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How to deal with rude drivers or passengers

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How to deal with rude drivers or passengers

Old 02-15-09, 02:02 AM
  #1  
John C. Ratliff
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How to deal with rude drivers or passengers

Today, I had an interesting experience on my Saturday morning ride. I was about 15 miles into my 18 mile ride, and stopped off at a local shopping center to take care of some Valentine's Day business (got a card, and freshly baked bread). My wife was out on her morning run, and I wanted to surprise her with some of her favorite things. One of those was See's Chocolates. So after getting the bread and card, I went onto the road, across an intersection to it's far side, then waited for the light to go north (I had been going east). A block up, there was a short turn-off roadway into the other side of the shopping center. I turned right onto this short road, and signaled for a left turn to the curb side where the See's Chocolate store was located.

There was a pickup about 100 feet up the road which had just begun to come toward me. Instead of slowing down to allow me to turn, the driver gunned the engine and zoomed up so as to block my turn, then slammed on his breaks so he could stop another 50 feet down the road. I just shook my head, and waited until he had passed before making my turn. As I was dismounting, the passenger in the pickup opened up the window, almost sat on the window and yelled at me:
If you had a car, you wouldn't have that problem!
Well, at 63 years old, I have two cars, one a 2005 SUV with 14,500 miles on it (my Rans Stratus recumbant bicycle is being overhauled, and has almost 10,000 miles on it). Not wanting to put up with this from an obvious teenager, I shouted back:
If you knew how to drive, I would not have this problem!
That brought an immediate response, which I cannot print here, but had something to do with bicycles and the F-word. I also responded to this with:
You've got to grow up!
Well, I don't know if this changed any perspectives, but I felt good about the exchange. How do you handle rude drivers?

I got my chocolates, and my wife and I had a very nice Valentine's Day lunch.

John

Last edited by John C. Ratliff; 02-15-09 at 02:08 AM. Reason: add the last sentence
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Old 02-15-09, 02:50 AM
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It's sad that these guys had nothing better to do on a Saturday than try to aggravate cyclists. It's funny that the people were in a pickup because pickup drivers probably make up 90% of the a-holes on the road here in CA, and are the only ones who have ever yelled out at me while I was riding. I think you handled the situation very well and had a great comeback.
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Old 02-15-09, 03:01 AM
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My only response ever to anything anyone says from within a vehicle is "what? I can't hear you.... you need to pull over and get out" while reaching for my U-lock. If they don't pull over and get out then I simply don't hear it (by choice).
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Old 02-15-09, 09:01 AM
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Ignore it. If you don't give them any response to work with, they will have to give up (either that, or they might try physical abuse, which is not about to happen unless they intended so from the beginning).

Nobody can keep the coals burning in an argument when they are trying to stoke it with water.

-Kurt
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Old 02-15-09, 11:49 AM
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The only safe thing I have found is just to grin and wave as if that person is some long lost friend.

It just defeats their rant, leaves them confused and smiling tends to defuse your own anger.

I have confronted motorists on occasion, and carry cards with cycling laws printed on them for such a reason... but I only do this when the confrontation can be done in a safe way... such as in a parking lot.

Otherwise, smile and wave... smile and wave.

Oh and yeah... there are idiots out there behind the wheel... it never ceases to amaze me.
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Old 02-15-09, 12:06 PM
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Had a fat woman call me a freak one time from the passenger side of a passing car.

Thank you fat woman. Compared to you; I guess I am.

The funny thing was that there were two U.S. Marine stickers in the back window of the car, and this happened two years, two months, and two weeks after I retired.

Typically I ignore these people, or wave.
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Old 02-15-09, 12:16 PM
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[QUOTE=noremac;8363107]It's funny that the people were in a pickup because pickup drivers probably make up 90% of the a-holes on the road here in CA, and are the only ones who have ever yelled out at me while I was riding.QUOTE]

I'm in Virginia and it's the good ole' boys in pickups that seem to be the biggest problem. And I drive a pickup myself! They're giving all of us a bad name!
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Old 02-15-09, 12:33 PM
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I would like to remember to calmly record their license plate number just so there is a record of their rage, but I never do. Anyway I think you handled it well.
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Old 02-16-09, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by monk View Post
I'm in Virginia and it's the good ole' boys in pickups that seem to be the biggest problem. And I drive a pickup myself! They're giving all of us a bad name!
too bad pickups got so popular among the testosterone set, but I was passed by 50 pickups yesterday out in farm country, and had no problems at all.

