So I just had the most hostile encounter I've experienced yet.
I was riding down [editing out the specifics] (and here I thought my only threat was the infamous pedestrians that never learned to look both ways before crossing the street) going at a steady 25 mph or so when some jerk rips by me at something like twice my speed about three inches from my handlebars, only to slam on the brakes five seconds later to avoid smashing into the car in front of him that's stopped at a red light. I tactfully reminded him that there was a wide open lane to the left by slapping his windshield and flipping him off.
The light turns green, I take off and get up to speed, and feel something hit my leg. Hard. I'm sure it comes as no surprise that the ******* mother****er threw a water bottle at me; looking back on the incident, I guess it shouldn't have surprised me either, as someone who's willing to risk a stranger's life so they can hit a red light faster probably isn't going to be the most emotionally balanced person.
Now, I'm generally in control of my emotions and not very quick to anger, but when it comes to cyclist/motorist altercations, I'm always reminded of a friend of mine who was hit on his bike so badly by a reckless driver (who was completely sober but going 50 mph in the wrong lane in a 25 mph no passing zone) a couple months ago that we weren't allowed to see him one last time because he was unrecognizable. That said, I was seeing red and completely blind to logic at this point, so I speed by the car at the next light and kick the side view mirror off (just barely keeping my balance), and dart off down the empty sidewalk of a nearby one-way street.
Not exactly the emotionally centered outlook I normally try to have; I realize that the situation shouldn't have escalated as it did. Not to mention, at no point did I even THINK to look at his license plate until after the whole thing was through.
I guess my purpose in writing this is mostly just venting to a crowd that might be sympathetic. But also, while I was cooling off before I rode back home (it took almost a half hour of walking and deep breathing before I stopped shaking) I was trying to think of more non-violent ways I could've handled the situation. Has anyone ever been in a similar situation and just stood in front of the offending car at the next light, not letting them pass? Unknown Rebel-style? I figure if you stand close enough, they'd never be able to accelerate fast enough to do any serious damage to you.
Of course, the second they get out of their car, I'd take off in a terrified sprint, as I weigh in at a measly [I suppose a description of myself isn't too smart, either].
Whoo. Thanks for letting me vent.
[Edited out some of the more incriminating specifics.]