of a car and they become jerks.
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Old 02-13-06, 09:05 AM   #25
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So that's how they do it in England.
England? Hell, I've been winding you lot up so much I probably deserved that...
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