If someone is making stupid comments about me from a distance, I generally ignore it. Horns get a wave. I have been getting yelled at so infrequently now that it really surprises me. Have to remember to wave.
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Old 02-16-09, 12:38 PM
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it's such a drag. Especially when on such an errand to have a vile exchange with another human being. As best I can I let it be. I simply give no response. BUT every once in a while I cannot resist getting into it. It's never really worth it. I always end up replaying the exchange in my head for a day or two and am never too happy about it. Even were I to literally beat some sense into the head of some bozo and turn them into a bike riding freak like me I don't know if it would be all that satisfying.

I think live and let live is the best course of action.
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Old 02-16-09, 12:53 PM
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[QUOTE=monk;8364472]
Originally Posted by noremac View Post
It's funny that the people were in a pickup because pickup drivers probably make up 90% of the a-holes on the road here in CA, and are the only ones who have ever yelled out at me while I was riding.QUOTE]

I'm in Virginia and it's the good ole' boys in pickups that seem to be the biggest problem. And I drive a pickup myself! They're giving all of us a bad name!
I'm in SouthEastern Va and I know what you mean. You have to sets of people with pickups. The jackasses who need to compensate for something else and the guys who have them for practical purposes. Sometimes they overlap into each other of course.

I drive one myself, although I try not to as much as possible. It was pretty much given to me, and free is always the perfect price to me. A lot of the time it sits while I use our GeoMetro or the bike.
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Old 02-16-09, 01:08 PM
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talk about their mothers... and make sure you brought backup!
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Old 02-16-09, 01:33 PM
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I ride with really powerful lights, dress fashionably and ride an exotic looking bike. My idea is all this should convey the image, " This guys knows what he is doing " . If someone still chooses to confront me after seeing all that it means they are a complete idiot and not worth my reacting to.
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Old 02-16-09, 02:16 PM
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I agree with genec -- smile and wave. Drives them nuts and keeps me from doing something stupid.
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Old 02-16-09, 05:39 PM
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The best response, as several folks have already mentioned, is "smile and wave". After all, they're trying to piss you off, so if you get mad you're not putting them in their place, you're giving them exactly the response they hoped for. If they're close enough to hear a response, "I love you too" does wonders. I still remember a real jerk of a garbage truck driver turning beet-red and trying to sink out of sight behind the dashboard while his coworker in the passenger seat laughed his head off.

Having said that, I gotta admit there are times I can't manage the smile. When I can't help but yell back something hostile, I do exactly what you did: tell 'em to learn to drive. They want you to get mad, so a "F*** you" will just amuse them, but having their driving ability questioned in front of passengers or other witnesses really does seem to ruin their fun.
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Old 02-16-09, 10:27 PM
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I blow big exagerated kisses at them. They usually drive away rather quickly. Hey were ya going?? I ain't such a bad lookin' guy!!
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Old 02-16-09, 11:21 PM
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I usually ignore them, but sometimes it's simply impossible ... sometime, someone threw a bottle at me (--_--). I couldn't do anything... I heard that if you take their license number and make a report to the police there should be something ... but I never heard about what happened nexté
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Old 02-17-09, 11:21 AM
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Nothing pisses them off more than if you make like you can't hear them. These are people who need the adrenalin rush- it is like a drug high. It is a brain thing, not completely their fault- though they shouldn't be allowed to drive being so dangerous. They usually hang out in bars that are known for fights -its a brain problem.
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Old 02-17-09, 11:44 AM
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I pretend like they don't exist.
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Old 02-17-09, 01:31 PM
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This is truly disappointing. Drivers here in Washington County tend to be better behaved than most other places I've visited. If you got the license plate number, please add a description to The Watch List at https://www.bikeportland.org/forum; jerks like this need to be documented. Engaging with jerks like this is never productive. It's an ego thing, and all you can do is escalate the situation. I personally prefer a five fingered wave, smile, and "Hi, hello, have a nice day!" It shows that you are a better person than they are, and it makes any further aggression on their part seem petty and mean spirited. Meanwhile you write down their license plate number and record the incident publicly for posterity at that web site.
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Old 02-20-09, 05:47 PM
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Had a fat woman call me a freak one time from the passenger side of a passing car.

