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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 10-21-08, 10:23 AM   #1
zerojosh
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I punched a car yesterday



I was cruising down a one way street, on the left side and just began a left turn. The street I'm turning on to is being held by a stop sign, it is a two-way street and there is a line of cars about 4 deep. There were many other cars on the one way I was on road so it was just me they were waiting for. Just as I'm about to complete my left turn, the jackass four 4 cars back decides he isn't gonna wait into this line and pulls into on-coming traffic in an attempt to blow the stop sign. This being the lane that I just *legally* turned on to. We both skid to a halt my wheel is about a foot from his bunker. Of course it is some kind of luxury sedan but the model looks a little old. The driver and passenger basically resemble John and Cindy McCain (no ****). The tableaux inside the car was pretty telling. Wifey was not thrilled with hubby driving in the wrong lane and now that he has almost hit a biker and is trapped in an illegal maneuver she is pissed. He is like a dear in head lights. He tries to shimmy around me and ends up positing the driver side window right next to me. I put my face in his window and shout "dude, what the f*ck!"

Now I have peoples attention, like the whole block. This guy is clearly driving like an ******* so I'm being applauded by motorists, peds and cyclists alike. Without response, he continues to slowly drive by me. So now I'm faced with a choice do I:

Try and halt the car and wait for a cop?

Split cause maybe he is crazier then I am?

Take my aggression out on the car?

All of the above?

The next thing I know my hand is wrapped around the cars back antenna. Hmm... a little too far. I settle for pounding my fist on the trunk, loudly. Now the situation is a little uncomfortable so I bale.

I have lived in many different cities in the USA and I swear the worst drivers live in Pasadena, CA. I've lived in Philadelphia, Boston, The Bronx, places that should theoretically be FAR worse to bike in then the suburban utopia of Pasadena, CA. Yet somehow, despite the idealistic driving conditions and wide bike lanes this city has by far the worst drivers I have ever seen. Can anyone shed some light on this? I mean Boston had potholes and malicious drivers but at least they drove well!

Last edited by zerojosh; 10-22-08 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 10-21-08, 12:13 PM   #2
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It is hard for some of us (including myself) to control our behavior when provoked, so I think you did pretty good. I'm glad you didn't rip off the antenna. That would have been over the top.
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Old 10-21-08, 12:20 PM   #3
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The stunt I have to deal with around here are the people who pull partially or completely into the bike lane and then block it while waiting for people in front of them at a traffic signal.

I've decided to take a compromise position. I slow down to a stop beside the car, put my hand on the mirror and then push off. Oh, did I move your precious little mirror out of position? Oh, did I get your car finish dirty? Gee, sorry about that; I really didn't want to hit your car as I road past :-)

Note that I don't do any damage to the vehicle, but it really gets their attention!
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Old 10-21-08, 06:50 PM   #4
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Around DC drivers kinda roll through stop signs and call it "Pasadena Pause". I try to control myself since cars do have the greater force with them.
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Old 10-21-08, 07:40 PM   #5
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nice - i probably would have spit on them and/or the car.

