Hey. So I bought a bike not too (I got a cruiser on the 12th, but I exchanged it for a Trek 7.2 FX on Tuesday) long ago and I read some instructional material on how to safely ride in traffic and I decided to ride on the road with the cars on an errand to the bank earlier today. Everything was fine. I realized that I'm only really in danger when switching lanes, or going through intersections or making left turns and that his danger can be minimized by intelligent positioning and forethought. I've yet to, but I intend to take TS101.
So everything was peachy until a passenger riding in a car ordered me onto the sidewalk. Ignored him and he pulled off into a side street and insulted me and I just kept riding, so he passed me but I caught up to him at the light. He was in the left turn lane and I was in the through lane. Here is my imperfect transcript of the conversation:
Him: What the **** are you doing on the road, get on the sidewalk.
Me: Florida law says bicycles are permitted on the road.
Him: I don't care what the law says, you're in the middle of the road. If I hit you with this car, I could go to jail. Get out of the way.
Me: Are you a police officer?
Him: ******, I'm the one with a *** that could shoot you dead.
I did not move into the sidewalk, I just broke eye contact and looked at the light while putting my foot on the pedal while keeping him in my peripheral vision and preparing to take off at a sprint in the event that a *** were produced.
When the light changed at the urging of the driver, the passenger made a halfhearted apology. The driver never spoke the entire time and he just seemed to have this sort of bemused smile on his face as if he were amused by his passenger's rage. I told him to have a nice day and took off on my way as they turned left.
This is the sort of thing that makes me want to reconsider the whole biking in traffic thing. I'm not that scared of being in an accidental collision because I understand the flow of traffic and I'm just adapting smart driving from my car to my bicycle, but I fear that someone might intentionally hit me. When he passed me, he could have easily rammed me from behind and I would be toast.
People in Miami Florida are just mean.
What are your thoughts? Are there any established strategies for dealing with this kind of thing?