Thank you fat woman. Compared to you; I guess I am.
I had a similiar thing happen... she yelled how my helmet made me look like a FREAK. Then they hit a stop light a half block later. I rolled up and took my helmet off and said 'I can take my helmet off, but you'll still be FAT!'

She stammered and didn't have time to say anything else (thanks to the green light).
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Old 02-20-09, 05:55 PM
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Give Em the Old Snake Eyes Treatment ...

Just do what Chuck Norris would do, or Jackie Chan ... the old snake eyes, or whatever ... !

Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff View Post
Today, I had an interesting experience on my Saturday morning ride. I was about 15 miles into my 18 mile ride, and stopped off at a local shopping center to take care of some Valentine's Day business (got a card, and freshly baked bread). My wife was out on her morning run, and I wanted to surprise her with some of her favorite things. One of those was See's Chocolates. So after getting the bread and card, I went onto the road, across an intersection to it's far side, then waited for the light to go north (I had been going east). A block up, there was a short turn-off roadway into the other side of the shopping center. I turned right onto this short road, and signaled for a left turn to the curb side where the See's Chocolate store was located.

There was a pickup about 100 feet up the road which had just begun to come toward me. Instead of slowing down to allow me to turn, the driver gunned the engine and zoomed up so as to block my turn, then slammed on his breaks so he could stop another 50 feet down the road. I just shook my head, and waited until he had passed before making my turn. As I was dismounting, the passenger in the pickup opened up the window, almost sat on the window and yelled at me:

Well, at 63 years old, I have two cars, one a 2005 SUV with 14,500 miles on it (my Rans Stratus recumbant bicycle is being overhauled, and has almost 10,000 miles on it). Not wanting to put up with this from an obvious teenager, I shouted back:

That brought an immediate response, which I cannot print here, but had something to do with bicycles and the F-word. I also responded to this with:

Well, I don't know if this changed any perspectives, but I felt good about the exchange. How do you handle rude drivers?

I got my chocolates, and my wife and I had a very nice Valentine's Day lunch.

John
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Old 02-20-09, 06:00 PM
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Seriously ...

Seriously ... Usually I just wave or smile! Today while riding through downtown, there were lots of impatient people, and one car was on my tail honking their horn. I just tried to pedal a little harder. They finally passed me. I ended of getting ahead of them! Almost two blocks ahead of them!!! And beat them to the signal about four or five blocks down the street.

I squeaked my horn at them when they finally passed me (I had to turn south). The passenger waved at me, and the driver honked their horn again. I'm not sure if they were mad, or maybe somebody who knows me?

Road rage on a bicycle isn't worth the risk!! You might become road-kill ... !!!

So, just smile and wave. Or do nothing and pedal harder ....
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Old 02-20-09, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by bhop View Post
I pretend like they don't exist.
I do that quite often myself. I've had fewer near hits since I started taking the entire right lane. Unfortunately, there are many sharp corners in our town, especially the two or three that go past the cemetery, where many cars have taken the corners way too fast, and plowed into the heavy-duty rock walls, and actually hit the rock walls so hard, the cars broke the rock walls!!!

I get back onto the sidewalk before those curves. I don't want to become the next road kill ... !!!
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Old 02-20-09, 06:11 PM
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Look Professional ... Act Professional

Originally Posted by veggie_lover View Post
I ride with really powerful lights, dress fashionably and ride an exotic looking bike. My idea is all this should convey the image, " This guys knows what he is doing " . If someone still chooses to confront me after seeing all that it means they are a complete idiot and not worth my reacting to.
Yeah ... that's the way I feel too. I usually don't dress up, but as soon as I can, I plan on buying several sets of nice bicycle clothes, along with several strong lights for the back, and another couple of strong lights for the front, with a fancy blinkie vest.

If you look professional, and act professional, it really puts the crazy drivers in their rightful place ... that is ... in the idiot box!
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