but at least it didn't escalate too far! and good thing you didn't get hit too.
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Old 10-22-08, 02:22 AM   #6
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Take it to Advocacy and Safety. You'll find a whole heap of people who will ooohh and aaaahhh at your swearing and ranting. I don't see the relevance to this forum.
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Old 10-22-08, 02:39 AM   #7
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Around DC drivers kinda roll through stop signs and call it "Pasadena Pause". I try to control myself since cars do have the greater force with them.
They carry greater momentum not greater force. In the event of an impact the forces will be equal and opposite for the participants, but since your mass is lower than the cars you see a significant change in momentum. Think about what happens when you jump up and down. Not much happens to the earth but you certainly know when you landed.
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Old 10-22-08, 02:48 AM   #8
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i dont know why i read the thread title as i purchased a car yesterday.
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Old 10-22-08, 12:37 PM   #9
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Take it to Advocacy and Safety. You'll find a whole heap of people who will ooohh and aaaahhh at your swearing and ranting. I don't see the relevance to this forum.
Sorry if I offended anyone, that was not my intention.
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Old 10-22-08, 12:40 PM   #10
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Sorry if I offended anyone, that was not my intention.
Well, some people are more easily offended than others. IMO, the relevance to this forum is that we all ride in traffic, and presumably we all have negative encounters with "motorists." How we deal and cope is an interesting question.
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Old 10-22-08, 02:47 PM   #11
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One disadvantage is some of us already have our heart pumping and blood flowing.
Really hard to control one self. Especially when "No charges were filed" reminders stream through my head.
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Old 10-22-08, 02:54 PM   #12
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They carry greater momentum not greater force. In the event of an impact the forces will be equal and opposite for the participants, but since your mass is lower than the cars you see a significant change in momentum. Think about what happens when you jump up and down. Not much happens to the earth but you certainly know when you landed.
Right. The thread is about an altercation, so I meant force as in deadly force not in the physics 101 sense. But, since force is mass times acceleration and most cars with driver have more acceleration and mass than bike with driver they also have more force.
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Old 10-22-08, 02:57 PM   #13
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Well, some people are more easily offended than others. IMO, the relevance to this forum is that we all ride in traffic, and presumably we all have negative encounters with "motorists." How we deal and cope is an interesting question.
Yeah, dealing effectively with motorists is relevant to my car free lifestyle. I could use some tips in the area of decreasing the hostility without cowering.
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Old 10-22-08, 04:45 PM   #14
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Right. The thread is about an altercation, so I meant force as in deadly force not in the physics 101 sense. But, since force is mass times acceleration and most cars with driver have more acceleration and mass than bike with driver they also have more force.
yeah, but I stick to what I know. I cant really say if what someone did was right, but I can say something about the physics. Also, force is proportional to change in momentum, but the previous point stands that both the forces are equal and opposite so there is no way that in a collision that the car has more force due to the collision. It may have other external forces acting on, but the force on each participants due to the collision is the same.
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Old 10-22-08, 10:23 PM   #15
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Take it to Advocacy and Safety. You'll find a whole heap of people who will ooohh and aaaahhh at your swearing and ranting. I don't see the relevance to this forum.
Way to make others feel welcome here. In urban areas, bicyclists have to ride in sometimes heavy traffic. Sometimes, drivers do things that are malicious and/or stupid. Either way, it makes bicyclists feel vulnerable, and then they need to vent, sometimes on this forum. Let's try to be a little more accommodating....
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Old 10-23-08, 12:06 AM   #16
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It just turns into another anti-car thread, allowing those who believe they are car-free to venomise the issues.

The key phrase for mine is:

"Now the situation is a little uncomfortable so I bale".

If the issue was that important to the OP, he would have stuck around for the consequences.

This sort of behaviour does cyclists no good. It only marginalises them even further. No-one was hurt (and I will give full credit to the OP for defensive and observant riding), the guy in the car got his just desserts from both the OP and the driver's wife, and all and sundry, evidently.

For those who want to adjust their rage in on-road conflicts, there are anger management counsellors by the score in the phone book. Call one.

Other than that, move on. There's nothing more to see here.
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Old 10-23-08, 12:42 AM   #17
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I came pretty close to becoming road kill today... I was coming up to a corner to make a right turn and the car in the left lane (it was a 4 lane two way road) gunned it's engine and launched itself into my lane with no signal.

It was a case of inches and seconds between me being able to avoid the car and me becoming a statistic.

I yelled at the guy and used some choice words and he flipped me the bird before taking a right turn and heading down the street.

It's a funny thing about bike couriers... we can usually beat traffic downtown and I found myself right next to the guy's car at the next light so knocked on his roof and told him he nearly wiped me out.

He just stared straight ahead as I think he realized that nearly wiping out a cyclist who was obeying the law was a bad idea and that flipping him off was a bad idea on an epic scale.

I had to restrain myself from "adjusting" his passenger mirror with my u-lock as apparently... it wasn't working for him the way it was.
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Old 10-23-08, 10:22 AM   #18
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Rowan, have you been riding on your seat-post?

If I'm gonna be put on trial let me elaborate

"Now the situation is a little uncomfortable so I bale".

The motorist had already sped away - did you want me to follow him? Now that would be crazy.

People on the street and other motorists were applauding me, which I found silly so I baled.

Trust me, my lesser self would have loved to make a bigger deal out of this but the situation was over so I walked away. Something perhaps you should learn to do.
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Old 10-25-08, 03:34 PM   #19
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Crazy stuff. You certainly handled it well. Anything less would be letting the guy off, anything more would be overboard.

Here's one for ya. I never started driving til I was 19. I worked at a bike shop that was only 5 miles from me and I didn't see a need for a car. So I'm 19 and my mountain bike costs more than most of the cars that my peers are driving. One day on my commute some kids packed into a nice sports car started messing with me. The driver would slowly easer towards me in the shoulder til I dropped back. If I got ahead of him he's start to wag the car towards me. I shrugged it all off until the side of my head ends-up catching a monster sized 711 cup full of soda. I pedaled my ass off until I was able to meet them a few lights down.
As I passed them I drug my two front cleats across the side of his car and finished it off with kicking his mirror off. I didn't bother to look back and they didn't bother to escalade the situation anymore.

Thinking back it was a bad decision, but it made my day.
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Old 10-25-08, 04:47 PM   #20
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Thinking back it was a bad decision, but it made my day.
In that situation I really don't think it was a bad decision. That cup could have knocked you off the bike - they had no idea of the consequences of their actions, until you showed them. Lesson learned, methinks.
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Old 10-25-08, 07:19 PM   #21
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In that situation I really don't think it was a bad decision. That cup could have knocked you off the bike - they had no idea of the consequences of their actions, until you showed them. Lesson learned, methinks.
Being assertive on a bike is necessary, but actual aggression is kind of stupid, as it is in other areas of life. I don't think people in cars learn all that much if you act aggressively towards them. In fact, negative behavior usually just confirms some people's preconceived negative ideas about bicyclists. I can empathize with the impulse, though. A guy in a car once intentionally knocked me off my bike and called me a bike *** after he did it, and I responded by going into a totally brain-dead rage, pounding on his car at the next stop sign and asking him to step out of the car so I could beat him to death with my U-lock. His response was to laugh and drive away. I'm pretty sure the only lesson he got from that encounter is that it sure is fun to knock bicyclists to the ground. Had I been less of a moron, I would have calmly pulled behind him, whipped out my cell phone, called 911, reported the incident along with the license plate number of the car, which I had been too angry to even look at, and let the police handle it.
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Old 10-25-08, 07:42 PM   #22
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You apparently had way too much fun writing about this whole episode.
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Old 10-25-08, 07:48 PM   #23
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Retaliating won't get you anywhere.
"Punching the car" obviously didn't release your tension because you were so upset you had to vent on the forum.

I doubt if hitting the car and swearing at the driver would help the driver to be more courteous toward cyclists.

Why didn't you take the positive route by waving at the driver and with a smile make him aware that you were sharing the road?

It may appear to you that he wanted to hurt you, but probably he just wasn't aware.
Many drivers don't pay attention, some don't realize that cycles can travel as fast as they do, some don't realize that a cycle may want to go a different direction than they do, some don't realize they need to share the road with cycles.

Very few of them (if any) want to deliberately kill a cyclist.

If you had taken the positive approach, you might have won someone over to being more aware of a cyclist. Instead you made someone angry at cyclists.

You are lucky the guy didn't pull out a gun and taken a shot at you or deliberately tried to hit you.
Isn't that how road rage begins?
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Old 10-25-08, 08:03 PM   #24
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Yeah, dealing effectively with motorists is relevant to my car free lifestyle. I could use some tips in the area of decreasing the hostility without cowering.
Easy ... smile and wave.

Can you see my signature line? Do you see the smilie there? That's the way.

Oh, and things like obeying the rules of the road for your province or state, and riding in a straight line and predictable manner, help as well.

Last edited by Machka; 10-25-08 at 08:14 PM.
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Old 10-25-08, 08:03 PM   #25
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take it to advocacy and safety. You'll find a whole heap of people who will ooohh and aaaahhh at your swearing and ranting. I don't see the relevance to this forum.
+1

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